The Texas A&M volleyball team reached the final destination of its European tour earlier today and then this evening arrived at the Italian Training Center to take on Club Italia, consisting of the best junior players in Italy. Club Italia defeated the visiting Aggies, 3-1 (25-16, 25-21, 25-19, 28-30).
The host team used a 5-0 run to break away from a 6-6 tie in the opening set and continued to pull away. Club Italia later equaled its largest lead at 23-12 before committing four consecutive miscues to allow A&M to get within 23-16. The Aggies then committed a service error and a reception error as Club Italia closed out the 25-16 win with an ace.
A&M held it largest lead of the second set at 8-5 following a kill by Hollann Hans and an ace by Makena Patterson. Club Italia regained the lead at 11-10 on an A&M attack error, but after tying the score three times, the Aggies retook the lead at 14-13. A&M went on to take a 17-15 lead before Club Italia reeled off four consecutive points to go up 19-17. A&M twice got back within a point, the last coming at 20-19 before Club Italian posted another four-point run to go up, 24-19. A&M prolonged the set with a block followed by a kill by Brookah Palmer, but A&M’s next attack sailed out, ending the set, 25-21, and giving the host team a 2-0 lead in the match.
A&M held its only lead of the third set at 8-7 after reeling off four unanswered points. Club Italia countered with a 6-1 run to go up 13-9. Club Italia later used a three-point rally to take its largest lead, 23-17, but Hans ended the rally with a kill and Haley Slocum followed with an ace to put A&M within 23-19. That would be the closest the Aggies would get as A&M then committed an attack error and Club Italia served an ace to end the set, 25-19.
Although Club Italia held a 3-0 lead in the match, the teams agreed to play a fourth set. Aggie freshman Kaitlyn Rogers was put in at setter and helped A&M get to a 14-12 lead. Club Italia quickly erased the deficit, scoring six consecutive points to build an 18-14 advantage. The Italians would go on to build their largest lead at 23-18 before A&M began to rally. Freshman Mallory Talbert got a kill which began a 7-1 run that put the Aggies at set point, 25-24, but a service error knotted the score at 25-25. A kill by Samantha Sanders put A&M at set point for the second time, but a kill by Club Italia and an A&M attack error put the Italians at set point, 27-26. Club Italia, however, served into the net and then hit long on the ensuing play to return the lead to A&M, putting the Aggies at set point, 28-27. Club Italian tied the score for the last time with a kill before freshman middle blocker London Austin-Roark assisted with back-to-back blocks to close out the 30-28 set win for the Aggies.
The Aggies close out their tour with a rematch against Club Italia tomorrow at the Italian Training Center.
Fans can 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 today’s match…
“This was exciting. We are coming up towards the end or our trip and we knew the layout of this was going to be good in terms of us adapting. They were going to be a strong team, and luckily we get to play them again tomorrow, so it is all about adapting and adjusting. We just need to be a little more urgent from the beginning. I think it takes a set or two to get into it. We talked about those things. We adjusted our passing, just stepping up, and I think that was a very positive thing for us. We were in system, and it just came down to siding out, like first-ball kills, so just being cleaner from the start.”
On the fourth set…
“The fourth set we went with Kaitlyn (Rogers), so we changed up the setting. She did a great job. She knew the game plan offensively. Defensively, just blocking, when you go in you need to know both sides of the ball. When we were in system, it just came down to our execution and our pin attackers. We brought them off the pin a little bit more and just moving that ball using their thumb. We were good with just grinding and finishing that set, because I know that they were frustrated a little bit with execution. We worked them and came out with a two-point finish in the end. I was proud of them in that regard, and that was positive for us coming into tomorrow’s match. “