Volleyball opens 2004 with 3-0 victory over SMU
DALLAS -- Senior All-Americans Mira Topic (Kastela Kambelovac, Croatia) and Bethany Howden (Austin, Texas) combined for 39 kills as the Texas volleyball team opened its 2004 season with a 3-0 (30-19, 30-28, 30-17) victory over SMU on Friday in the Mustangs' SMU Invitational in Moody Coliseum. Topic recorded her first double-double of the season with 19 kills and 21 digs, while Howden added 20 kills that included only one attack error on 45 attacks.
Texas (1-0) took the match behind a strong offensive presence at the net, recording a .352 hitting percentage for the match, while limiting SMU (0-1) to just a .162 mark.
"I thought we displayed a great deal of patience tonight and I was glad to see our mental resilience when we had our backs to the wall in the second game," Texas head coach Jerritt Elliott said. "This was the first time in a long time we had a team that showed that toughness to come back from being so far down and just want to win that game.
"For this being the first match of the season, I'm happy with our effort and the victory," Elliott continued.
In the second game, Texas had to fight back from a five-point deficit, 17-12, mid-way through the game and used a 12-6 run to wrestle the lead away at 25-24 on a Dariam Acevedo (Trujillo Alto, Puerto Rico) kill. The teams traded points, but a Topic kill gave UT a 29-28 lead and the Horns took the game on a Mustang setting error.
The Longhorns took control in the first game, out-hitting the Mustangs, .500 to .211. Howden and Topic combined for 12 kills between them, which also included errorless performances from the pair in the first stanza. Howden (seven kills) and Topic (five kills, six digs) paced the team to the 11-point victory in the game. The Horns jumped out early, building a lead of 7-2 before extending their lead further as the game continued.
The final game followed the same storyline as the first as UT mounted an 18-12 lead on five-straight points on Acevedo's serve. Texas closed out the game with an 11-3 run.
Acevedo added nine kills and seven digs, while sophomore Brandy Magee (Mission Viejo, Calif.) added eight kills and a career-high eight digs. Freshmen setter Michelle Moriarty (Houston, Texas) had a team-high 29 assists as the Horns used a 6-2 system and rotated in Moriarty and sophomore Jenny Andrew (Kingwood, Texas), who added 19 assists. Freshman libero Alyson Jennings (Costa Mesa, Calif.) had 16 digs in her Texas debut.
The Horns return to action on Saturday, Sept. 4, when they play two matches. The team will face Cal Poly at 11 a.m., before taking on Northern Arizona at 5 p.m. Both matches will be played at SMU's Moody Coliseum.