BRYAN-COLLEGE STATION, Texas – The Texas A&M volleyball team (10-4, 2-1 SEC) was unable to overcome the Tennessee Lady Vols (8-7, 2-1 SEC) on Sunday afternoon, falling in three sets (24-26, 17-25, 24-26).
Leading the way offensively for A&M was Caroline Meuth, who turned in her 10th double-digit kill performance of the season, finishing with a team-high 14. Elena Karakasi dished out 35 assists, while libero Ava Underwood scooped a team-best eight digs.
A pair of kills from Meuth brought some fire onto A&M’s side early before the outside hitter teamed up with Ifenna Cos-Okpalla to create separation. Four-straight points from the Lady Vols helped them regain the lead. For the seventh-straight match, Karakasi delivered an ace to level it for the fourth time, sitting at 13-all. The teams exchanged blows in the closing points of the opening frame, before Tennessee fought off A&M’s set point with three-straight points to take it, 26-24.
The Lady Vols carried their momentum into the second frame, surging ahead by five. A successful challenge by head coach Bird Kuhn overturned a call, as the Aggies trailed 11-7. Tennessee responded by taking a 16-8 lead. Meuth’s 11th kill spoiled set point for the Lady Vols, but the visitors ran away with the frame, 25-17.
Despite an early deficit for the Maroon & White in the deciding set, Madison Bowser continued to make an impact with her sixth kill. Molly Brown and Logan Lednicky teamed up on the block, chipping away at Tennessee’s lead to force the Lady Vols to use a timeout. Meuth’s 13th kill kickstarted a three-point surge by the Aggies, while a pair of late kills from Lednicky and an ace from Brooke Frazier kept A&M within reach. A 5-0 run by the Aggies with Tennessee at set point, highlighted by back-to-back kills from Bowser, leveled the score at 24-all, before the Lady Vols held on for the 26-24 win.
Texas A&M looks to remain undefeated on the road when it travels to Athens, Georgia, next weekend to face the Georgia Bulldogs. The Aggies open the series at 1 p.m. CT on Saturday, before taking on the Bulldogs at 11 a.m. CT on Sunday. Sunday’s series finale is set to air nationally on SEC Network.
Head coach Laura “Bird” Kuhn
On the difference between matches this weekend…
“We know that back-to-back SEC matches are going to be challenging. Going in, we have to be prepared to adapt and adjust. Tennessee did a great job, and they took over that match today. We battled, but our execution wasn’t there today.”
On the difference the crowd makes…
“It’s always great to be at home playing with the 12th Man against any opponent. We feed off that. We need to a give more points and momentum to add to that energy, but it was awesome out there today.”
Graduate transfer setter Elena Karakasi
On adjustments the team needs to make heading into next weekend…
“It’s always great when you have teammates on and off the court that come to do their job and help the team. It really helps with the execution and energy. Moving forward, we need to work on playing every single point, even in practice, the way we played the last point in this weekend’s matches.”
Story by Shelby Hild, Athletics Communications