Aggies drop matches to Tennessee, Florida
Aggies losing streak now at three
Published: Monday, October 22, 2012
Updated: Monday, October 22, 2012 01:10
The Texas A&M volleyball team dropped the weekend slate to Tennessee and to 11th ranked Florida, falling to 15-5 overall and 7-4 in SEC play.
The Aggies started the weekend with the match against the SEC preseason favorites Tennessee, trying to avoid a losing streak after falling to Kentucky earlier in the week. The Aggies came out on the court and immediately showed signs of being out of sync as the Volunteers jumped out to a 10-5 lead in the first set. Head coach Laurie Corbelli tried to get the team into a rhythm by constantly mixing and matching players. The Volunteers however kept coming to the attack as they took the first set 25-21.
“We were just looking for someone who could put the ball on the floor,” Corbelli said. “The game hasn't looked like it did a week ago against Arkansas.”
The Aggies tried to go toe-to-toe with Tennessee in the second set, staying one point behind late in the set 20-19, but the Volunteers surged ahead due to A&M’s attack errors.
In the third set, the Aggies held a 10-9 lead and was tied with the Volunteers 14-14, but Tennessee use a six point run to put the set and the match in favor of the Volunteers.
“Not much happened tonight. We certainly played very flat, very distracted and very individual, which this game absolutely does not tolerate. In general, it was just pretty ugly volleyball on our side of the net. There's no excuse.”
With the No. 11 Florida Gators coming into town Sunday afternoon and having the game nationally televised, the Aggies came out with high energy and with a determination that could be seen in the players.
A&M held the Gators to a season low 14 points in the opening frame taking it 25-14 behind the strong play from senior middle blocker Lindsey Miller who hit the set winning point. The Aggies were fueled by an 8-1 run, and had six players posting at least two kills.
The Aggies found themselves in a dogfight in the second set as both teams exchanged points, keeping the game tied most of the time. With the scored even at 23, Miller and junior outside hitter Heather Reynolds paved the way for senior outside hitter Tori Mellinger to score three kills in a row to give the Aggies a 2-0 lead heading into intermission.
Florida came out of the intermission on a mission as they opened up a 14-7 lead and would not look back as they took the set 25-23.
A&M had the opportunity to put the match away as they jumped in front of the Gators with a 17-12 lead. Just as the Aggies felt that the match was in their hands, the errors reared their head as Florida went on a 7-0 run, eventually tying the match at 20. From there the Gators used a 5-3 run to push the match to a decisive fifth set.
In the fifth set, the Aggies were overwhelmed by Florida’s Chloe Mann as she powered the Gators to a 15-6 fifth set win and taking the match 3-2.
Mellinger showed why coach Corbelli calls her the most valuable player on the team as she finished the night 18 kills, 16 digs, and four block assists in the losing effort.
The Aggies have now lost three matches in a row but still remain in first place ahead of Arkansas due to the head-to-head victory in Fayetteville on October 12th. Both have identical 7-4 SEC records, with the Aggies in a three game skid, while Arkansas has won two matches in a row.
A&M must now find a way to shake off the midseason slump as the Aggies now travel to Baton Rouge to take on the LSU Tigers (9-12, 5-7).
“I think we were pretty consistent through sets one and two with our mentality,” Corbelli said. “I applaud Florida. They did a great job coming back and finding a way to win here. I'm just disappointed that we couldn't hold them off.”