Credit to Sam Thornton | Assistant Director, Athletics Communications – 12thman.com
AUSTIN, Texas – Texas A&M volleyball’s resurgent 2023 campaign came to a close with a 3-1 (21-25, 25-13, 25-20, 25-20) defeat to the Texas Longhorns in Thursday’s NCAA Division I Championship first round action at Gregory Gym.
The Aggies’ revival season ended with a three-win improvement in the SEC win column as well as making the first trip to the NCAA Tournament since 2019.
Texas A&M blitzed the Longhorns with a 10-0 run early in the first set, staking claim to a 15-7 advantage. The trio of Logan Lednicky, Caroline Meuth and Morgan Perkins built a brick wall with five blocks during the surge. The advantage grew to 17-8 before Texas was able to string consecutive points together. The Longhorns slowly chipped their deficit to four points at 19-15, but A&M inflated the cushion to 23-15 and registered its last two points with a Texas service error and a kill by Meuth.
Meuth registered five kills, two blocks and a service ace in the lid lifter. Morgan Perkins added six blocks and a kill.
Texas scored the first 10 points of the second set and the Aggies were unable to draw closer than eight points the remainder of the stanza.
Texas A&M was the first team to score consecutive points in the third set, stringing together three in a row to take a 7-5 lead. The squads alternated points until the Longhorns tied the match at 12-12. The set would be tied four more times, including the 10th time overall at 17-17 before the Longhorns grappled control with a 5-0 run. Texas nursed the advantage through the end of the set. Meuth put away four kills and added four digs in the valiant effort. Bianna Muoneke chipped in with four kills in the set.
In the final set, the Aggies led twice early on, but Texas inched out to a 14-10 advantage. The Maroon & White would draw no closer than three points for the remainder. The Longhorns led 23-15, before one last Texas A&M spurt closed the gap back to 23-20.
For the match, Meuth paced the Aggies with 14 kills and added 12 digs, two blocks, one assist and one service ace. It marked Meuth’s 75th career match with double-digit kills.
Ifenna Cos-Okpalla registered nine kills and her five blocks put her over the 150-mark with 151 on the season. Lednicky posted a career-high eight blocks. Perkins matched a season-high with her nine blocks.
The 2024 campaign and the second year of the Jamie Morrison era begins in late August.
Caroline Meuth – 14 kills, 12 digs, 2 blocks
Bianna Muoneke – 12 kills, 2 digs, 1 block
Ifenna Cos-Okpalla – 9 kills, 5 blocks
Logan Lednicky – 8 kills, 8 blocks
Morgan Perkins – 9 blocks
Head coach Jamie Morrison on today’s match …
“I thought what we came out and did in that first set was incredible. We were able to stay calm and take a breath and play good volleyball throughout the match.”
Morrison on the importance of gaining postseason experience …
“This team is very young, and I know we will learn from it. I’m fired up that we can get the experience now, so in the future we can take this even further.”
Graduate outside hitter Caroline Meuth on how the team handled the moment …
“I thought everyone handled it with such maturity. This past week of practice was one of the most intense and most intentional we’ve had all year. We came into this match feeling good and had the mindset of leaving everything out on the floor, and I thought we did that.”
Senior libero Lauren Hogan on the atmosphere in the match …
“I think the crowd changes the game, but we were able to keep good communication throughout the match. The noise helps and hurts, but it’s much more of a positive than it is a negative as it keeps the energy high in the match.”
Sophomore libero Ava Underwood on the 12th Man travelling …
“The support for our team has been there all season. I know it’s easy to recognize it when we’re here, but they’ve been amazing all year, and we truly appreciate it.”