The Arkansas Razorbacks (6-9) fell to the Texas A&M Aggies (10-3) three sets to none Friday night.
Arkansas was coming off of a heartbreaking 3-2 loss at LSU the previous week as the Hog Wild band filled Barnhill Arena with music and the fans piled into their seats. The Hogs were looking to take advantage of an Aggie team that was recently defeated by Tennessee.
Arkansas started the first set off with a serving error, giving A&M the early momentum. After suffering an early 2-5 deficit, the Razorbacks went on a five-point run and took the lead. The two teams battled back and forth through the middle of the set, but Arkansas held a 15-13 advantage over the Aggies going into the first timeout.
Both teams exchanged leads throughout the back half of the first set. Arkansas went down 19-21, causing coach Jason Watson to call a timeout. The Aggies proved too much for the Hogs as they took a 25-19 win in set one.
“Defensively, we had been following a nice game plan, but I thought we let a couple of things slide, and a couple of service errors in the first set set some things apart,” associate head coach Megan Wargo-Kearney said.
Texas A&M recorded 14 kills in the first set along with eight digs and two blocks. Arkansas managed 10 kills, but five errors cost the Hogs the set.
Sophomore setter Gracie Ryan shined early and often throughout the match for the Hogs.
“I think in the beginning we started off executing our game plan,” Ryan said, “but I think that throughout the match, we had a little difficulty continuing to execute that game plan. I think we just lost a little sight of what we had to do.”
The Aggies carried the momentum from their impressive first set over to the second, controlling an early 8-3 lead. The height advantage proved to be helpful for an A&M team that recorded two blocks early in the second set.
After a Jason Martin timeout, A&M added to its lead, going on an 8-4 run that caused the fans in Barnhill Arena to go silent. Arkansas refused to go away, bringing the deficit to within six points. A late run by the Aggies gave them a 25-16 victory over the Hogs in the second set.
Going into the third set, A&M had eight more kills and six more blocks than Arkansas. Razorback coaches had some encouraging words for their team as they went into set three, down 2-0.
“The message to the team was put the pressure on them from the service line,” Wargo-Kearny said. “When we were doing that, we were knocking them out of system.”
The third set mimicked the first two, as A&M carried the momentum over to spark an early 15-9 lead. Martin took a timeout after the Aggies gained a 20-13 lead. The Hogs showed signs of life, staying within single digits of the Aggies, but eventually fell to the Aggies 25-18 to give A&M a 3-0 match victory.
The Razorbacks fell to an overall record of 6-9, while the Aggies improved to 10-3. Arkansas will have a week to prepare for their next match-up against the Florida Gators. The teams will meet next Friday, Oct. 11 at 7 p.m. in Barnhill Arena.