Tigers Fight Off Aggie Volleyball’s Comeback in Five Sets

Story by Shelby Hild, Athletics Communications

BATON ROUGE, La. – Texas A&M volleyball (12-14, 5-11 SEC) nearly pulled off the reverse sweep of LSU (12-13, 8-8 SEC) on Sunday afternoon, as the Tigers held on for the five-set victory (9-25, 20-25, 25-13, 34-32, 12-15).

A trio of Aggies paced the Texas A&M offense, as Lauren Davis led the group with 19 kills and Mallory Talbert hit at a career-best .722 hitting percentage, which is the fourth highest in a single match by an Aggie in program history.

There was no slowing down LSU to start the match, as the Tigers opened on an 11-0 run. Morgan Christon registered a trio of kills, despite A&M sitting at a 15-point deficit. Davis got in on the scoring late, tallying a pair of kills, but LSU ran away with the first set, 25-9.

Davis continued to find ways to score in the second stanza, bringing the Aggies within two, trailing 7-5 early on. Out of an A&M-called timeout, Camryn Ennis recorded her first kill in eight matches, before Allison Fields delivered the Maroon & White’s first ace of the match. Back-to-back kills from Christon gave the junior six for the game to keep the Aggies within reach, and despite Talbert spoiling set point, LSU held on to take the frame, 25-20.

In the third, the Aggies pieced together a 4-0 run, which included two aces from Macy Carrabine, to give A&M its first lead of the match, sitting at a slim 7-6 advantage. A solo stuff in the middle by London Austin-Roark pushed the Maroon & White ahead, 13-9, as LSU was forced to call timeout trailing by six. The Aggies pieced together an impressive 11-2 run to close the set, securing the third, 25-13.

It was a back-and-forth battle in the fourth, as Davis tipped over the block to keep A&M within one, while another kill by the outside hitter pushed the Aggies into the 15-14 lead at the media break. Back-to-back kills from Austin-Roark forced LSU into a timeout with the Maroon & White sitting in front, 19-16. Field’s third ace of the match carried the Aggies to a 22-19 advantage, before the Tigers stormed back to level the frame at 22-all. In a set that featured 16 ties and eight lead changes, the Aggies came out victorious, taking it by a score of 34-32 on an attacking error by the Tigers.

After LSU drew a 5-2 lead to open the final frame, two more kills from Davis kept A&M within reach. The Tigers surged ahead, 8-4, but out of the break, the outside hitter reached a match-high 19th kill to bring momentum back onto the Maroon & White’s side of the net. LSU jumped back out to a four-point advantage late, before sealing the deciding set, 15-12.

Texas A&M wraps up the regular season at home next weekend, when it hosts Missouri on Nov. 26-27. The Aggies will recognize the program’s eight seniors following the 4 p.m. match on Saturday.

Head coach Laura “Bird” Kuhn
On picking up the pace offensively…
“It was nice to see us find our rhythm, and I think it was more of an intangible feeling inside for the team. After that first set, we went green light attack mode.”

On the switch that flipped in the third…
“Macy (Carrabine) was a huge piece of that. We knew we had to grind, and we knew we had to be in-system, and our back row has always been that spark. Her coming in was huge for us to have that solid piece, both with energy and executing, to help keep Camille (Conner) in-system and be able to use all of our weapons.”