For just the second time in their last 35 SEC games, the Kentucky Volleyball (15-6, 8-2) team suffered a loss, this time against the Texas A&M Aggies (15-5, 7-3). The Aggies won the match 3-1, winning the first two sets 25-18 and 25-21 then denying a Kentucky comeback after the Cats’ won the third set 25-18 by finishing them off in the fourth 25-20.
Despite having a higher hitting percentage than the Aggies, .30.3 percent to 29.1 percent, the Cats didn't control Texas A&M's pace. The Aggies had a season high in aces with nine, which really kept control of the game in their hands.
“They won the serving game, which was pretty obvious if you were in the building,” UK head coach Craig Skinner said after the loss. “They created a lot of points with their serve and we didn’t.”
Aggie outside hitter Hollann Hans, who is first all-time at Texas A&M in career kills, total attempts, aces and points, help kept the Aggies' momentum going. She had tied her season high in aces with four on the night and added a game high 19 kills.
Along with Hans’ exceptional play, the Aggies were able to keep the ball away from Kentucky libero Gabby Curry, who had, up until Friday night, double-digit digs in every game this season except one. She also has the second-most digs among all SEC players. But Curry only had eight digs on the night - her second lowest total of the season in that category.
“She [Curry] didn’t have many opportunities,” Coach Skinner said. “Their attackers hit more seam-line which is not where she is and she had some opportunities that she just didn’t convert.”
The Cats have struggled with some inconsistencies this season. Even with big wins like against Cal Poly and Florida, they have dealt with setbacks like tonight. With that said, Coach Skinner believes the issue was not effort unlike past losses this season.
“I was actually pleased with our effort today,” Skinner said. “The progress we made in practice yesterday was really good and the preparation today was good, we just didn’t win the match.”
Kentucky’s chances for another SEC title took a hit tonight, but they look to get back on track on Sunday against the 8-13 Arkansas Razorbacks. The game will be back at Memorial Coliseum at 1:30. SEC Network Plus will have the broadcast.