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Texas A&M Sweeps Mississippi State

November 08, 2013
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Courtesy: Texas A&M Athletics
(photo: Texas A&M Athletics)
STARKVILLE, Miss. – Texas A&M made its first-ever match at Mississippi State a quick one, taking less than one and a half hours to defeat the Bulldogs, 25-17, 25-21, 25-15, tonight at the Newell-Grissom Building.

A&M hit a season-high .439, posting 50 kills in 98 attempts while committing a season-low seven errors. Aggie sophomore outside hitter Angela Lowak led all players with 17 kills -- the most kills by an A&M player in a three-set match this season -- while hitting .517. Senior setter Allie Sawatzky orchestrated a balanced offense as six A&M players posted four or more kills each. Sawatzky tallied 37 assists and also pitched in eight kills while hitting .636.

Senior libero Heather Reynolds anchored A&M’s back row play with a team-high 16 digs, and redshirt freshman middle blocker Jazzmin Babers spearheaded the front-row defense with five blocks as A&M held the Bulldogs to a .214 hitting efficiency.

Mississippi State held a 15-14 lead in the tightly contested first half of the opening set before the Aggies got kills from freshman outside hitter Emily Hardest, Sawatzky and sophomore middle blocker Shelby Sullivan to return the lead to A&M. Mississippi State got a kill to end the run, but Sullivan came right back with a kill and two blocks, and the Aggies went on to build a 22-16 lead. Mississippi State posted a kill following a timeout, but Lowak then erupted with three consecutive kills to close out the set.

Lowak finished the set with seven kills and no errors for a .700 hitting percentage, leading the Aggies to a .483 clip.

Mississippi State spotted the Aggies a 4-0 lead to begin the second and A&M went on to build a 6-1 lead before the Bulldogs fought back to take an 8-7 lead following a 5-0 run. Lowak evened the score with a kill, and sophomore opposite hitter Sierra Patrick returned the lead to the Aggies with a kill. The Bulldogs, who were outhit .425 to .289 in the frame, would tie the score at 10 and 11 but were unable to regain the lead.

Sophomore outside hitter Shelbi Vaughan, making her first appearance of the season, had a kill during a 4-0 run that put the Aggies up, 15-11. Mississippi State continued to fight back and twice got within a point, the last at 19-18, forcing A&M to call a timeout. Lowak got a kill coming out of the timeout, and Babers and Patrick followed with a block before Vaughan blasted a kill down the line, giving the Aggies a 22-18 lead.

Mississippi State chipped away and got within two points at 22-20 and again at 23-21 before Vaughan put A&M at set point with her third kill of the stanza. Sawatzky then clinched the win, attacking the second ball and registering the kill.

A&M led the entire third set, outhitting the Bulldogs .414 to .125 to close out the sweep. The Aggies held a 23-14 lead when Babers and Patrick recorded a monster block against Bulldog freshman standout Kimmy Gardiner, putting A&M at match point. Gardiner came back with her team-leading 14th kill on the next play before Lowak appropriately capped the set and the match with a kill.

A&M completes the season sweep against Mississippi State with the victory and improves to 12-10 overall and 4-7 in SEC matches. It was the sixth consecutive loss for the Bulldogs, who fall to 11-15 overall and 2-10 in SEC play.  

The Aggies continue their road swing, facing Ole Miss Sunday in Oxford with a 1:30 p.m. first serve at the Gillom Sports Center. A&M then has a quick turnaround as the Aggies meet LSU Wednesday, Nov. 13 in Baton Rouge.

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 the team’s play tonight)

“We played like we were on a mission tonight. Our execution was nearly flawless and the communication on the court and the adjustments that they made were effective and they made adjustments right away. That was really fun to watch.

“Our serving was one of our better serving matches, and our back court, using (Mariah) Agre, (Kelsey) Kinley and (Heather) Reynolds, all seniors, really a lot of ball control experience, and they brought that tonight and put us in a position offensively to hit in the .400s, one of our best offensive nights.”

(On Angela Lowak and the team’s overall offense)

“Lowak had a whole lot of spring. She was flying, and they could not find an answer for her. The balance across the net was really good. We distributed the ball to our rights a lot. Our middles got a lot of sets, and out outsides were ready when needed. It was a really fun match to coach.”

(On the return of Shelbi Vaughan)

“Shelbi Vaughan has had a tough sophomore season so far, she really hasn’t had a season. It feels good to use her power and her experience, and she is such a confident competitor that it is nice to have her back out on the floor. The power coming from her is pretty incredible, and it is only going to get better and better as she gets healthier, and that is exciting for us.”

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