AUSTIN, Texas-The Texas A&M Aggies finished 2016 with a 3-0 defeat to the SMU Mustangs in the first round of the NCAA Championship at Gregory Gym. The Mustangs completed the sweep with scores of 25-23, 25-23, and 25-18.
Making their sixth consecutive appearance and 24th NCAA championship appearance, the Aggies finished the season with a 21-9 record.
Sophomore blocker Kaitlyn Blake led the Aggies ‘ strike with a .500% strikes and 11 pass aways. Middle main blocker Jazzmin Babers posted a. 304% offense and 11 disposals, and freshman outside hitter Hollann Hans scored a team-high 13 disposals while batting.250. Young Orange passer Stephanie Aiple finished the match with 38 assists and nine digs.
SMU (26-7) started the first set on a 7-3 run with knockouts from four different players. After swapping points to 9-5, The Mustangs extended the lead to 13-5 after a few Aggies offense errors. Texas A & M, which outperforms the Mustangs .244 to go .224 in the frame, went on a 6-1 run to stabilize the game and cut SMU’s lead to 14-13. The spurt featured two disposals from juniors Kiara McGee and Ashlie Reasor.
The Mustangs withdrew the advantage to five points at 18-13 with a Janelle Giordano finishs-frame drive. The teams traded the next four points to give SMU a 20-15 lead. The Aggies continued on a 5-1 run with two eliminations from Babers and one from Hans and Blake to come within one run at 21-20. The Mustangs extended the lead to 24-21 as Blake turned down a set Ball with two disposals before Lauren Mills deployed the final finish of the stanza for SMU.
The second set was fiercely fought, with the largest margin for both teams being three points. The teams played on a level keel for the first 18 points with the score tied nine times before SMU went on a 3-0 run to take a 12-9 lead. Babers and Blake each had two disposals if the Aggies tied the game at 14-14, and reden planted a peak if the Browns and Whites posted a 15-14 margin.
The score was tied six more times in the second set en route to a 22-22 score. At times of general decline, small and medium-sized enterprises, outperforming A & M, .239 to go .204 in the set, took advantage of two Texas A&M rude fouls to take a 24-22 lead. Hans held back a SetPoint with a finish before Mills ‘ successful strike gave SMU the set, 25-23. The third set was again a shaky affair at first, with the teams playing to a nine-way tie en route to a 10-10 score. The Mustangs broke away with a 7-1 run with two eliminations each by Kristen Stehling and Katie Hegarty.
The Aggies, who were outnumbered,.289 are finished .075, made a point with two disposals from Hans after a 4-0 point to close the lead at 17-15. This would be the last time the brown and white would be two points behind the Mustangs and SMU’s Giordano finished the game with a finish.
In her final game, Babers passed Amy Cumings (1987-90) for 12th place on Texas A&M’s career playoff list with 1,139. Junior libero Amy Nettles, who led the Aggies with 18 digs, passed Kelsey Black (2008-11) for 15th place on the career dig list with 1113.
Blake led A & M with four blocks, including three assists to give him 145 for the season, tying for the third most in a season in the program’s history and only nine shy of the all-time record
In addition to Babers, the all-time career leader in total blocks and block assists, the game was also the last for senior Outside hitter Emily Hardesty, defensive specialists Victoria Arenas and Katelyn Labhart and passer Kaysie Shebeneck.