No. 2 Volleyball rallies to down No. 23 Long Beach State in five
Aug. 30, 2009
LONG BEACH, Calif. -- Despite falling behind two games to none the No. 2 Texas Volleyball team rallied behind 23 kills from senior All-America outside hitter Destinee Hooker to upend No. 23 Long Beach State, 3-2 in its season opener Saturday night at the Long Beach State Baden Classic. The 22-25, 20-25, 25-18, 25-23, 15-9 victory moved the Longhorns to 1-0 on the season, while the 49ers fell to 0-2. Texas returns to action on Sunday, Aug. 30 when it takes on No. 15 San Diego in tourney play.
Hooker took over in the fifth set, posting three kills, a solo block and a block assist in the first five points to give Texas a 5-0 advantage. Hooker struck later in the set, helping UT push the lead to 12-5 with her fifth kill of the frame. Long Beach answered with three straight points, but a left-handed kill by Hooker ended the rally and moved the score to 13-8. Senior setter/opposite hitter Ashley Engle closed out the set with two straight kills on dumps, ending the set, 15-9.
Texas came out of the gate slow in the first set as Long Beach jumped out to a quick 7-2 edge and extended their lead to eight at the 13-5 mark. The Horns rallied back with a pair of 5-1 rallies capped by a solo block from Hooker that moved UT within one at 16-15. LBSU responded by pushing the lead back to five (20-15) and despite Texas’ efforts down the stretch, closed out the set 25-22.
The Horns led early in the second before a 4-0 run fueled by two Brittney Herzog kills put the Beach on top, 8-5. The 49ers extended their lead to its widest margin at the 18-10 mark, but a 5-0 UT run capped by an ace from Engle narrowed the margin to 20-17. Long Beach took advantage of two Texas miscues to push the lead to 23-18 and closed out the frame 25-20.
Texas righted the ship early in the third stanza, using a 10-3 run headlined by six Hooker kills to grab a 15-9 advantage. Long Beach closed the lead to 18-4, but the Horns responded with a 3-0 run capped by a kill from sophomore middle blocker Rachael Adams to move the tally to 21-14. Hooker added two more kills down the stretch before junior All-America outside hitter Juliann Faucette closed the set, 25-18 with her 12th kill of the match.
After trading points early in the fourth, Long Beach forged ahead on a pair of kills by Naomi Washington and Herzog that moved the score to 10-8. The Horns rallied for three straight points to take their first lead of the set, 13-12. A second 3-0 run capped by a Faucette kill that hit inside the 10-foot line pushed UT’s lead to 16-14. The lead changed hands four times down the stretch before Texas closed the set on a 3-0 run. A Faucette kill started the run, freshman middle blocker Sha'Dare McNeal forced set point with a service ace and a block by Adams and Engle ended the set 25-23.
On the keys of the third set: Sha’Dare (McNeal) was amazing. You never know what you are going to get from a freshman. She has been playing so well. She came in and was a point scorer for us tonight, blocking balls, siding out and creating seams for our other hitters. Ashley (Engle) did well for us at setter in the final three sets. She is a more physical setter who can dump and hold our opponents middles. Early on they were getting set up on our outside hitters, but we got better balance when they started paying attention to Ashley and Sha’Dare.
On the play of Destinee Hooker in the fifth set: Destinee was phenomenal for us in the fifth set. She and the team responded well. We had opportunities to fold in game four, but J (Juliann Faucette) made a good play and we found a way to win and force a fifth set. In game five we were focused and Destinee made some nice blocks and took some very big swings for us.
Senior outside hitter Destinee Hooker
On her mindset entering the fifth set: I was thinking this is the first game of my senior year and asking myself, how do we want to start this season off? Toward the end we had J (Juliann Faucette) coming up with kills, Sydney (Yogi) working the back row and Ashley (Engle) giving us all great sets. I would not have any kills without the sets Ashley was giving me. It was a total team effort and we really came together tonight.
Senior setter/opposite hitter Ashley Engle
On setting in the final three sets: In the third we knew that we really didn’t have any more time to mess around. We had no choice, but to win the third game if we wanted to keep playing. Our passers really stepped up in the third set. I found my rhythm with the hitters in then and I think the whole team started to feel that rhythm.
On the performances of Juliann Faucette and Destinee Hooker: Both of our hitters were amazing tonight. They balance each other really well. J (Juliann Faucette) was really smart about keeping balls in play during the first two sets when we weren’t doing so well. As the game progressed Destinee hit her stride and she was able to do some great things late in the match for us. Together the two of them are unstoppable. Once they realized they could hit over the block and create some more angles they became so much more effective.