COLLEGE STATION, Texas -- After playing its first 10 matches on the road, No. 16 Texas A&M finally made its home debut, but No. 6 Wisconsin spoiled the Aggies' homecoming with a 25-16, 25-17, 25-22 victory in front of 1,655 at Reed Arena.
Texas A&M, facing a top-16 ranked opponent for the fifth time, including a second consecutive match-up against a top-10 team to conclude the preconference portion of the schedule, falls to 6-5 after dropping its home opener for the first time since 1989.
Wisconsin improves to 7-1 behind an impressive performance by freshman outside hitter Molly Haggerty, who hit .641 with 27 kills, the most kills by an A&M opposing player this season.
Haggerty set the tone early, getting three kills during a 5-0 Badger run to start the match. The Aggies chipped away at the deficit and got within 8-7 following a kill by sophomore middle blocker Kaitlyn Blake, but Texas A&M was unable to close the gap.
Wisconsin outhit A&M, .438 to .167, in the set to pull away. The Badgers were up 19-14 and closed out the frame on a 6-2 run with Haggerty posting her ninth kill to end the set.
Trailing 3-2 in the second set, Texas A&M freshman Hollann Hans caught fire, posting five kills during a 7-1 run to put the Aggies ahead, 10-5. It would be A&M's largest lead of the match before Wisconsin stormed back with Haggerty getting four kills during a 5-0 run that gave the Badgers a 16-13 lead. The Aggies got within 18-16 following Hans' sixth kill of the frame, but Wisconsin once again reeled off five unanswered points, posting three blocks during the run that put the Badgers up, 23-16. Hans' seventh kill of the set ended the Badger rally, but Haggerty countered with a kill, and Kelli Bates served an ace to close out the set to give Wisconsin a 2-0 lead in the match.
Texas A&M held a narrow 6-4 lead in the third set before Wisconsin went on a 9-2 run to pull ahead, 13-8. Blake and junior opposite hitter Ashlie Reasor then propelled a 5-0 Aggie run, teaming for two blocks and each posting a kill during the rally that brought the Aggies back into a tie, 13-13. Texas A&M also tied the score at 15-all on a kill by Reasor and took the lead at 16-15 when the Badgers were whistled for reaching over the net and contacting the ball on A&M's side. The Aggies' lead was short lived, however, as Wisconsin came back with three consecutive kills.
Texas A&M managed to tie the score at 18-18 on a Hans kill and later tied the score for the ninth and final time at 21-21 following a huge block by Blake and junior setter Stephanie Aiple. The Aggies, however, were unable to regain the lead as the Badgers went on a 4-1 run to close out the set and complete the sweep.
As a team, Wisconsin outhit Texas A&M, .315 to .178, for the match, posting 47 kills to A&M's 35. The Badgers also led the Aggies in blocks, 11-5.
Hans posted her second consecutive double-double with a team-high and career-high 13 kills and 10 digs. Sophomore defensive specialist Amy Houser led the Aggies in digs with a personal-best 11, and Blake led in blocks with four.
The defending Southeastern Conference champion Aggies open conference play against Alabama on Friday, Sept. 23 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama and host Auburn at Reed Arena in their SEC home opener on Sunday, Sept. 25.
TEXAS A&M HEAD COACH LAURIE CORBELLI
On Wisconsin's setter Lauren Carlini...
"She's really, really good. They know exactly what they are going to get. In fact, not just the setter, it seemed to me that all their second balls... [were] put it in a position where their attackers could get a swing. Not many teams are good at that. We are not very good at that. We just learned that is something we really need to get a lot better at."
On Wisconsin's game...
"They were really sharp today. I haven't seen them play like that on video yet. They didn't miss a beat. Their hitters didn't make unforced errors, 27 kills for a freshman. We never made one adjustment on her. She did a fantastic job and we did a really poor job."
On moving forward...
"I think Hollann Hans, as a freshman to out-score any of our returners by double, that's really positive. She's a phenomenal competitor. She's composed. She had a tough first set, first time to play at Reed Arena and being an Aggie at her home court. Okay, that's fine; that's going to happen, but she refocused and got herself out there and really did some beautiful things..."
TEXAS A&M JUNIOR SETTER STEPHANIE AIPLE
On playing ranked teams...
"It's always good to get a win off of a ranked team, and seeing that we aren't strikes reality with us. We aren't doing what we need to do in practice. We aren't doing what we need to do off the court. It's a serious change that the team needs to make."
On Hollann Hans...
"She's doing amazing as a freshman. She's fearless and has a great mindset. If she makes an error she moves on. She doesn't get down on herself. She moves on to the next play, and I think upperclassmen can even learn from that. You can see the fight in her eyes. I can say 'Hans I'm giving you this ball,' and she'll say, 'okay give me this ball.' I think Hollann is doing an amazing job."
On the takeaway from today's game...
"We can't really take much away from this game except realizing that something has to change. We put this game in the past and it's a whole new season coming up. It's definitely a learning experience, but we are ready for SECs. Last year we had a rough preseason as well, but we did a good job of putting the preseason in the past, so I think we just have to look at it and be like it's just preseason. Yes, it's not what we wanted, but we can't think about that stuff because it's not going to make us any better in the future. We will come into the next practice and have a different mindset for SECs."
TEXAS A&M FRESHMAN OUTSIDE HITTER HOLLANN HANS
On playing at Reed Arena for the first time...
"It was awesome. I've dreamed of this forever and finally getting to play here was an awesome feeling. I loved it. I always have pregame nerves and it took me awhile to get all of the nerves out, especially playing in front of a home crowd, but it was good."
On her play...
"I was happy with it. I could have done things a little differently with my defense and blocking. I have a lot of things to work on, but other than that I tried my best, so that's all that matters."
On gaining confidence from Coach Laurie Corbelli and setter Stephanie Aiple...
"It really helps build my confidence with (Aiple) as a setter, because she pretty much gets (the ball) to the target every single time, so that builds my confidence with knowing that she is going to get me a good set. I'm just going to keep working hard to build Laurie and John's (Corbelli, associate head coach) confidence in me and keep working hard in practice and get better at my game."
On starting SEC play...
"I'm so excited. Alabama is a great team, so it's going to be a good game. I know that if we fix some things that we are an amazing team with amazing players, so I'm very excited to start SEC."