Texas A&M earned a 3-0 win over California Baptist on Friday, and two Aggies had big performances in the game.
Sophomore middle blocker Mallory Talbert registered a career high of thirteen kills to help the Aggies execute a sweep of the Lancers (25-17, 25-13, 25-19) to open the Pepperdine Tournament.
Talbert transcended her career-best of ten kills, finishing with a .522 hitting percentage and recording only one error. A&M head coach Laura “Bird” Kuhn said Talbert has made a lot of improvement from her freshman year.
"Mallory has really come on," Kuhn told 12thman.com. "We talked to her about just going hard and she does that. Her and Camille [Conner] have really built a trust and I think that's huge for middles and setters. She's really taking control and plays at the net and takes care of the net. It's hers."
Conner, A&M’s junior setter, also had a strong outing in the game, recording her twentieth career double-double with 31 assists, 10 kills, and a .500 hitting percentage.
“Camille was so aggressive and I love that,” Kuhn told 12thman.com. “We keep asking her to move the ball around and get people involved and she did that tonight.”
Liberos Karly Basham and Camila Gomez each secured nine digs in the win. Basham added two service aces.
The Aggies closed the match with a .361 hitting percentage, while also holding CBU to .137.
Kuhn said the team had great performances on both sides of the ball.
“The team executed well offensively and we hit a good clip,” Kuhn told 12thman.com. “Defensively, we were in system. They executed the game plan, picked up the tips and rolls and stopped what California Baptist was trying to do."
The Aggies kicked off set one with a 4-0 scoring run for A&M, including two consecutive kills by Hollann Hans along with an ace from Basham to give A&M the early 6-2 lead.
A&M continued the early dominace as Lauren Davis notched two kills, and Gomez added an ace to help the team climb to a 12-8 lead. A&M got on a roll from there and eventually had a 21-13 lead on the Lancers. The Aggies then went on a 3-0 run, getting them to set point.
Davis finished the set 25-17 with a kill, ending with a hitting percentage of .571 as she had five kills total.
Set two was a little more of a battle, as it was tied at six before A&M put the pieces back together and took a 13-9 lead over CBU. The Lancers came back within five, but the Aggies went on a 5-0 run and Basham’s service ace gave them a lead of 21-11. The Aggies ended the set on top 25-13.
Treyaunna Rush got the third set underway with a kill. Makena Patterson landed five straight serves, giving A&M a lead of 6-1 right off the bat. The Aggies took a 23-13 lead later in the set and Davis’ serve put A&M at match point. The Lancers showed great effort and came within five, but Davis came in clutch for the Aggies with her ninth kill to end the match.
The Aggies will conclude the Pepperdine Tournament on Saturday against Fairfield at 1 p.m. and Pepperdine at 8 p.m.