COLLEGE STATION, Texas – Texas A&M took seventh-ranked Michigan to the wire but came up short, 16-25, 26-24, 25-20, 20-25, 15-13, tonight at Reed Arena.
Aggie senior setter Allie Sawatzky had an All-American type performance, leading all players with a career-high 16 kills and zero errors in 28 attempts for a .571 hitting percentage. She also completed her second triple double of the season, adding 38 assists and 16 digs, tying her season high.
A&M sophomore outside hitter Angela Lowak had a double-double with 12 kills and a career-high 16 digs, and sophomore outside hitter Sierra Patrick and sophomore middle blocker Shelby Sullivan also reached double figures in kills for the Aggies with 12 and 10, respectively.
Defensively, Aggie freshman middle blocker Jazzmin Babers had a career-high 11 blocks. Senior libero Kelsey Kinley led A&M with 19 digs, and senior Mariah Agre pitched in a career-high 16 digs.
The teams were even in kills (64) and assists (59) for the match. A&M outhit the Wolverines, .209 to .139, outblocking Michigan, 16-9. Michigan held an 8-1 advantage in aces, with two of them coming over the course of the last three plays of the match.
Michigan held a 12-9 lead in the first set when the Aggies went on an 8-1 run to go up 16-13. Sawatzky and Sullivan later had two kills apiece during a 6-1 rally that put A&M up, 23-15. Michigan, which was outhit, .243 to .077, posted a kill but then hit long to put the Aggies at set point. Aggie freshman Kaysie Shebeneck, who drew the first start of her young career, then teamed with Babers for a stuff block to close out the set.
Both teams struggled offensively in the second set with Michigan outhitting A&M, .039 to .019. Shebeneck had two kills during a 4-0 run that gave the Aggies a 6-4 lead, but Michigan countered with four consecutive points to regain the lead, 8-6. The Wolverines led the reminder of the set, using another 4-0 rally to build their largest lead at 23-14. A&M, however, refused to give in. The Aggies scored three points to get within 23-14, before Michigan stopped the run with a block that put the Wolverines at set point. A&M then fought off seven set points with Lowak tallying three kills during the run that knotted the score at 24-24. The Aggies were unable to take lead, however, as Michigan put down a kill and A&M followed with an attack error to end the set and tie the match at 1-1.
Michigan never trailed in the third frame, jumping out to a 9-3 lead to begin the set. A&M managed to get within 12-10, but was unable to get any closer. The Wolverines went on to build their largest lead at 23-16. A&M got back within 24-20 before Molly Toon put down her fifth kill of the set to give the Wolverines a 2-1 lead in the match.
A&M used a 5-0 run in the fourth set to take a 10-6 lead. The Aggies, who outhit Michigan, .324 to .071 in the set, continued to pull away, building their largest lead at 22-15. Michigan chipped away at the lead, getting within 24-20 before Sawatzky dumped the ball over for the set-winning kill.
Sawatzky had four kills and no errors in five attempts and set the Aggie offense to a .458 hitting percentage in the decisive fifth set, but Michigan rallied behind the effective serve of Lexi Dannemiller to get the victory. A kill by Sullivan put A&M up, 13-11, but a kill by Toon and a Dannemiller ace tied the score for the seventh time. Krystalyn Goode then put down an A&M overpass for a kill, putting Michigan at match point, and Dannemiller capped the Wolverines’ victory with her third ace of the match.
Lexi Erwin led Michigan with 15 kills but was held to a .000 hitting percentage. Toon and Jennifer Cross had 12 kills each, and Abby Cole added 11. Libero Tiffany Morales finished with a match-high 25 digs.
It was the first five-set match of the season for both teams. Michigan, which had dropped only one set this season entering the match, improves to 7-0. The Aggies, who entered the match riding a six-match win streak, fall to 7-2.
The Aggies wrap up non-conference play next week as they travel to Colorado to face the Rams of Colorado State Saturday at 8 p.m. (CT) in Fort Collins and then take on Northern Colorado Sunday at 8 p.m. in Greeley.
A&M opens Southeastern Conference play at Reed Arena, Sunday, September 29 against Georgia.
Visit AggieAthletics.com for more information on Texas A&M volleyball. Aggie fans also can keep up to date with the A&M volleyball team on Facebook and on Twitter by following @AggieVolleyball.
Texas A&M Quotes:
Head Coach Laurie Corbelli
(On overall impression of the match)
“I thought it was an amazing match for both teams. There were awesome defensive plays and great strategies. The serving was really tough and smart. I’m so proud of my team. We just have so much courage. When we got down, we still fought back. We always have done that and come so close to finishing whatever particular set we are down in. When we are down, we don’t really get down that much. It’s just such a joy to coach this group. We had a few chances here and there that didn’t go our way for whatever reasons. Probably a lot of it is just inexperience. Yet, we made some plays that I never expected this group to be able to do. These are the types of matches we want to be playing right now. This match was incredibly valuable for our group.”
(On senior setter Allie Sawatzky)
“That performance is something I will never forget. I don’t know that I’ve had a player dominate a match like she did. I was amazed. A few plays that she made I’ve never even seen her do in practice. I just turned to Steve (Greene), our assistant coach, and said, ‘Allie just took her game to a whole new level.’ I am so amazed and I told her in the locker room that it was truly amazing. I haven’t said that to too many individual players, especially in front of the entire team. I try not to pick out a player and praise them. I pick out lots of them and give them kudos for things they are contributing, but that one merited a five-minute speech.”
TEXAS A&M INVITATIONAL
Sept. 12-14, Reed Arena, College Station, Texas
Thursday, September 12
Texas A&M def. Siena, 3-0 (25-14, 25-23, 25-17)
#16 Florida State def. Siena, 3-0 (25-18, 25-9, 25-17)
Texas A&M def. #16 Florida State, 3-0 (27-25, 27-25, 25-22)
Friday, September 13
#7 Michigan def. Siena, 3-0 (25-14, 15-17, 25-17)
#7 Michigan def. Texas A&M, 3-2 (16-25, 26-24, 25-20, 20-25, 15-13)
Saturday, September 14 (Closed To the Public)
11:00 a.m. #7 Michigan vs. #16 Florida State
Texas A&M 1-1
Florida State 1-1