The Ole Miss volleyball team fell to Texas A&M 1-3 (25-21, 15-25, 22-25, 21-25) on the road yesterday in its only game of the weekend.
In the first set, Texas A&M jumped out to an early 5-1 lead, but Ole Miss battled back into the match with a long 17-8 run to take an 18-13 advantage. The Aggies did not roll over, however, and managed to fight their way back into the set, eventually cutting the lead to just two points at 23-21. However, after an Ole Miss timeout, the Rebels closed it out with back-to-back kills from junior outside hitter Emily Stroup, who scored the final four points for the Rebs in the set.
Stroup recorded 10 kills in the set, building on her last performance during which she set a program record with 32 kills in five sets against LSU. Freshman middle blocker Aubrey Sultemeier had one kill and two blocks in the set. Sophomore setter Lauren Bars contributed 10 assists and one block as well.
The second looked to be a back-and-forth affair, with the two teams battling to a 12-12 draw. Texas A&M then buckled down with a 13-3 run to close out the set 25-15. The Aggies recorded kills on 11 of their last 15 points, and had two service aces along the way. It was a dominant response after dropping the first set at home, and appeared to change the complexion of the match.
Bars recorded two kills, four assists and a block in the set. Stroup had just one kill in the set with limited opportunities, and also committed one attack error and one service error. Sultemeier recorded a kill and a block in the set.
In the third set, Texas A&M looked as if they would dominate like it did in the second set, as after the Rebels jumped out to an 8-5 lead the Aggies responded by scoring 17 of the next 26 points, taking a five point lead at 22-17. Ole Miss narrowed the gap with a 4-0 run to make it 22-21 and forced a Texas A&M timeout. The Aggies responded with a short 3-1 run to end the set and take a 2-1 advantage in the match.
Stroup recorded five kills and one assist in the set. Sultemeier had one kill and two blocks. Bars had two kills and 11 assists in the set. Senior outside hitter Caitlin Wernentin contributed one kill and two assists, and sophomore outside hitter Leah Mulkey had four kills and one block.
Texas A&M controlled the fourth set almost from the outset, quickly erasing a 5-2 Ole Miss lead and never looking back. The Aggies had runs of 6-0, 5-1 and 4-2 which propelled them to the finish line with a 25-21 victory in the set, closing out the match 3-1.
Stroup finished with 22 kills on a .286 hitting percentage, also recording seven digs, two total blocks, one assist and one ace. Bars finished with seven kills on a .667 clip, 36 assists, eight digs and two total blocks. Sultemeier had six kills and six blocks and Senior libero Caroline Adams finished with 12 digs and three assists.
With just three games remaining in the season, the Rebels are currently sitting at 13-16 on the season and have an abysmal 3-12 record in conference play. They are tied with Auburn for 11th in the SEC and are underdogs in each of their remaining games. Auburn and last-place Mississippi State will face off on Nov. 21 in a match that could decide who will finish last in the SEC. The Rebels can still finish anywhere between 10th and last, and will likely need to pick up one more win to ensure that they do not fall to the bottom of the standings.