COLLEGE STATION, Texas - Texas A&M concluded its rigorous preconference schedule with a 25-20, 25-18, 25-15 loss to No. 6 Texas in front of 3,124 tonight at Reed Arena.
It was the Aggies' fourth time in the last five matches to face a team ranked in the top six, and it was the first time A&M played host to its former conference rival since moving to the Southeastern Conference in 2012.
Texas (7-2), which entered the week ranked No. 4 in the nation in blocks per set and No. 7 in opponent hitting percentage, lived up to its rankings, outhitting A&M, .307 to .089, as the Aggies (3-4) gave up a season-high 13 blocks while recording a season-low two team blocks.
There were seven ties and three lead changes in the opening set. The Aggies overcame a 9-6 deficit, using a 5-1 run to take an 11-10 lead. A&M equaled its largest lead at 14-12 before Texas went on a 9-2 surge to go up, 21-16. The Aggies, who were outhit, .200 to .061, in the set, got within 22-19 on back-to-back kills by Kiara McGee and Samantha Sanders but were unable to get any closer before Yaazie Bedart-Ghani clinched the set for the Longhorns with a kill.
The Longhorns jumped out to a 10-4 lead in the second set. Texas, which outhit A&M, .333 to .167 in the set, went on to equal its largest lead at 20-12 before Aggie setter Camille Conner won a joust at the net and outside hitter Hollann Hans followed with an ace. The Aggies then won a long rally, with defensive specialist Amy Houser making several play-saving digs that eventually led to a kill by outside hitter Kiara McGee. A&M won its fourth consecutive point on a hitting error by the Longhorns to get within 20-16.
A kill by Ebony Nwanebu ended the Aggies' longest scoring rally of the match, but Hans recorded a kill from the back row to put A&M back within 21-17. Texas, however, scored three unanswered points to go up, 24-17. Serving for the set, Cat McCoy served long to keep the Aggies alive, but Nwanebu came back with a kill down the line on the ensuing play to close out the set and give Texas a 2-0 lead in the match.
A&M held a lead early in the third set until Texas went on a 3-0 run to pull ahead, 13-11, giving the Longhorns their first lead since 2-1. Hans and freshman middle blocker Makena Patterson had kills that kept A&M within 13-12 and 14-13, respectively, before Texas scored seven unanswered points to go up, 21-13. A kill by Conner ended the Longhorns' rally, but the Aggies were unable to overcome the deficit. Texas, which outhit A&M, .429 to .051 and tallied five blocks in the stanza, secured the sweep on a kill by Nwanebu.
Hans took match-high honors in kills with 11, and Conner finished with 28 assists. Libero Amy Nettles and Houser each posted double-figure digs with 13 and 11, respectively.
Micaya White led the Longhorns with 10 kills while hitting .409, and McCoy finished with a match-high 18 digs. Chiaka Ogbogu had a match-high six blocks.
A&M opens SEC play at LSU on Friday, Sept. 22. First serve is at 7 p.m. at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. The Aggies open their SEC home slate on Sunday, Sept. 24 as they host defending SEC co-champion Missouri at 12 p.m. at Reed Arena.