Senior setter Allie Sawatzky tallied her sixth triple double of the season as she dished out 31 assists, scooped up 11 digs and was part of a trio of Aggies to post double-figure kills with 10 while hitting .450. Sophomore outside hitter Angela Lowak took team-high honors in kills with 11, and sophomore middle blocker Shelby Sullivan also posted double-digit kills with 10 as A&M led the Rebels in kills, 52-44.
Defensively, senior libero Heather Reynolds paced the Aggies with a team-high 13 digs, and redshirt freshman middle blocker Jazzmin Babers led all players with six blocks as A&M outhit Ole Miss, .193 to .097, and outblocked the Rebels, 11-9.
A&M easily took command of the first set as Ole Miss struggled offensively. A&M scored the first three points of the match and doubled up the Rebels at 10-5 following another 3-0 run. The Aggies later forged to a 17-7 lead with Sullivan leading the charge with two blocks and a kill during a 7-1 run.
A&M, which committed only one attack error in the set and outhit the Rebels .391 to -.032, held an 18-10 lead before the Aggies closed out the set on 7-0 surge, including three consecutive Rebel errors to end the frame.
There were five lead changes and five ties in the first half of the second set before the Aggies erupted for nine unanswered points. Babers had three blocks and a kill during the run, which gave A&M a 23-16 lead. Ole Miss, which was outhit .143 to .000 in the set, then rallied for four points to get within 23-20, forcing A&M to call a timeout. Freshman outside hitter Emily Hardesty came out of the timeout and registered a kill to put the Aggies at set point, and sophomore opposite hitter Sierra Patrick sealed the win with a kill, giving A&M a 2-0 lead in the match.
A&M built its largest lead of the third set at 10-6 before Ole Miss began a comeback and eventually took its first lead at 14-13 following consecutive attack miscues by the Aggies. A dump kill by Sawatzky tied the score, and the setter attacked the second ball for a kill on the ensuing play to retake the lead, 15-14. It was a back-and-forth affair during the final stretch, with Ole Miss regaining a 16-15 lead on a kill by Nakeyta Clair.
Trailing 17-16, Babers registered consecutive kills during a 3-0 run that put the Aggies back on top, 19-17. After an Ole Miss timeout, the Rebels quickly regained the advantage as A&M hit out of bounds on consecutive plays and Ole Miss got a kill off the block to take a 20-19 lead.
A&M, which was outhit .294 to .184, tied the score for the ninth time as Babers and Patrick teamed for a block, but the Aggies were unable to retake the lead. The Rebels got a kill and a block to build a 22-20 cushion but then served into the net to put A&M within 22-21. Ole Miss was good on its next two attacks, putting the Rebels at set point, 24-21. A block by Sawatzky and Sullivan kept the Aggies alive before Marie-Pierre Bakima put down her fourth kill of the set to close out the set for Ole Miss, forcing a fourth set.
There were also numerous momentum shifts early in the fourth set, with a Lowak kill tying the score for the eighth time and the lead changing hands for the sixth time as Ole Miss followed with an attack into the antenna that put the Aggies ahead, 14-13. Lowak’s kill marked the start of a four-point run by the Aggies, who also benefitted from a Rebel attack that failed to clear the net and an ace by Sullivan that put A&M up, 16-13.
The Rebels began to chip away at the lead and eventually tied the score at 18-18 as an A&M attack attempt sailed long. Ole Miss however, was unable to retake the lead, botching its next serve and then following with an attack attempt that landed beyond the end line. Patrick then finished off a 3-0 run with her eighth kill of the match, putting A&M ahead, 21-18. The Rebels quickly caught the Aggies once again, putting down a kill and taking advantage of A&M attack errors to tie the score for the 10th time, 21-21. It would be the finals points for the Rebels as Sullivan tipped in a kill from the right-side pin and senior defensive specialist Mariah Agre followed with an ace. Ole Miss setter Aubrey Edie was whistled for a back row attack violation on the next play, putting the Aggies at match point. Sullivan then put down an errant Ole Miss overpass for the match-winning kill.
The Aggies, who recorded a sweep at Mississippi State on Friday for their first SEC road victory of the season, improve to 13-10 overall and 5-7 in conference play. Ole Miss, which was led by Clair’s 13 kills, had its two-match win streak snapped and falls to 13-13, including 3-10 in SEC matches.
The Aggies, in the midst of stretch that includes five matches in 10 days, return to the court Wednesday to face rival LSU at the Pete Maravich Center in Baton Rouge, La. First serve is at 6 p.m., and the match will be televised by COX Sports TV. A&M will be aiming to avenge a 3-2 loss to the Tigers earlier this season in College Station.
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:
“We played one of the most flawless first sets we’ve ever played. It was so much fun to coach them. I think Ole Miss really started serving a lot tougher, and it directly affected our offensive rhythm and we started making unforced errors. That started to frustrate the team a little, but to be on the road and pull this one out was very important to us.
“We played some awesome defense at times. We really wanted to make sure our middles got started early, and I thought we did that. Lowak had another really nice performance, and I thought Sawatzky also really took advantage of the openings in their defense.”
(On winning road matches)
“Getting wins on the road is something we haven’t done very much in conference, so to now have this whole trip, a good weekend, gives us a lot of momentum going into another road match coming up in a couple of days that is going to be a really important one for us.”
(On the team’s confidence)
“I like where the girls’ heads are at. There is a lot of confidence. They are on a mission to continue to improve in every match. I know how much they really want to continue to make it to the tournament.”
(On the number of players getting court time)
“We are playing a lot of people. I think the youth in our team, at times we see some inconsistencies or we just see some areas that we think that we can strengthen. We are just trying a lot of things. I really like the effort the team gives. They are working really hard when they get on the court to be not only individually prepared but also as a team to really stick with the team mission.”