- Texas A&M def. LSU 3-1, (25-17, 25-27, 25-18, 25-22)
- A&M improves to 20-8, 14-3 SEC, LSU falls to 9-19, 4-13 SEC
- Hosted by Texas A&M
Courtesy of Texas A&M Athletics
COLLEGE STATION, Texas – The Texas A&M volleyball team made sure its five seniors were victorious in their final appearance at Reed Arena as the Aggies defeated LSU, 25-17, 25-27, 25-18, 25-22, in front of 2,604 on Thanksgiving Eve.
It was the sixth consecutive home victory for the Aggies, who improved to 20-8 overall and 14-3 in Southeastern Conference matches with only a Saturday match at Auburn remaining on the regular season schedule. LSU, which had gone home triumphant in three of its last four trips to College Station, falls to 9-19 overall and 4-13 in SEC play.
The Aggies set a school record for digs in an SEC match with 103, with senior defensive specialist Victoria Arenas and junior libero Amy Nettles both posting personal season highs with 25 and 24 digs, respectively. Senior setter Kaysie Shebeneck had a career-high 12 digs and also posted the second double-double of her career by adding 15 sets in two sets played. Junior starting setter Stephanie Aiple dished out 28 assists, appearing in three sets.
Senior middle blocker Jazzmin Babers added a team-high four blocks to give her 549 for her career, putting her within four blocks of breaking the Texas A&M all-time career record of 552 total blocks held by Cindy Lothspeich (1994-97). Sophomore middle blocker Kaitlyn Blake had three blocks, including two block assists to give her 136 blocks assists and put her in fourth place all-time in the A&M season block assist records.
The Aggies used an 11-1 run to open up a 14-5 lead in the first set. The Tigers, who were outhit, .192 to .120, got back within seven points for the second time at 22-15 before the teams began to trade points for the remainder of the frame.
There were 17 ties and four lead changes in the second set, which saw LSU outhit A&M, .177 to .137, to pull off the win and even the match at a set apiece. A&M equaled its largest lead at 14-11 before LSU charged back, scoring four unanswered point to go up, 15-14. A&M tied the score seven times before retaking the lead at 23-22 following back-to-back kills by Babers. LSU got a kill coming out of a timeout to tie the score, but McGee put the Aggies at set point with a cross-court shot, which LSU unsuccessfully challenged that the ball landed wide.
An A&M attack error evened the score, and the Tigers served an ace to go up, 25-24. A&M called a timeout, and LSU served long when play resumed, knotting the score at 25-all. The Tigers’ Toni Rodriguez caromed a kill off the Aggie block to put LSU at set point for a second time, and A&M followed with an attack error to end the set.
LSU held a 15-14 advantage in the third set before a dump kill by Aiple marked the start of a 5-0 run by the Aggies. A&M, which outhit LSU, .189 to .026, held the lead for the rest of the set and was ahead, 22-18, when Hans powered the ball through the seam in the LSU block to record her seventh kill of the set. Junior outside hitter Ashlie Reasor followed with a well-placed tip kill, and Hans capped the stanza with an ace.
There were 13 ties and six lead changes in the fourth and final set. The Tigers had used a 3-0 run to take a 12-11 advantage, but Hans countered with a kill and an ace to put the Aggies back on top, 13-12. A&M, which hit .270 while holding LSU to a .158 hitting efficiency, took its largest lead of the frame at 19-15 following three consecutive attack errors by the Tigers. LSU would fight back and tie the score at 21- and 22-all before McGee pounded down a kill on one play and then softly tipped the ball in for a kill on the next play to put A&M at match point. McGee then teamed with Babers for a block to close out the contest.
A&M outhit LSU, .192 to .128, for the match, and led in kills (63-46), assists (57-44) and digs (103-78). The Tigers led in aces (5-2) and blocks (10-7).
All five A&M seniors saw action in their final appearance in front of the 12th Man at Reed Arena, including Katelyn Labhart, who was in the starting lineup as a defensive specialist and Emily Hardesty, who came off the bench to play outside hitter. The seniors were then honored in a postmatch ceremony.
With the victory, Texas A&M finished 8-2 in home matches and also reached the 20-win milestone for the third consecutive year and the 17th time in 24 years under head coach Laurie Corbelli.
The Aggies’ match at Auburn on Saturday begins at 12:30 p.m. at Auburn Arena.
Visit 12thMan.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 and Instagram by following @AggieVolleyball.
Texas A&M postmatch quotes:
TEXAS A&M HEAD COACH LAURIE CORBELLI:
On playing the seniors in the second set…
“I had full belief that they could do it. It was a group that’s not on the court a lot together all the time. I expected it to be a little choppy. Those players have all played together a lot but not in that situation at the same time…I knew at the end we could get this win and so I wasn’t really that concerned about that carrying over into the rest of the match.”
On strategy of the second set…
“… I’m glad that we got to get all the seniors on the floor at the same time. That was really cool, especially when in the second set, there was a time where all five seniors were on the floor with Amy Nettles and it was really cool. I don’t think I’ve ever been able to do that in the past.”
On senior Victoria Arenas‘ 25 digs tonight…
“It’s really good for her. [LSU is] a team that hits a lot of shots across their body back towards the right side of our court. It takes a little bit of time getting used to it. She is one of our quickest defenders and she was able to just get her hands on so many of them and did a beautiful job. I was really proud of her.”
On bouncing back from Sunday’s loss and Kentucky…
“We knew once we got our passing going and got our rhythm… that we would be fine. I thought we made more errors than normal. Even in the first set with six hitting errors, it’s kind of unlike us. We had more errors than that team, and lately we’ve been cutting our errors so much. I’m not really sure what it’s representing but I hope we got it out of our system.”
On the crowd at Reed Arena tonight…
“I thought this was more special [than previous senior nights]. I really didn’t know what to expect with campus being so empty today. I really didn’t know what to expect, but I walked out and I was so excited that so many people came. I saw some volleyball teams, students, and season ticket holders; it’s almost like everybody in town showed up. It was a really rewarding feeling to have at the end of the season. It’s been a long season; it’s been a rough season in a lot of ways. We’ve overcome a lot of things, and for those fans to continue to support us through it all has been really nice.”
TEXAS A&M SENIOR MIDDLE BLOCKER JAZZMIN BABERS
On her last game at Reed Arena…
“I’m not a very emotional person. It was great. It came through my mind at one time towards the end of the fourth set. It’s kind of what I expected. It was good at the end.”
On climbing the ladder from freshman to senior year…
“I just try to do the best that I can in every match. The stats and the records are not necessarily something that I’m striving for; it just comes along with playing. It being my fourth year and starting in every match and playing every match, naturally you’ll get stats and break records. It tends to come along every day in our games. It’s not something I’m really focused on.”
On other seniors playing today…
“That was awesome. It was good just to play with them. I’ve been here for five years, played with them for four years. Just to get to see Kaysie (Shebeneck) and Emily (Hardesty) playing a lot more in this game, it was great.”
On Reed Arena’s crowd tonight…
“We walked out for warmups and there was already a massive amount of people there. That kind of shocked us. Leave it to the 12th Man to come out the day before Thanksgiving and watch us play and support us. It was awesome. That was just great to play in front of such a solid crowd for one last time.”
TEXAS A&M FRESHMAN OUTSIDE HITTER HOLLANN HANS
On playing for the seniors…
“Before the game we talked about what we wanted to do for the seniors, to make this last game at Reed Arena the best for them. We wanted to go out with a bang and play our best.”
On her career-high 20 kills tonight…
“I don’t really go in striving for that. I just go and play to the best of my ability, and it just so happened that I got those kills.”
Courtesy of LSU Athletics
COLLEGE STATION, Texas – In its final road match of the 2016 season, the LSU volleyball team fell 3-1 in a 25-17, 25-27, 25-18, 25-22 loss at the hands of Texas A&M Wednesday night inside Reed Arena.
LSU dropped to 9-19 and 4-13 in the league with the loss. The Aggies improved to 20-8 and 14-3 in conference with the win. LSU hit .158 in the match and limited A&M to a .192 hitting percentage for its third-worst output of the season. The Aggies’ 29 attacking errors were also the squad’s second most in a match this season in most in a conference match.
“I am super proud of the fight this team showed tonight,” head coach Fran Flory said. “We played hard and created an opportunity to beat a very good team. Our inability to terminate offensively, along with A&M’s ability to make the big play when it was needed kept us from succeeding. This match was definitely a step in the right direction for this team as they gave their best effort of the season.”
LSU returns home for its final match of the 2016 season at 1 p.m. CT Sunday against Alabama. The match between the Tigers and Crimson Tide will be streamed live on WatchESPN.com and the app. In the final home match of the season, the team will honor the lone senior, Tiara Gibson, in a presentation after the match. In honor of National Cake Day, fans will also be served cake as they enter the Maravich Center. Admission to all matches at the Maravich is free and fans are reminded to Geaux Clear.
Texas A&M was able to make the plays in the opening set to take the 1-0 lead. Flory took her first timeout of the set after Texas A&M seized a 9-4 lead. Out of the break, the Aggies went on an 8-4 run to push the lead to 17-8. The Tigers showed fight out of the break but ultimately fell 25-17. Seven Tigers recorded a dig in the set and Kelly Quinn led the way with seven total.
The Tigers fended off a 15-11 Texas A&M lead and closed in on the Aggies to force 17 tie scores and two lead changes. After Texas A&M tied the Tigers at 22, the Aggies went on to take the first lead in 17 points to make it 23-22. LSU fought back and was able to tie the match at one overall after a kill by Toni Rodriguez and A&M attacking error.
The Tigers and Aggies were neck and neck up until the 15-15 mark. The Aggies closed out the frame on a 10-3 run to take the momentum and 2-1 lead. The Tigers faltered on the offensive end with just eight kills and a .026 hitting percentage. A&M hit just .137 in the set but capitalized on three service errors and LSU’s seven attacking errors.
LSU was almost able to push the match to a fifth set but fell 25-22 in the fourth behind just 11 kills. The Tigers took advantage of A&M’s seven attacking errors, but the Aggies were able to put away 17 kills in the set. After being down by four points, LSU fought back to tie the set at 20. A&M was able to win five of the next seven points to put the match away.
>> Middle blocker Olivia Beyer led the way for LSU with 12 kills on 43 attempts. Beyer’s 43 attempts were by far her greatest in her career, besting her previous career best of 29 set against Georgia this season.
>> Rodriguez finished second on the team in kills with 11 to tie for her second-best performance of the season. The St. Amant native’s 30 attempts were her second most of the season.
>> Quinn, Anna Zwiebel and Cheyenne Wood split for the team lead in digs with 16 each.
>> Zwiebel entered the match in the first and totaled 34 assists in four sets. With her 16 digs, the freshman picked up her seventh double-double of the season.
>> Tillis finished with seven kills and 13 digs on the night. The junior has reached double-digit digs in 13 matches this season.
>> On 188 attacks, Texas A&M finished with 103 total digs in the match. LSU’s 188 attacks were the most this season and the most in a match in four or fewer sets since Sept. 4, 2015, against Michigan (191).
For all of the latest news and information on Tiger volleyball, visit www.lsusports.net/volleyball. Fans can also follow the program on its social media outlets at www.Facebook.com/lsuvolleyball along with @lsuvolleyball and @lsucoachfran on Twitter and @lsuvb on Instagram