Courtesy: Texas A&M Athletics
MARIBOR, Slovenia – The Texas A&M volleyball team concluded its stay in Maribor, playing five sets against the Slovenian National Team at the Dras Center. The host team won all five sets (25-15, 25-19, 25-17, 28-26, 25-23), although A&M steadily improved as the match went on.
The Slovenians scored the first five points of the opening set and led the entire frame. They built their largest lead at 20-10, and A&M could get no closer than 21-14 before Slovenia went on a 4-1 run to close out the set.
The Aggies jumped out to a 9-3 in the second set, but Slovenia would chip away at the deficit and eventually used a 4-0 run to take its first lead, 19-17. A&M called a timeout and opposite hitter Morgan Davis ended the run with a kill on the ensuing play. Slovenia, however, would string together five consecutive points, including back-to-back aces to be serving for the set, 24-18. A service error put the Aggies within 24-19 before Slovenia got a kill to close out the set.
Slovenia led the entire third set and was up 21-14 when it put down three consecutive kills to be serving for the set. A&M middle blocker Mallory Talbert ended the run with a kill, and Maddie Douglas tooled the block for a kill on the next play. Outside hitter Brookah Palmer put A&M within 24-17 with an ace, before the Slovenians posted a kill to win the set, 25-17.
The teams had agreed prior to the start of the match to play five sets to 25 points, so the contest continued. The final two sets were much more competitive with the Slovenians winning by the minimum two points. The Aggies held a 21-19 lead in the fourth frame before Slovenia scored four unanswered points, including two points on service aces. A&M countered with a three-point run that included two kills by Samantha Sanders to return the lead to A&M and put the Aggies at set point, 24-23. The teams began to trade point for point until Slovenia scored three consecutive points to win the set, 28-26.
The Aggies jumped out to a 9-2 lead in the fifth set and held a 15-9 advantage before the Slovenians went on an 11-1 run. The Aggies eventually came back to tie the score three times, with kills by Hollann Hans tying the score at both 21-all and 22-22. Palmer would tie the score at 23-23 with a kill, but Slovenia posted a kill and A&M had a kill error to conclude the match.
Tomorrow morning A&M leaves for Croatia, where it will face the U19 Slovenia National Team on Saturday.
Fans will be able to keep up to date on the Texas A&M volleyball team’s travels on 12thMan.com and Facebook as well as on Twitter and Instagram by following @AggieVolleyball.
Texas A&M postmatch quotes:
Texas A&M head coach Laura “Bird” Kuhn
On how A&M team steadily progressed throughout the match…
“I think we got better because we were being challenged, and we changed some things up, we put some new players in and they stepped up. We had players playing well when we made changes, and it is good to see your team respond in a positive way. I think as whole, we need to work on the little things and executing better. In game, but overall being challenged that way on the road after a trip that you are on like this, it is good for them. It is good to grow as group, and it is fun to see them growing. You can feel it, the conversations we are having, but the challenge is what we need right now, so that was very positive for me to see that in our players.
“We are excited. It is going to get better from here on out. We want the challenges to come, and I love to see the response from this team. We are looking forward to the next few matches.”
May 11 Depart College Station
May 12-14 Prague, Czech Republic
May 13: defeated Olymp Praha Junior Team, 3-1 (25-18, 25-15, 27-25, 20-25)
May 14: defeated Olymp Praha Professional Team, 2-1 (25-19, 27-25, 17-25)
May 15 Depart Prague, Czech Republic
Vienna, Austria (day sightseeing trip)
Arrive in Maribor, Slovenia
May 15: Austria National Team def. A&M, 4-1 (in Maribor, Slovenia)
May 17 Slovenia National Team def. Texas A&M, 5-0 (25-15, 25-19, 25-17, 28-26, 25-23)
May 18-19 Depart for Rovinj/Pula/Umag, Croatia
May 19 vs. U19 Slovenia National Team
May 20 Venice Italy
May 21-22 Milan, Italy
May 23 Return to College Station