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A&M Volleyball Racks Up Win no. 6 In A Row

OXFORD, Miss. – Texas A&M rallied from a 2-1 deficit to defeat Ole Miss, 25-19, 18-25, 24-26, 25-16, 15-13 Friday evening at the Gillom Sports Center. With the victory, the Aggies close out the regular season riding a season-best six-match win streak, improving to 21-8 overall and finishing SEC play 13-5.

Junior middle blocker Shelby Sullivan led the Aggies with 18 kills – including the match winner – committing only one error while taking 27 swings for a .630 hitting percentage. Sophomore middle blocker Jazzmin Babers also posted double-figure kills with 12 while hitting .391 and pitched in a match-high six blocks.

The Aggies hit above .300 for the sixth consecutive match as freshman setter Stephanie Aiple directed the offense to a .325 hitting percentage while dishing out a career-high 57 assists. Freshman libero Amy Nettles spearheaded the Aggies’ back-row play, leading all players with 24 digs for her fourth 20-plus dig performance in the last nine matches.

The Aggies never trailed in the opening set, using a 5-0 run to pull out to a 13-6 lead. Ole Miss would get within three points four times, the last coming at 21-18. The Rebels then served into the net, and Angela Lowak and Babers followed with back-to-back-kills for the Aggies to put A&M at set point. Ole Miss, which was outhit .625 to .333, held off one set point with a kill before Lowak’s next attack caromed off the Rebel block to clinch the set for A&M.

A&M held a narrow 3-2 advantage early in the second set before the Rebels scored four unanswered points. A&M eventually retook the lead at 13-12, but just as soon as the Aggies regained the lead, the Rebels went on a 7-1 run to go up 19-14. Freshman outside hitter Kiara McGee came off the bench and ended a stretch of four consecutive Ole Miss points with a kill down the line to put A&M within 19-15, but the Rebels, who hit .225 while holding A&M to a .077 hitting percentage, countered with three more points to go up 22-15. The teams then traded points for the remainder of the frame, with Ole Miss closing out the 25-18 win with a kill from Lexi Thompson to even the match at a set apiece.

Ole Miss did not take its first lead of the third set until a block put the Rebels up, 25-24. Nakeyta Clair then put down an A&M overpass to give Ole Miss the win. The Rebels had trailed by as many as five points, including at 13-8, but managed to tie the score at 16. A&M then reeled off four consecutive points on Rebel miscues, including an errant overpass that Emily Hardesty put down for a kill.

A&M later held a 23-20 advantage when Melanie Crow sparked the Rebels, hitting high off the hands of the A&M block for a kill and then putting down an A&M overpass to put Ole Miss within 23-22. After an A&M timeout, Aiple put down a kill to put the Aggies at set point but then served into the net, and the Rebels stayed within a point. Lexi Thompson tied the score with a kill, and the Rebels followed with a block to take their first lead of the set. A&M then had an overpass on the next play, setting up Clair for the set-clinching kill.

A&M got a combined six kills from three players during an 8-0 run to jump out to a 9-2 lead in the fourth set. A&M, which outhit the Rebels, .444 to .250 in the frame, went on to lead by as many as nine points, with a kill by McGee and a suffocating block by Babers and Aiple putting the Aggies up 23-14. The teams then exchanged points for the remainder of the set, with Reasor ending the set with a kill, forcing a fifth set.

A&M, which entered the match 5-3 in five-set matches, built a 10-6 lead in the final set when the Rebels began to rally, outscoring A&M, 6-2, to tie the score at 12-all. Sullivan then posted back-to-back kills to put the Aggies at set and match point. Clair countered with her 17th kill of the match to keep the Rebels alive, but Sullivan once again came through, getting a kill on the slide attack to clinch the victory for the Aggies.

The Aggies improve to 10-0 in the all-time series against the Rebels, albeit not without a fight as this marked the second time in the last three trips to Oxford that the match was decided in five sets.

Crow led the Rebels with 23 kills for the match. Ole Miss, which earlier this season reached the 20-win milestone for the first time since 2007, finishes the season 22-10, including 8-10 in SEC matches.

The 64-team NCAA tournament field will be announced Sunday, Nov. 30 at 7:30 p.m. on ESPNU. The Aggies are expecting to make their fourth consecutive appearance in the tournament and their 18th since Laurie Corbelli became head coach in 1993.

Visit 12thMan.com for more information on Texas A&M volleyball. Aggie fans also can keep up to date with the A&M volleyball team on Facebook and on Twitter by following @AggieVolleyball.

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Posted by on Nov 30 2014. Filed under Sports.

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