COLLEGE STATION – The Sam Houston State Bearkats could not overcome Texas A&M in the Aggies season opener on Friday night at Reed Arena, dropping a 3-0 decision in the finale of the first day of the Texas A&M Invitational.
Brooke White led the Kats (0-2) for the second straight match with 10 kills on 26 swings, and setter Jaclyn Ward added 24 assists and a team-high four blocks; however, Texas A&M (1-0) got a match-high 14 kills from Kiara McGee and hit .257 for the match to open their year with a victory in front of their home crowd.
Jordyn Vaughn added nine kills while Madison Wallace had five and Taylor Cunningham had four kills and a block.
The Kats will close out the Texas A&M Invitational on Saturday morning when they take on VCU. First serve against the Rams is set for 10 a.m.
The Aggies opened up with five of the first six points of the set and never trailed in taking a 1-0 lead in the match. White picked up where she left off against Texas State with five kills in the set, but Texas A&M got six scores from McGee and hit .378 in the set. Sam Houston trailed by as much as eight at 18-10, but clawed back with three straight points, including one on a tandem block from Ward and Courtney Littlefield. An ace got the Aggies close to a set win, but Cunningham scored to spark a 4-1 Bearkat run, drawing them within 23-20 before kills from Conner and Makena Patterson closed it out for Texas A&M.
Texas A&M used three straight blocks to help open up a 7-2 lead, holding the Bearkats to just .051 hitting in the second set to go up 2-0. Hollann Hans was the go-to hitter for the Aggies in the second set with five kills, nullifying the six combined scores from Vaughn and White. Sam Houston got a Cunningham’s fourth kill of the match to pull within 11-8, but the Aggies scored five of the next seven points to go back up 16-10. The lead would grow to as much as seven for A&M, with the Kats fighting off a set point with a kill from Vaughn before a service error finished off the set.
Vaughn delivered four kills and the Kats made a late run at the Aggies, cutting a late seven-point lead down to just one before Texas A&M managed to finish off the sweep. Sam Houston hit just .086 for the set, but had a block and a pair of service aces to aid their cause against an Aggie offense that connected for kills on 14 of their 32 swings. Texas A&M used a 4-1 spurt to open up a 9-4 lead and eventually ballooned it to 19-12 later in the set with another stretch of scoring four out of five points. But Sam Houston ran off the next three scores, getting two aces from Ward in the process, and then drew to 23-22 on a kill from Madison Wallace and a pair of Aggie errors. But that was as close as they would get as Texas A&M responded with a kill from Camille Conner before ending it on an ace from Hollann.