DENTON, Texas - In a back-and-forth slugfest between top 20 teams, No. 15 Ohio State held off No. 16 Texas A&M, 21-25, 32-30, 21-25, 25-18, 15-13, at the North Texas Challenge at the Mean Green Volleyball Center.
Texas A&M led in kills, 65-61 with four Aggies posting double-figure kills. Junior outside hitter Kiara McGee had a team-high 17 kills, and senior outside hitter Emily Hardesty pitched in 14. Junior opposite hitter Ashlie Reasor contributed 11 kills, and junior middle blocker Kaitlyn Blake added 10 while hitting .471 in the loss.
As a team, the Aggies outhit the Buckeyes, .278 to .192, with junior setter Stephanie Aiple dishing out 50 assists to give her 2,346 for her career, moving her into 10th place in the Texas A&M career records.
Blake, Aiple and senior middle blocker Jazzmin Babers tallied six blocks apiece as Texas A&M outblocked Ohio State, 12.5 to 11, and junior libero Amy Nettles had 10 digs to help lead the Aggies to a 45-44 advantage in team digs.
The Aggies, however, were unable to stop Buckeye All-American middle blocker Taylor Sandbothe, who carried her team to the victory with 26 kills while hitting at a .605 clip. Audra Appold and Luisa Schirmer had 13 and 11 kills, respectively, but both hit under .200 for the match.
Another notable difference was at the service line, where Sandbothe had three of Ohio State's 10 aces. The Aggies managed only three aces and also committed 13 service errors while the Buckeyes had 12 service errors. Ohio State remained undefeated on the season at 3-0 to capture the tournament title.
The Aggies, who went 7-0 in five-set matches in 2015 and also had won 15 consecutive regular season matches dating to last year, dropped to 1-1. It was their first regular-season setback since a 3-0 loss at then-No. 17 Florida on Oct. 9, 2015. The Aggies conclude the North Texas Challenge tonight at 6:30 p.m. as they face the host Mean Green.
Texas A&M returns to the road again next week as the Aggies compete in the Puerto Rico Classico. A&M will face No. 17 Florida State on Thursday, No. 3 Minnesota on Friday and Virginia Tech on Saturday.