Balanced Offense Leads to Texas A&M Volleyball’s Sweep of Gamecocks

By Nick Whitley, Athletics Communications

BRYAN-COLLEGE STATION, Texas – Texas A&M volleyball showed out in front of the 12th Man on Sunday afternoon, as the Aggies (9-3, 2-0 SEC) won in straight sets (25-22, 25-22, 25-18) against the South Carolina Gamecocks (9-3, 1-1 SEC). With the victory, the Aggies have now won four of their last five matches.

Texas A&M booked a strong team performance, as five Aggies logged at least seven kills in the winning effort. Camryn Ennis turned in a season-best eight kills, while Mallory Talbert led the way with nine kills on .444 hitting. Camille Conner finished with 32 assists in the sweep and Taylor Voss registered her fifth double-digit dig performance of the year with a team-leading 11 scoops.

South Carolina got out to a quick 4-1 start, but a kill over the middle from Austin-Roark stalled the early Gamecock momentum. The Maroon & White responded by piecing together points, and led by as many as three, but South Carolina evened the set at 13-all. Both teams exchanged points to a deadlock at 18, but a dominant solo block from Ennis on the right side helped guide the Aggies to a 21-18 advantage. The Gamecocks fought off set point with a 3-0 run, but a kill from Talbert sealed it for A&M, 25-22.

The second frame opened at an even pace, as each squad struggled to find separation. South Carolina was able to jump ahead, 11-10, after a successful challenge. The Gamecocks amassed a 3-0 scoring run to pull ahead 17-13, but Ennis’ fourth kill sparked a 5-1 response by the Aggies. Three late blocks courtesy of the A&M front line, and a kill from Christon, locked in the 25-22 score to give the Aggies a 2-0 advantage in the match.

A quick set by Conner over the middle for an Austin-Roark kill gave A&M the early momentum in the third stanza, while a service ace from Ennis led to a 4-2 advantage. South Carolina battled back and took a two-point lead, but a 4-0 run with Allison Fields behind the service line saw things swing in A&M’s direction. The Gamecocks cobbled together a 3-0 run, but another ace, this time from Carrabine, saw the Aggies’ lead grow by five. Texas A&M reached set point on a kill from Talbert, before a South Carolina service error handed the Aggies the deciding set, 25-18.

UP NEXT
Texas A&M volleyball heads back out on the road next weekend, when it travels to Knoxville, Tennessee, to challenge nationally-ranked Tennessee in a two-game series.

BIRD BITS
Texas A&M Head Coach, Laura “Bird” Kuhn
On beating a tough South Carolina team at home…
“It felt good to be back at Reed and play in front of the 12th Man. This was our SEC home opener, but South Carolina is good. I was proud of how we executed defensively and offensively. I think Camryn (Ennis) did a great job stepping up and playing six-rotations on the right for us, and really steadied us out. It was a collective team effort, but the balance was huge for us.

On having a week to prep for Tennessee…
“We have more time, so that’s good, and we can really focus on us and what we need to do against them (Tennessee). They’re going to be a solid opponent, and on the road, it’s always going to be a battle, so I’m excited to go on the road with these warriors again.”

Senior middle blocker Mallory Talbert
On what was working…
“Our coaches do a great job every week of giving us a game plan and I think we were all really dialed in on it this match. It just shows with our execution and knowing what they (South Carolina) wants to do and shutting that down, we can do the best we can.”

Senior outside hitter Camryn Ennis…
On what areas the team needs to dial in on this week at practice…
“We just need to get a little bit better every day, since we have a whole week to prepare for our next game. Just trying to get one-percent better as a team.”