Acevedo, Armstrong lead No. 8 Volleyball past No. 19 Pepperdine, 3-1
MALIBU, Calif. -- UT senior Dariam Acevedo (Trujillo Alto, Puerto Rico) registered a team-leading 23 kills on .353 hitting, and junior Leticia Armstrong (Elkhart, Ind.) added 22 kills with an impressive .562 attack percentage to lead No. 8 Texas (3-0) to a 3-1 (33-35, 30-20, 30-27, 30-16) victory over No. 19 Pepperdine (0-3) Friday evening at the Asics Classic at Pepperdine University. Texas opens the season with its third victory over a ranked opponent in as many matches. Junior setter Michelle Moriarty (Houston, Texas) led the way with 62 assists and 16 digs, while freshman Ashley Engle (Yorba Linda, Calif.) enjoyed a productive homecoming with 14 kills and 10 digs. UT outblocked the host Waves by a 13-9.5 margin. After hitting only .176 in the opening game, Texas recovered to hit .321 for the match.
Texas opened the match with an Acevedo kill to take a 1-0 lead and took six of the next nine points - the last two on Acevedo kills - to assume a 7-3 lead. Pepperdine answered with three straight points before ending its run on a service error. A Jennifer Todd (Henderson, Nev.) block and kill, coupled with two more Pepperdine errors, extended the Texas lead to 12-7 and forced a Wave timeout. The Longhorns relied on Wave errors for their next five points, and consecutive kills from Destinee Hooker (San Antonio, Texas), Acevedo and Armstrong pushed the Longhorn lead to 20-13.
Pepperdine began to chip away at the lead from there, taking three straight points to cut its deficit to 20-16 and force a Texas timeout. The teams split the next six points before Pepperdine took advantage of a Hooker attack error to cut the lead to 23-20. An Engle kill gave Texas a 24-20 lead, but Todd's ensuing service error sliced the UT lead to 24-21. Engle added another kill before Pepperdine took the next two points on Texas attack errors to draw within 25-23. Armstrong contributed another kill before Pepperdine took four of the next five points on two kills, a Todd attack error and a Rachel Lumsden block to even the game at 27 apiece.
A Cassi Chamberlain service error gave Texas a game point at 29-28, but another Lumsden kill saved the game for Pepperdine. After a kill from Texas' Todd, Pepperdine thwarted Texas once more with a Sophia Milo kill. A Pepperdine double contact gave Texas another game point, but Julie Rubenstein came up with another Pepperdine kill to draw the Waves even at 31. A Texas attack error gave Pepperdine its first game point at 32-31, but Texas evened the tally behind a Jen Christian (Gilbert, Ariz.) kill. Pepperdine's Rubenstein and Texas' Acevedo exchanged kills before the Waves' Kayla Walker and Lumsden finally ended the game at 35-33 on consecutive kills.
Texas set the tone early in the second game, taking the first five points to force a Pepperdine timeout. The Waves took advantage of three consecutive Christian attack errors before the Longhorns took off on a 16-5 run to seize control of the game at 22-10. Acevedo came up big once again with five kills and two blocks during the stretch, while junior Alyson Jennings (Costa Mesa, Calif.) contributed two consecutive service aces.
Pepperdine took three straight points before Engle led a 6-1 Texas run with a pair of kills to extend the Longhorns' lead to 28-15. The Waves netted five of the next six points, but Texas closed out the game at 30-20 behind a Pepperdine attack error, ending the game with an impressive .351 attack percentage. As was the case in the first two games, Texas came out strong and took a 6-2 lead. The Longhorns embarked upon an 8-2 run featuring three Todd kills and one block as UT assumed a 14-6 lead. A 6-3 Pepperdine run forced a Texas timeout, and the Waves subsequently added three more points to cut the Longhorns' lead to 17-15. Pepperdine drew even at 20 points apiece, but a kill from UT's Lauren Paolini (Ann Arbor, Mich.), a Wave double contact and an Armstrong kill gave Texas a 23-20 cushion. Pepperdine took two more points before hitting the next serve beyond the end line. Engle followed suit with a service error of her own before Armstrong and Milo exchanged kills, as Texas led 25-24. A Lumsden attack error and the third service ace from UT's Jennings gave Texas a 27-24 lead, and kills from Todd, Acevedo and Kill gave Texas the 30-27 game victory.
Texas' resurgence continued with a solid start in what proved to be the final game. Pepperdine opened with a kill from Sophia Milo, but Texas assumed a 7-2 lead on the strength of four kills. The lead grew to 10-3 after a Pepperdine double-contact violation, as the Waves were forced to call for time. Pepperdine drew within 12-9 before an impressive stretch from Engle - featuring three consecutive kills and a service ace - coupled with a Hooker kill, put the match out of reach for the Waves, as UT took an 18-10 lead. Pepperdine took two straight points, but Texas seized eight of the next nine points to take a 26-13 lead. After a Wave service error, the Longhorns closed out the match behind an Acevedo kill, a Todd block and a Pepperdine block error off of an Engle kill. Texas hit an astounding .500 in the fourth game to close out the match.
Texas returns to action on Saturday, Sept. 2 for two matches to close out the the Asics Classic. UT takes on Cal Poly at 2 p.m. CDT before meeting Long Island at 7 p.m. CDT. Cal Poly defeated Long Island in Friday's first match, 3-0.