Heading into a tough week of SEC volleyball, Texas A&M hopes to snap out of its inconsistent pattern of play.
On Wednesday, Oct. 13, A&M will take on Ole Miss in College Station as the Aggies aim to hand the Rebels their fifth-straight loss.
The Aggies’ last matchups consisted of a pair of two-set series against Tennessee on the road and Georgia at home. Both double-headers began with the opponent sweeping the Aggies 0-3 in the match, then finished with the maroon and white recovering quickly and topping both the Volunteers and Bulldogs, 3-2.
Though the Aggies were able to rally to even the match count against their last two foes, they will only have one chance to come out on top against Ole Miss.
“There are no bad teams in the SEC,” junior outside hitter Ciera “Cici” Hecht said. “Every team is good, and on any given night, it could be anyone’s game. We just have to come out and work hard in every single match.”
In the history between Ole Miss and A&M, the Aggies lead the Rebels 18-2 and have been victorious in their last five games. A&M’s last loss to Ole Miss was on Sunday, Nov. 12, 2017, in Oxford, Miss.
This season, A&M has shown a collection of its top-tier players. Junior outside hitter Morgan Christon has carried A&M’s offensive with an impressive 209 kills this season. In addition, junior outside hitter Lauren Davis and senior middle blocker Mallory Talbert have assisted A&M’s attacking playstyle, both recording more than 115 kills. Head coach Laura “Bird” Kuhn said the entire coaching staff encourages the athletes to not overlook the simple aspects of the game and instead just perform as expected.
“It’s respecting your opponents and playing to your standards all the time,” Kuhn said. “You train that everyday in practice … that’s where you build consistency.”
Ole Miss junior outside hitter Anna Bair dominates a large majority of the Rebels’ attacks, nearing 200 kills, while a duo of sophomores are not far behind, with middle blocker Sasha Ratcliff and right side Samantha Schnitta smashing down about 120 kills each.
The Rebels are coming off four consecutive losses going into the meeting and were shutout 0-3 in their last three matchups. Ole Miss head coach Kayla Banwarth said having a weekend off to rest before playing Wednesday’s matchup will be beneficial to her team.
“It was amazing to be able to train hard and not have to worry about saving legs at all,” Banwarth said. “We had three really good days of training in a row, and we got after it in the gym. They're still working hard to be able to compete, and it was nice to work out some kinks in our own system without having to worry as much about scouting and tinkering. We got after it pretty hard the last three days, and it'll start with being good on Wednesday."
Also competing in SEC play at the moment is A&M football, which caused complete chaos in College Station on Saturday, Oct. 9. The historic upset over Alabama shocked the nation and excited other departments of A&M Athletics as well. Kuhn said victories in other sports bleed to her program and help with recruiting.
“Anytime anything with athletics to that extreme measure [happens], it’s going to bleed over,” Kuhn said. “Everyone knows how special the 12th Man is. To be a part of that atmosphere and live in those moments, everyone wants to be part of something like that.”
The Aggies will host Ole Miss on Wednesday, Oct. 13 at 7 p.m. for Teacher Appreciation Night at Reed Arena.