No. 2 Volleyball opens 2012 season with 3-0 sweep of LSU
Aug. 24, 2012
AUSTIN, Texas - Sophomore All-America outside hitter Haley Eckerman had 16 kills Friday as the No. 2 Texas Volleyball team swept LSU, 3-0 (25-12, 25-19, 25-19), to open the 2012 regular season in Gregory Gym as part of the 26 West Longhorns Classic. Tonight's win marks the 31st consecutive home victory for the Longhorns--currently the nation's longest home winning streak, dating back to September 4, 2010.
Eckerman recorded only one hitting error for a .429 performance (16-1-35) to go with three digs and two blocks. Junior All-America outside hitter Bailey Webster posted 10 kills in the victory, as well as three blocks. Senior Sha'Dare McNeal hit a blistering .692 on nine kills and no errors (9-0-13) as the Longhorns (1-0) hit .417 as a team for the match.
Freshman libero Kat Brooks launched her collegiate career by notching 13 digs, the most for any player in the match, and one service ace. Junior setter Hannah Allison logged 20 assists and two service aces for Texas.
Desiree Elliott led LSU (0-1) with 10 kills and three digs.
Texas kicked off the first set with a 5-0 run over the Tigers. Down 8-19, the Tigers posted four unanswered points, but it would not be enough. Texas called a time out and closed the first set with a 6-0 run. Eckerman and Webster posted four kills each in the first set. The Longhorns hit .417 in the first set while limiting LSU to a .000 hitting percentage with 10 errors in the first stanza.
Early in the second set, the Longhorns fell behind 8-4. After a time out, UT launched a 9-2 run, punctuated by a kill and service ace from Eckerman. UT maintained control throughout the third and final set. Though the Tigers were as close as 16-15 midway through the set, LSU never managed to secure a lead. In the final six points for the Longhorns, Eckerman locked down three kills.
The Longhorns play Cal Poly Saturday morning at 11:30am at Gregory Gym in their next appearance in the 26 West Longhorns Classic before concluding the tournament against No. 19 San Diego at 7 p.m. Saturday evening. Both Texas matches will be broadcast on Longhorn Network with Gametracker live stats and audio webcast on TexasSports.com.
Notes: Texas' win improves its all-time record against LSU to 21-4 and 13-2 at home...Texas extends the nation's longest home winning streak to 31 in Gregory Gym...the Longhorns committed just six hitting errors in the match...Texas out-blocked LSU by a 10-2 margin...three players made their collegiate debut for the Longhorns: freshmen Nicole Dalton, Kat Brooks and Sara Hattis...Dalton posted one kill, 15 assists, seven digs and one block assist...LSU head coach Fran (Teeter) Flory played at Texas from 1980-83 and was a member of the school's AIAW national championship in 1981...in earlier action, No. 19 San Diego swept Cal Poly, 3-0 (25-10, 25-15, 25-20).
LSU 12-19-19 Texas 25-25-25
Texas Head Coach Jerritt Elliott
On hitting high numbers for first match: We hit our numbers in sets two and three percentage-wise. The numbers I look at are errors and in set one, we had a total of three errors, which is very efficient and overall, we had six attack errors on the night. When we are able to play at that level and be patient with our game, we put a lot of pressure on teams and I thought we did a real good job on that. I thought the team did a good job of just being methodical about it. We got a little sloppy a few times with our feet, but overall I thought a very good job for the first night. There are always a lot of nerves, a lot of anxiety. Teams are trying to create an identity and it usually takes a little time, but for us to play the game that the way we did tonight, how we have been focusing on practice, is a good carryover for that. I thought our backcourt did a great job.
On what he said during the timeout when Texas was down 8-4 in the second set: We just talked a little bit about passing. We talked about our left side sitters because they were pulling the ball down the block. When we are at our system, we are trying to go deep corner. We gave them two or three blocks during that point in time. I thought after that we did a much better job with our feet on our left and were able to elongate and get rallies. Anytime they are able to do that is an advantage for us now. I just thought we played consistent.
On evaluating and figuring out how the team will be set for the rest of the season: We have some pieces that we think are pretty solid. Our middle blocking court is really good. We have four great middle blockers and you didn't get to see Molly McCage tonight but all those girls have been really battling for it night in and night out. We are just trying to figure out a combination there and give those guys some experience and see what they can do in a live situation, which is a little bit different from practice. Our pins with Sha'Dare McNeal, Haley Eckerman and Bailey Webster are pretty solid right now. I am just very pleased with how our team played. We had a lot of freshmen out there and a lot of underclassmen as well. It is a good group and I think they are working hard. I like our demeanor, competitiveness and composure. Anytime you are able to win 3-0 against a quality opponent and you don't let them into the 20s is a good night for us.
Junior libero Sarah Palmer
On how it felt being able to finally play as a team in a competitive: It felt really good and thought we were consistent for most of the night. We were doing a lot of stuff that we have been doing in practice. I think a lot of the stuff we have been practicing for these past two and a half weeks has paid off. We just worked really hard during the match, competed really well, and ended up with the win.
On team being very consistent for first match of season: Those are really good numbers. In practice we try and train at a really high level and hit higher numbers so that when it becomes game time, we can hit those numbers and feel good about it.
On how she felt about how the front row played tonight: I think we have improved a lot. Overall, we have always been an offensive team. I think it helps with the blocks and helps with the defense in the back row. We just set up everything well and can execute it really well into our game plan.
On having another Hawaiian player, libero Kat Brooks, on court with her: It is really fun. I have played with Kat for about three years back in club. She is really feisty in the back row and was diving for balls. It was really fun playing next to her and I feel like with her and me next to each other, we know when to go for it with each other and it just flows really well.