SEC Volleyball Notebook: Thursday, December 5 > SEC > NEWS
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    SEC Volleyball Notebook: Thursday, December 5

    Texas A&M 3, UTSA 0
    Florida 3, Jacksonville 0
    Oklahoma 3, Alabama 1


    Aggies Sweep UTSA, 3-0, in NCAA First Round

    AUSTIN, Texas -- The Texas A&M Aggies recorded a 3-0 sweep of the UTSA Roadrunners in NCAA Division I Women’s Volleyball Championship First Round action at Gregory Gym on Thursday evening.

    Keyed by sophomore outside hitter Sierra Patrick and redshirt freshman middle blocker Jazzmin Babers, the Aggies won the three sets by scores of 26-24, 25-21, 25-18 to improve to 19-11 on the season. With the win, the Aggies notched their eighth victory in the last nine matches.

    Patrick recorded a career-high seven blocks and led the Maroon and White with a .444 hitting percentage and 15 kills. Babers added seven blocks, 10 kills and a .368 hitting percentage. Senior Allie Sawatzky notched 38 assists, eight digs and five kills, and senior libero Heather Reynolds took team-high honors in digs with 14.

    Texas A&M rebounded from a late UTSA charge, fighting off a set point, to take the first set, 26-24. The Roadrunners did not claim a lead in the initial set, until 18-17. UTSA eventually stretched the lead to 22-20, before A&M closed out the set on a 6-2 run, closing out the frame on an attack error by the ‘Runners Dajana Boskovic. The Aggies hit .295 and tallied two blocks in the first set. Babers led the first-set assault, hitting .750 with seven kills. Patrick hit .625 with six kills.

    The Aggies charged out to a 4-0 lead in the first set behind a pair of kills and an assist by Babers. The Roadrunners pecked away at the lead to close the gap to 6-5, before the Aggies created separation again with a 7-3 run to take a 13-8 lead. The surge was started by back-to-back kills by Shelby Sullivan and included kills by Sawatzky, Angela Lowak and Babers.

    The Roadrunners clawed their way back into the first set, knotting the match for the first time at 16-16 and taking their first lead at 18-17. UTSA held two-point leads at 21-19 and 22-20 and served for the match at 24-23. A&M scored three straight points coming out of a timeout, with a kill by Patrick, a block assist by Emily Hardesty and Sullivan and the attack error by UTSA’s Boskovic on set point.

    Texas A&M’s momentum did not carry over to the second set as the Roadrunners raced out to a 13-9 lead, but the Aggies persevered, taking the set 25-21. The Maroon and White hit .256 in the set with three blocks and two service aces. Patrick was the top swinger in the set with six kills and a .667 hitting percentage.

    Trailing 13-9, A&M went on a 6-0 run to claim a 15-13 advantage. The streak started with an attack error by UTSA’s McKenzie Adams, the NCAA national leader in kills per set. Patrick, Babers and Lowak added three straight kills, and two consecutive block assists by Babers and Patrick capped the rally.

    UTSA knotted the second set at 15-15, but a 6-2 run by the Aggies, including three kills by Patrick and two by Hardesty, gave A&M a 21-17 lead and control of the set. The second set also ended with an attack error by the Roadrunners’ Boskovic.

    The third set started out in see-saw fashion, with seven ties on the first 14 points, before a 7-0 string dropped the anvil on the Roadrunners, giving A&M a 14-7 edge. The sequence featured three block assists by Babers and Patrick. UTSA would draw no closer than four points for the rest of the set, at 17-13 and 20-16, and the match ended on a ball handling error by the Roadrunners’ Brandy Huskey.

    With the win, Texas A&M improved to 25-20 all-time in the NCAA Championship, including 23-16 under head coach Laurie Corbelli. The Aggies won their fourth consecutive NCAA Championship First Round match.

    Texas A&M, winners of eight of their last nine matches, will play either Texas or Texas State at 7 pm on Friday evening at Gregory Gym.

    No. 5 Seed Florida Volleyball Advances to NCAA Second Round, Will Clash with FSU Friday, 7 p.m.

    GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- Senior middle blocker Chloe Mann put on the best postseason performance of her Gator career thus far, registering a .700 clip with 15 kills and two blocks as the No. 5 seed University of Florida volleyball team swept Jacksonville University (25-19, 25-15, 25-16) in NCAA First Round action at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center Thursday to set up a Florida-Florida State Showdown Friday at 7 p.m.

    As a squad, the Gators turned in a .476 hitting efficiency – their second-best clip in NCAA Tournament history – behind double-digit kills from Mann (15) and sophomore outside hitter Živa Recek (11).

    The Gators will meet the Seminoles – who swept Georgia Southern Thursday – in a Sunshine State Second Round Showdown for rights to a trip to the Sweet 16 in Champaign, Ill. Dec. 13 & 14.

    Alabama Volleyball Falls in First Round of NCAA Tournament to Oklahoma

    STANFORD, Calif. -- In the opening round of the 2013 NCAA Women’s Volleyball Tournament, Alabama suffered at 3-1 (25-20, 19-25, 19-25, 23-25) loss to the Oklahoma Sooners on Thursday night from Maples Pavilion. With the loss, the Crimson Tide completed the season with a 24-9 overall record. Oklahoma (24-7) will play the winner of the Stanford versus Hampton match tomorrow night at 9 p.m. CT.

    “We came out and approached things very aggressive tonight and hit for a very high percentage in the opening set,” head coach Ed Allen said. “What we experienced in this match is what we’ve seen all season long, we have to be better defensively and become a better blocking team. We had four blocks in the match, that’s one block per set, we should have players that average that individually. That has been an achilles for us, particularly over the past two years. We just have to get better at that.”

    Laura Steiner paced the Tide with 16 kills, as the sophomore outside hitter connected for a .238 hitting percentage, committing seven errors on 37 attempts. Joining Steiner in double figures was Krystal Rivers with 14 kills and Brittany Thomas with 11. Rivers posted a .357 hitting percentage in the match and Thomas notched her ninth double-double of the season with 10 digs.

    “Steiner has one of the livest arms and as she continues to develop as a volleyball player and adds more shots, she’s going to be a good outside hitter for us,” Allen said. “Krystal Rivers’ best days are still ahead, and as we continue to bring in more players around her, she’s going to be in a better place to compete in December.”

    In its first NCAA tournament match since 2007, the Tide was out-hit .238 to .351, as the Sooners posted 18 blocks, compared to four by Alabama. The Tide had a .577 hitting percentage in the opening set, before the Sooners defense clamped down to limit Alabama to a .000 mark in the second, a .219 percentage in the third and a .205 mark in the final set. OU hit over .300 in three of the four sets, including a .455 mark in the third.

    “They had good size at the net and did a good job extending over the net to get to our attack,” said Rivers. “We have to be better offensively, in terms of hitting off the block and utilizing it to our advantage. But credit them because they put up a good block tonight.”

    Alabama got a team-high 12 digs from Kryssi Daniels, Bria Green added six digs and Sierra Wilson finished the season with 52 assists, two kills, four digs and a block against the Sooners.

    Oklahoma had four players reach double figures in kills and was paced by Sallie McLaurin’s match-high 19. McLaurin also led the Sooners’ defense, collecting nine total blocks, including two solos and seven assisted. Keila Rodriguez added 14 kills, Kierra Holst had 13 and Madison Ward chipped in with 10. Setter Julia Doyle had 49 assists to go along with three kills, five digs and a match-high 10 total blocks (1 solo, 9 assisted). Rodriguez had a double-double after adding a match-high 13 digs.

    With the Tide leading 6-5 in the opening set, Bama went on a 4-2 run to open a 10-7 lead following a kill by Thomas. The Tide extended their lead to seven, 20-13, following a kill by Rivers and an ace by McQuaid. Steiner recorded the final two kills of the first set for Alabama, as the Tide won the opening set 25-20.

    “In the first set we competed hard and executed well and played our game,” Rivers said. “Things fell off in the middle sets, but we just continued to fight in the fourth set. It’s disappointing to lose, but we fought hard to the end.”

    The Sooners answered by winning the second set 25-19 to even the match, as Oklahoma posted a .375 hitting percentage in the set. With the score tied 14-14, Oklahoma went on a 4-0 run to open an 18-14 lead. Alabama closed the deficit to 18-16, but the Sooners held on and scored the last three points to win the set by six.

    Oklahoma came out of the locker room and scored the first five points of the third set, a deficit the Tide could not overcome. Alabama got within three (20-17) following an ace by Daniels, but Oklahoma didn’t allow the Tide to get any closer, closing out the set with 5-2 run for a 25-19 victory.

    In the fourth set, neither team held more than a two-point advantage. Oklahoma held an 8-6 lead after a kill by Holst, but the Tide answered with an 8-4 run to open a 14-12 lead following a kill by Wilson. A 3-0 run by the Sooners put the Tide behind by one then Alabama used a 5-2 spurt to hold a 19-17 lead. Following an Oklahoma timeout, the Sooners scored back-to-back points to even the set at 19-19. After trading points, UA gave up the advantage following a block by OU’s Doyle and Micaela Spann for a 23-22 Sooners lead. Rivers answered with a kill, but the Sooners closed the match with kills by Rodriguez and Holst to win the fourth set 25-23, ending Alabama’s season with a 3-1 loss.

    “This was a team that played hard all season long and they played hard in this match,” Allen added. “Playing hard is one piece and then playing smart and playing together for 25 points is something we have to get better at doing. This is a team that plays incredibly well for 22 points per set, but we have to do better at closing out sets.”

    Get all the latest information on the team by following AlabamaVBall on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. General athletic news can also be found at UA_Athletics on Twitter and Instagram and AlabamaAthletics on Facebook.