Florida travels to Oxford, Miss to take on the Ole Miss Rebels on Sunday afternoon. First serve is set for 2:30 p.m. ET on ESPN 850/900 with Cory Stephens on the call.
AUBURN, Ala. – Texas A&M won its fifth consecutive match and halted Auburn’s four-match win streak, defeating the Tigers, 25-21, 26-24, 22-25, 25-23 tonight at the Student Activities Center.
A&M, which leads the Southeastern Conference Western Division with a 12-4 mark, improves to 20-5 overall, marking the 14th time in head coach Laurie Corbelli’s 20-year A&M tenure the Aggies have reached the 20-win milestone.
A&M senior opposite Alisia Kastmo tied for match-high honors with 17 kills and completed a double-double by adding 11 digs to lead A&M to the victory. Senior outside hitter Tori Mellinger (13 kills, 14 digs) and junior setter Allie Sawatzky (41 assists, 10 digs), the reigning SEC Offensive Player of the Week, also posted double-doubles as A&M made late comebacks in the second and fourth sets to win the match.
There were eight ties early in the opening set before A&M scored three unanswered points to take a 13-10 lead. The Aggies, led by Mellinger’s six kills, led the rest of the set, although Auburn got within 22-20 after consecutive A&M attack errors. Mellinger then got a kill and followed with an ace to put the Aggies at set point, 24-20. The Tigers staved off one set point, tipping the ball in for a kill, but Stephanie Minnerly and Sierra Patrick blocked Auburn’s next attack attempt to clinch the winning point.
Auburn had the hot hand early in the second set, but the Maroon and White would be on top at the end. The Tigers used a 7-0 run to break away from a 1-1 tie and built their biggest lead at 8-1. The Aggies would claw their way back, getting within a point at 19-18 following a back-row kill by Kastmo and an ace by Sawatzky. A&M was unable to take the lead as the Tigers later used a 4-1 run to be serving for the set at 24-20. Kastmo came through with a kill to keep the Aggies alive, and Auburn couldn’t find the court on the next three plays, hitting long, hitting wide and hitting into a block by Sawatzky and Lindsey Miller, which tied the set at 24-24. Miller then gave the Aggies their first lead of the frame with a kill, and Kastmo closed out the comeback with a set-winning ace.
The roles were somewhat reversed in the third set as A&M jumped out to an 8-1 advantage but was unable to hold the lead as Auburn came back to win the set. The Tigers had cut the margin to 14-12 and then scored five unanswered points to take their first lead. Auburn went on to build its largest lead at 21-17, but a kill by Miller on the slide attack and a kill by Mellinger put A&M within 21-19. Auburn countered with a kill and an ace to go up 23-19 and later was at set point, 24-20, equaling its largest lead. The Tigers then served into the net and hit wide on the following two plays to put the Aggies within 24-22 before Camila Jersonsky put down her sixth kill of the stanza to close out the win for the Tigers and prevent another late A&M comeback win.
There were 12 ties and four lead changes in the fourth set. The Tigers used a 5-1 fun to equal their largest lead at 14-11 before a kill by Kastmo started a three-point run for the Aggies, tying the score at 14. A&M tied the score again at 15-15 on another Kastmo kill, but Auburn killed an A&M overpass and then got a huge stuff block to put the Tigers up, 17-15. Kastmo then posted one of her seven kills in the set, and libero Megan Pendergast, who led all players with 16 digs, strategically set the ball over to a wide open corner in the Auburn backcourt for a kill to knot the score at 17-17.
Miller and Sawatzky gave the Aggies the lead on the next play with a block. A&M continued to build on its lead, stretching its run to seven consecutive points for a 22-17 advantage. But then the Tigers rallied, scoring five unanswered points to tie the score at 22-22. Miller posted a kill, but A&M hit long on the next play to keep the set tied at 23-23. Mellinger then got a kill from the right side to put the Aggies at set point. Auburn, which was outhit in the match, .205 to .188, but led the Aggies in kills, 61-54, hit long on the final play, giving A&M the win.
Jersonsky led the Tigers with 17 kills. Sarah Bullock and Katherine Culwell, who were both teammates with Mellinger on the Skyline Juniors team that took second at the 2008 USA Volleyball Junior National Championships, finished with 13 and 12 kills, respectively.
A&M, which improved to 8-1 in away matches, finished with 11 blocks, a season high in a four-set match, as Sawatzky tied her career high with five block assists and Minnerly and Miller also had five block assists apiece. A&M also finished with seven aces, including three by Sawatzky.
The Aggies continue their road swing as they take on Georgia for the first time as SEC foes on Sunday in Athens. The match against the Bulldogs begins at 1 p.m. (CT) and will be televised by Comcast/Cox.
Leak Leads LSU Past Georgia
ATHENS, Ga. - Cati Leak banged home a career-high 16 kills on a career-best .484 hitting percentage to lift the LSU volleyball team to a hard-fought 3-1 victory over Georgia [28-30, 25-17, 28-26, 25-21] Friday at the Ramsey Center.
For Leak, she tacked on 12 digs and added five blocks to claim her first double-double since the opening weekend of the season.
"What a breakout performance from Cati Leak," head coach Fran Flory said. "Truly, she was the difference maker in the match. We worked hard in practice during the week of finding her a different offensive rhythm and tempo with Malorie Pardo. I'm happy that extra hard work paid off for both of them during tonight's match. I also thought Malorie did a fantastic job of creating and making the right choices for our offense."
The Tigers (12-13, 8-8 SEC) extended their season's best winning streak to three matches on the opening leg of a four-match road swing, while Georgia (13-12, 7-8 SEC) was handed its fourth consecutive loss.
A key to the victory was LSU's 19-11 blocking edge. The 19 blocks for the Tigers are a season-high fueled by Marissa Maas' career-best nine stuffs. She also matched a season watermark with five kills.
Malorie Pardo dished out 57 assists and registered 17 digs en route to her SEC-leading 11th double dip during conference action. She sparked a quartet of hitters to double figure kills for the first time on the season.
Madie Jones connected for a team-leading 18 kills and has provided double digit spikes in all 12 of LSU's victories on the season. The 18 spikes for Jones enabled her to eclipse Meagan Davis (1998-2001) for 17th place on the program's all-time kills list. She also totaled six blocks, one away from a career-high.
Helen Boyle came away with 14 kills, 13 digs and three blocks whereas Desiree Elliott belted 12 kills on a .308 hitting clip to go along with six blocks.
LSU's back row notched another stellar effort sparked by Meghan Mannari's 28 digs. It marked the sixth time in her last eight outings that the senior libero has surpassed the 20-dig plateau. Sam Delahoussaye also corralled nine scoops for the Tigers.
"Absolutely, a great performance by our entire team and a great leadership effort from our seniors," Flory said. "We've been looking for that type of poise and composure all season. We've talked about it a lot, but this was the first time that we were able to have it throughout an entire match. I'm proud of our players for making big plays in critical situations."
Georgia was led by Tirah Le'au, who popped 19 kills. Kaylee Kehoe [30 assists, 10 digs] and Brittany Northcutt [14 kills, 13 digs] also picked up double-doubles. Allison Summers collected a match-leading 31 digs for the Bulldogs.
LSU continues its four-match road swing with its first trip in program history to Missouri. Sunday's first serve is set for 1:30 p.m. from the Hearnes Center. Live stats and a free live audio webcast is available inside the Geaux Zone at LSUsports.net/live.