Story by Shelby Hild, Athletics Communications
ATHENS, Ga. – After trailing 2-0, the Texas A&M volleyball team (10-6, 2-3 SEC) made a valiant effort to come back against the Georgia Bulldogs (12-3, 3-1 SEC), ultimately falling in five sets (17-25, 18-25, 25-21, 25-22, 13-15) on Sunday afternoon at Stegeman Coliseum.
Caroline Meuth led the way with her fourth double-double of the year, piecing together 19 kills and 12 digs. Madison Bowser recorded a match-high .435 hitting percentage, finishing with 11 kills, while Logan Lednicky added 16 kills. Defensively, five Aggies turned in double-digit dig performances, led by Allison Fields, who finished with 13.
A pair of early aces from Ava Underwood and Elena Karakasi carried the Aggies to a 5-1 lead, but the Bulldogs fought back to jump out in front, 10-9. Logan Lednicky stayed hot, recording four kills, despite A&M trailing 15-13 at the media break. A kill from Madison Bowser squashed Georgia’s momentum, but six unanswered points by the Bulldogs pushed the home team ahead, 22-15, before taking it 25-17.
The Bulldogs continued to run in the second, but Caroline Meuth’s fourth kill kept A&M within reach. Georgia entered an 8-1 run, pulling ahead and taking its largest lead, sitting at a 15-6 advantage. A pair of blocks by Molly Brown highlighted the closing points of the frame, but Georgia recorded two stuffs of its own to grab the set, 25-18.
After trailing early in the third, Lednicky’s fifth kill ended a long rally to level the score, before the Bulldogs bounced back and charged ahead by five. Out of an A&M-called timeout with Brooke Frazier behind the service line, the Aggies responded with five-straight points to knot the score at nine-all. Providing a spark off the bench, Mia Johnson’s first kill gave the Maroon & White a slim 12-11 advantage. A tip over the block by Meuth ended another long rally, keeping A&M ahead by one, while three kills by Lednicky in a four-point stretch gave A&M the set, 25-21.
Meuth heated up in the fourth, registering a pair of kills to jump out to a team high of 13. Three-straight points from the Aggies forced the Bulldogs to use an early timeout, as A&M held onto an 8-5 lead. Georgia fought back, but a kill from Karakasi pushed the Aggies back in front, 12-11. A 5-0 run by the Aggies, highlighted by kills from three different Aggies created separation, taking an 18-14 lead. Georgia responded with four unanswered points to level it at 18-all, but Logan’s 13th kill ended the surge. A block by Karakasi and Bowser pushed A&M to set point, before sealing it 25-22, on another block by Bowser.
In the deciding set, kills from Meuth and Bowser helped keep the score even to start, before Georgia crawled ahead to an 8-5 lead midway in the set. An ace from Allison Fields brought the Aggies within one, trailing 9-8, while an attacking error by the Bulldogs kept A&M within reach, but Georgia held on for the 15-12 win.
The Aggies return to Reed Arena to face Mississippi State in a pair of matches next weekend. Friday’s contest is highlighted as Fish Camp Night, while Saturday’s match is Mental Health Awareness Night.
Head coach Laura “Bird” Kuhn
On adjustments made in the third set…
“We had to grind on defense, and we struggled with digs throughout the first two sets. We wanted to outwork them, so we moved all our defensive specialists into the back row and switched to a defensive mindset.”
Overall thoughts on the series…
“SEC play on the road is a grind, and we put ourselves in great position both days. The next step is to finish. We need to execute late in games in order to grab tough road wins.”