No. 2 Texas Volleyball sweeps No. 18 Florida at Nike Big Four Volleyball Classic
Aug. 31, 2012
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Sophomore All-America outside hitter Haley Eckerman used 16 kills and three service aces to lead the No. 2 Texas Longhorns with a 3-0 sweep against the No. 18 Florida Gators (29-27, 25-22, 26-24) at the Nike Big Four Volleyball Classic. Texas used seven service aces to improve to 5-0 on the season. It's the second time that the Longhorns have opened with a 5-0 record (2009) since the 2004 season.
Junior All-America Bailey Webster finished with 13 kills for the Longhorns while hitting .323 (13-3-31). Khat Bell had a season-high 10 kills while hitting .533 (10-2-15). Hannah Allison and Nicole Dalton registered 20 and 18 assists, respectively.
Ziva Recek led all hitters with 22 kills for Florida (3-1) while hitting .475. Chloe Mann added 16 kills while hitting .394 for the Gators.
Mann helped break a 14-14 tie in the second set for the Gators as she figured in four straight points for the 18-15 lead. Khat Bell and Eckerman used a block to tie it at 18-18. A Florida service error started a streak of five for Texas as Bell terminated in back-to-back attempts for the 23-19 score. Recek would get three kills late, but Webster put the Longhorns up 2-0 in the match with a kill.
Florida led by three early in the third set before the Longhorns came back, taking the 13-12 lead on Eckerman's third ace. Taylor Unroe's ace put the Gators back on top at 17-16, but back-to-back hitting errors later gave Texas the 21-19 advantage. Eckerman used two kills to get Texas ahead by two, but the Gators used two straight blocks to tie it at 23-23. Bell and Mann traded kills before Webster recorded two straight to secure the win.
Texas will play host No. 4 Penn State tomorrow in a match that starts at 6 p.m. (Central time). Gametracker live stats will be available on TexasSports.com with live Twitter updates @TexasVolleyball.
Notes: Texas is now 6-12 all-time against Florida...the last win by Texas over Florida was Dec. 7, 2007, as the Longhorns won in four sets during the NCAA Regional semifinal match in Gainesville...tonight's win was the first for the Longhorns this season with the opponent having a higher hitting percentage for the match (.313 for Texas, .314 for Florida)...Bailey Webster tied her season high for kills (13), set on Wednesday at West Virginia...Texas has not lost a set in five matches this season.
TEXAS 29-25-26 UF 27-22-24
Head Coach Jerritt Elliott
On positives from today's match: I thought we were good after 20 points in a set. We were composed and made plays late in the set. I liked our demeanor and the way we approached each point. We made plays when it counted and that tells me a lot about this team. Florida really tested us today.
On team's ability to stay composed late in every set: They are trusting the system. They are playing consistent volleyball and when we are not making a lot of errors, it bodes well for our team. Obviously, there are a lot of things that we can get better at, but we haven't had a lot of time to practice with these two tournaments going back-to-back. I'm excited for the win and we are going to be tested again tomorrow night. It should be a tougher match in front of a bigger crowd so it will be a good opportunity for this young team.
On most important thing about match against Penn State: It will be a completely different match tomorrow. Florida did a great job of pushing their middles. I think Penn State will rely more on the outside hitters rather than the middles. For us, it's playing in that environment. I think it's going to be a close battle. I think both teams have a lot of offensive weapons. We are still trying to make adjustments. We were making a lot of adjustments today that we haven't practiced in the gym. I think our team did a nice job of that late in the sets. That's why we are testing this team. The wins and losses won't break us for the season, but it will give us the opportunity to test the system we are playing and continue to improve.
Sophomore middle blocker/outside hitter Khat Bell
On difference in today's match: My team brought me up from the get-go today. I was struggling a bit mentally as far as my performance early, but then I was looking at (Sha'Dare) McNeal, Bailey (Webster), Haley (Eckerman) and they were able to bring me up.
On goal for tomorrow night's match against Penn State: We are hoping to get a big win. I'm definitely looking forward for a big crowd and for us to just play our game.