COLLEGE STATION, Texas – Texas A&M, playing its second match against a top-5 team in as many days, fell to defending national champion and No. 1-ranked Stanford, 25-17, 25-20, 25-17, today at Reed Arena to conclude the Aggie Classic.
The Aggies (2-2), who pushed eventual tournament champion and fifth-ranked Penn State to five sets in a thrilling Saturday evening contest, were unable to duplicate that impressive performance, while Stanford (4-1) got back into the win column after suffering a tournament-opening 3-1 loss to the Nittany Lions on Friday.
Stanford spotted the Aggies the first three points of the match before going on a 7-3 run to take a 7-6 lead in the opening set. Sophomore outside hitter Hollann Hans, playing on her 20thbirthday, later had back-to-back kills to put the Aggies back in the lead, 12-11, but the lead would not stand. Stanford, led by sophomore outside hitter Kathryn Plummer, countered with a 10-2 run to take a lead it would not lose. Consecutive kills by Hans and senior outside hitter Kiara McGee later put the Aggies within 21-16, but A&M was unable to get any closer before the Cardinal closed out the set with a block.
Plummer, who recorded seven kills in each of the first two sets, led the Cardinal to a 16-8 lead in the second stanza. The Aggies used a 5-1 run to cut the margin to 17-13 and later stayed within four points at 23-19 and 24-20 before setter Jenna Gray put down a kill to clinch the set for the Cardinal.
Stanford, which outhit A&M, .272 to .089, in the match, used an 8-1 rally to take early command of the third set. One of Plummer’s eight kills in the set gave Stanford its largest lead at 15-7. A&M could get no closer than six points the remainder of the set before Michaela Keefe put down the match-clinching kill.
Hans led A&M with 12 kills, and libero Amy Nettles took match-high honors in digs with 14. Sophomore middle blocker Maddie Douglas made her first appearance of the season when she started the third set. In addition, hometown favorite Haley Slocum, a sophomore, made the first appearance of her career, coming in to serve in the final frame.
Plummer, who received the tournament’s Best Attacker award, finished with 22 kills while hitting .409.
The Aggies make their first road trip of the season next weekend as they compete in the HotelRed Invitational, hosted by Wisconsin in Madison. The Aggies open against Lipscomb on Friday at 6 p.m. at the UW Field House and close out the tournament against the sixth-ranked Badgers at 7 p.m.
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Aggie Classic Standings:
1. Penn State (2-0)
2. Stanford (1-1)
3. Texas A&M (0-2)
Aggie Classic Honors:
MVP: Simone Lee, Penn State
Best Attacker: Kathryn Plummer, Stanford
Best Blocker: Haleigh Washington, Penn State
Best Setter: Abby Detering, Penn State
Best Libero: Morgan Hentz, Stanford
TEXAS A&M HEAD COACH LAURIE CORBELLI
On today’s game…
“I suppose it was tough to expect a similar performance to last night, but I do anyways. And I told them I did. I think just not getting our attack going early and having confident attackers early really set a tone on our court of a little bit of panic. From there it spreads like wildfire. Missed passes, missed digs, missed little things that we usually do really well. It was all mental in my mind. We didn’t have a championship mentality today.”
On the success of Stanford’s Kathryn Plummer…
“She’ll do that to just about every team she plays. She’s a future Olympian, no doubt.
She’s got the physicality, the smarts, the composure, the experience. She’s a beach champion as well. She’s one of the best college players I’ve ever seen. She was a big reason that they won, there’s no question, but I think we did not compete against them today. We did not come to compete hard and that’s the biggest disappointment.”
On getting the chance to host both No. 1 Stanford and No. 5 Penn State this weekend…
“I’m still really, really happy that we got this opportunity. It gives us such great feedback on our team in the second week of our season. I don’t think we could have found out this much about our team if we had played not as strong teams. I’m really upset right now with the lack of being prepared by some players, but I’m really happy overall with our youth, with our team doing their best over the weekend to put themselves out there against some really tough teams. I’m hopeful and I know that this team will learn from it. They’re not happy about it either at all, and I know that the right changes will be made.”
SENIOR LIBERO AMY NETTLES
On differences between today and yesterday’s matches…
“Today we didn’t execute like we should have. Physically, we weren’t tired. It’s just mental. Volleyball is a mental game.”
On feelings about playing these teams and where the team stands after this weekend…
“Obviously it’s disappointing to lose, but last night we were right there, neck and neck in five sets. We didn’t come out with a win, and we’re looking forward to meeting them again. We didn’t lose any confidence after last night. This morning was disappointing, but it’s encouraging because we didn’t play well and we were right there. The score was 20-25 the second set. We’re really encouraged and our confidence isn’t shaken. We’re ready to get in the gym on Tuesday and work our butts off.”