Engle leads No. 2 Volleyball past No. 10 California, 3-1
Sept. 4, 2009
HONOLULU -- After dropping the first set the No. 2 Texas Volleyball team responded with three straight victories to knock off No. 10 California, 3-1, Thursday night in the opening round of the Hawaiian Airlines Wahine Volleyball Classic. The 21-25, 25-20, 25-16, 25-13 victory improved the Longhorns to 3-0 on the season, while the Golden Bears fell to 2-2. UT returns to action against No. 4 Hawaii on Saturday, Sept. 5 at 7 p.m. Hawaii time (midnight Central).
Texas fell behind early in the first set, but a 4-0 run fueled by a kill and a block from senior All-America outside hitter Destinee Hooker helped the Horns gain the advantage at the 7-6 mark. The Longhorns led until the 13-12 mark, when Cal put together four straight points to take a 16-13 edge that they would not relinquish. Senior outside hitter Hana Cutura carried the Cal offense late in the set with three kills and an ace that helped the Bears to a 25-21 win.
The Longhorns jumped out to an early lead in the second frame, using a pair of block assists from freshman outside hitter Bailey Webster to grab a 5-1 lead. Cal rallied to even the score, but Texas never surrendered the lead. UT took control of the match at the 13-13 mark when it put together a 9-2 run that was fueled by a kill and two blocks from junior middle blocker Jennifer Doris. The Bears rallied down the stretch, but a kill by sophomore middle blocker Rachael Adams closed out the set, 25-20.
Texas opened the third stanza on a 6-1 run and extended their run to 9-3 courtesy of three kills by Hooker. The Bears battled back to shrink the margin to 14-11 and kept the score tight with a block at the 17-14 mark. The Horns offense kicked into gear from that point on, closing out the set on an 8-2 run highlighted by three kills from junior All-America outside hitter Juliann Faucette that ended the game 25-16.
The Horns took command quickly in the fourth, recording three blocks that gave UT a 5-1 edge to start the set. An ace by freshman defensive specialist Cristina Arenas moved the edge to 10-4 and a pair of kills by Doris extended the lead to 16-9. Four kills by Faucette late in the game headlined a 6-2 run that closed out the set 25-13.
On Ashley Engle’s performance: I think balance and keeping teams out of rhythm are very important in terms of a successful team. Ashley is arguably one of the better setters in the country with her ability to keep teams off balance. With the pin hitters that we have we can create a lot of seams and opportunities for her to be aggressive. She got a little bit more involved tonight and that allowed us to be more successful with our entire offense.
On the team’s blocking and depth: It’s nice to be able to look to the bench and have confidence to bring every player into the match. When we needed a little bit more size with (Jennifer) Doris, she came into the match and did a really nice job. She had a great practice yesterday and came in and provided a spark for us. I was also very impressed with Cristina (Arenas). She hasn’t seen much action, but tonight she stepped in against a great opponent and served some very nice scoring runs for us. It was nice to see us get better on the things that we worked on as a team this week in practice. That is the big key for us. If we can continue to make those improvements from practice we will continue to get better as a team.
On the difference between the first set and the final three sets: Cal is a very good team. We made a few too many attacking errors in the first set in terms of not challenging high at the net. I thought we made better attacking selections in the final three sets. I thought our passing steadied out and ultimately I thought our block wore down their hitters.
On Sydney Yogi’s performance: I loved her game. Sydney is getting better and better. The battle for the libero jersey between her and Heather (Kisner) has been very tight throughout the preseason. She is definitely going to get her shot at some point. She has a great attitude and she is our best defender. Both of our liberos are great and they are dedicated to nothing else other than winning.