Hooker lifts No. 6 Volleyball to sweep of Houston
HOUSTON -- Sophomore outside hitter Destinee Hooker's 16-kill performance paced the No. 6 Texas Volleyball team to a 3-0 (30-22, 30-16, 30-19) sweep of the University of Houston Friday night in the Houston Tourney at the Athletics/Alumni Center.
Hooker highlighted the Longhorns attack on the night with 16 kills on 24 swings (zero errors), while hitting at a .667 clip. The sophomore added four digs, three block assists and a pair of service aces to her all-around performance. As a team the Longhorns hit .473 for the night, hammering out 52 kills on 91 swings and committing just nine attack errors.
Texas (1-2) jumped out to an early lead in game one and would not look back, putting together an 8-2 run to claim a 15-8 edge. Houston (1-2) rallied to narrow the Horns lead to four, but that would be as close as they would get as senior outside hitter Jen Christian took over for UT down the stretch. Christian registered her fourth kill of the game to push the score to 26-20 and Hooker capped the game with a thunderous cross-court kill that gave the Longhorns a 30-22 victory.
After falling behind in the early going, Texas went on a 5-0 run, using a pair of kills by Hooker to claim a 9-6 advantage. The Longhorns pushed their lead to 18-8 with a 7-0 run fueled by two kills by junior utility player Lauren Paolini and after a brief rally by the Cougars, Hooker connected for her seventh kill of the game to lift UT to a 30-16 game-two win.
The Cougars kept the third game close until the Longhorns ran off four straight points to grab a 12-8 lead. Texas widened the margin to eight at the 21-13 mark, but it was a 6-0 run served by Hooker that pushed the lead to 28-15 and sealed the victory for UT. Christian added a pair of kills to cap the Longhorns three-game sweep, with Texas taking the third game, 30-19.
Paolini joined Hooker in double figures, tallying 10 kills on 18 swings, while registering six assists, eight digs and five block assists. Christian chipped in with nine kills on .368 hitting and senior middle blocker Brandy Magee added seven kills and a .538 attack mark. Senior setter Michelle Moriarty recorded 43 assists on the night and senior libero Alyson Jennings paced the defense with a team-high 13 digs.
Texas returns to action Saturday, Sept. 1 when it takes on New Mexico State at 5:30 p.m. at the Houston Tourney.
TEXAS POSTMATCH QUOTES
On his team's improvement from last weekend at Penn State: I thought we did a good job of executing out game plan tonight. We did a good job of adjusting against Houston and we were able to wear them out with our sideout game. Our consistency in the transition and our minimal amount of errors were the keys to victory.
On Destinee Hooker's performance: Destinee's performance tonight was spectacular. She played well in the first two games and she played well as we worked her into the back row. If she can play consistently for us in the back row, that will add some different dimensions to our game. Destinee also served well tonight, making great quality swings and making good decisions when the rhythm was right.
SENIOR SETTER Michelle Moriarty
SOPHOMORE OUTSIDE HITTER Destinee Hooker
On the team's performance: Playing in this small gym tonight we were able to draw a lot of energy from the fans and the echo of the crowd. We were able to get a good serving rhythm, good transition and we had a positive attitude for the entire match.