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Aggies Post Convincing 3-0 Win Against Missouri

November 12, 2011
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Courtesy: Texas A&M Athletics
(photo: Texas A&M Athletics)
COLLEGE STATION, Texas - Texas A&M rallied late in each set against Missouri to pull away and secure a key 25-17, 25-22, 25-20 victory against the Tigers today at Reed Arena.

With the win, the Aggies notch their 20th win of the season, improving to 20-6 overall. They also keep a stronghold on third place in the Big 12 Conference with a 9-4 record.

"To get the 20th win was really a lot of fun for me as a coach; incredibly proud of my players today," A&M head coach Laurie Corbelli said. "I thought our balance is what stood out the most in terms of our distribution. Everyone was reliable today and ready to go in a very focused and disciplined way, and I think that was what I enjoyed the most about our team's performance today."

Although A&M had no players in double figures in kills, the Aggies got nine kills apiece from outside hitters Tori Mellinger and Kelsey Black, as well as right-side hitter Alisia Kastmo. In addition, setter Allie Sawatzky added seven kills, and middle blockers Elise Hendrickson and Lindsey Miller combined for 10 kills.

"It's really important that we keep teams off balance," Corbelli said. "This Missouri team is such a great defensive team. That's a young group of some really phenomenal defensive players. It's hard to put a ball down on their side. We stayed patient. We played really smart."

A&M outhit Missouri, .268 to .167, as Hendrickson and Miller tallied five and four blocks, respectively, to lead A&M to a 10-4 advantage in blocks. Libero Megan Pendergast, who had a career-high four aces, and Black led the Aggies with 13 and 12 digs, respectively.

There were nine ties and four lead changes in the opening set. The Tigers held a 16-15 lead when Black threaded the Missouri defense for a kill, marking the start of a dominating 10-1 Aggie run that closed out the set.

Mellinger got a strategically placed roll shot to fall in for a kill and return the lead to the Aggies, 17-16. Missouri called a timeout following the lead change, but then hit into the net on the next play. Sawatzky followed with a dump kill to put A&M up 19-16, and Missouri burned its final timeout. The Aggies continued to score as Mellinger posted her fourth kill of the set. Although A&M was whistled for a throw on the ensuing play, Black blasted a kill on her next opportunity to return serve to the Aggies. Mellinger and Kastmo had back-to-back kills, and Mellinger teamed with Hendrickson for a block to put the Aggies at set point, 24-17. Hendrickson then got a kill courtesy of a Missouri overpass to end the set.

Missouri was ahead by as many as five points early in the second set and was leading 12-8 before A&M appeared to take command, using a 9-1 run to surge to a 17-12 lead. Missouri fought back and tied the score at 19-19, but Miller executed the slide play with perfection to keep the Aggies in the lead. Black followed with a kill from the back row, and Pendergast posted an ace to put A&M up, 22-19. The Aggies continued to rally as Mellinger posted a kill and Pendergast had her third ace of the frame to put A&M at set point. The Tigers fought off three set points before Sawatzky posted the set-winning kill.

Missouri was within 12-11 in the third set before Miller got a kill on another slide attack to spark a 5-0 run, and the Tigers burned both of their timeouts during the run. Missouri used a rally of its own to get back within 18-17, but a serve into the net kept the Aggies in the lead. Pendergast posted another ace, and A&M went on to build a 22-17 lead as Mellinger and Hendrickson combined for a block and Sawatzky got a kill. A kill by Missouri's Whitney Little started a two-point Tiger run, but a serve into the net ended the Tigers' rally.

Trailing 23-19, Lisa Henning, who leads the league in kills and points per set in conference matches, posted one of her team-high 11 kills for Missouri, but Kastmo countered with a kill, and Black and Hendrickson blocked Henning's next attack to end the set and complete the sweep for the Aggies.

Missouri falls to 20-11 overall, including 6-8 in Big 12 matches only.

A&M has a midweek bye next week and then heads to Norman, Okla., Saturday, Nov. 19 for a rematch against the Sooners. First serve is at 7 p.m. at McCasland Field House. A&M came back from a 2-0 set deficit and fought off three match points in the third set for a come-from-behind victory against the then-No. 22 Sooners when the teams met in College Station on Oct. 12.

A&M has only two regular season matches remaining after the Oklahoma match, including the home finale against rival Texas in a State Farm Lone Star match on Wednesday, Nov. 23. A&M's five seniors -- Kelsey Black, Sarah Grace, Elise Hendrickson, Chelsea Ringel and Cinthya Roberto -- will be honored after the match against the Longhorns.

The Aggies close out the regular season at Iowa State on Nov. 26. The match begins at 6:30 p.m. at Hilton Coliseum in Ames, Iowa.

 

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