After a tough stretch in which they dropped four straight matches, Aggie Volleyball looked to get back on track with three straight games against conference opponents.
First up for the Aggies were the Javelinas from Texas A&M-Kingsville on Sept. 21 at Aggie Gym. The Black and Gold started off on the right foot with a victory over the Javelinas in four sets securing their first conference victory of the season (19-25, 25-20, 25-23, 25-13).
The night did not start off as the Aggies hoped as they dropped the first set 19-25. The Aggies put that set behind them quickly and jumped out to a 9-3 lead in set two behind kills from freshman Shannon Dulaney and sophomore Rebecca Green and five assists from junior Jenna Risoli. The Aggies never looked back from that point forward and won the final three sets clinching the victory.
Risoli led the team with 44 assists and helped set the pace for the Aggies all night with her strong play in the middle. Freshman Kathryn Evans once again led the Aggies with 18 kills on the night and earned her fourth 15 plus kill match of the season.
Head volleyball coach Doug Tabbert said his team responded well after the first set and emphasized the importance of the win at home.
“It was a good win for us to get at home,” Tabbert said. “We did not play great at the start but finished a lot better. It was just a match that we needed to win. We need to win these matches at home and need to get another one tomorrow.”
Cameron did not have time to bask in the win as they faced off against conference rival Incarnate the following afternoon.
The Aggies started off slow and were unable to carry the previous day’s momentum as they fell to the Cardinals in three straight sets (17-25, 26-28, 22-25).
The first set started with both teams trading points but quickly saw Incarnate Word take control as the Aggies fell behind 8-14 before Coach Tabbert called timeout. Out of the break UIW continued to play well and the Aggies struggled to find any rhythm offensively. Ultimately the Cardinals took the first set 17-25.
The Black and Gold would not go down without a fight as they picked up the pace in the second set. Down 1-5, Mariah Westlake had two service aces and the Aggies won six straight points on her service to take a 7-5 lead.
The teams continued to trade leads with neither squad leading by more than four points in the set. Once again the Cardinals were able to put away CU in a close 26-28 set.
The third set saw much of the same as UIW played suffocating defense and finished off the Aggies in another close loss 22-25.
The Aggies struggled to create offense all night, finishing with only 37 kills and three players tied for nine kills each.
After the loss, the Aggies travelled to Portales, N.M., on Sept. 25 where they faced the Eastern New Mexico Zias.
Despite career nights from Jenna Risoli and Kathryn Evans, the Black and Gold fell short in five sets (29-27, 16-25, 26-24, 21-25, 9-15).
Coach Tabbert said the Aggies played well but made some key mistakes that ENMU was able to turn into points.
“We played some great defense at times tonight but we did not do enough at the net,” Tabbert said. “There were too many unforced errors tonight and we were inconsistent offensively.“
The loss brought Cameron’s record to 5-9 overall and 1-4 in conference play.