Howden leads Volleyball past Houston
HOUSTON -- Senior Bethany Howden (Austin, Texas) connected for 17 kills and five blocks as the Texas volleyball team defeated Houston, 3-0 (30-16, 30-21, 30-12) at Yeoman Fieldhouse on Tuesday night in a non-conference match. With the victory, Texas improved to 4-0 to start the season for the first time since 2001, while Houston (1-3) struggled after playing its fourth match in five days.
Texas has yet to allow an opponent to win a game in 2004, winning all 12 games in four matches it has played. Additionally, the Horns limited an opponent to fewer than 20 points for the seventh time in 12 games. Last season, UT held the opposition to 19 points or less on 10 occasions.
The Longhorns held Houston to a .000 hitting percentage for the match, while swinging for a .360 mark of its own. Howden and freshman Jen Christian (Gilbert, Ariz.) both recorded double-figure kills as Christian chipped in 10 on 21 attacks. As a team, Texas out-hit Houston, 48 kills to 29. Freshman libero Alyson Jennings (Costa Mesa, Calif.) added a team-high 15 digs, as the team out-dug the Cougars, 50-31. At the net, UT also dominated, out-blocking UH, 11.0 to 4.5. Sophomore Brandy Magee (Mission Viejo, Calif.) led the way for the Longhorns with seven blocks (two solos, five block assists).
"We had a great all-around effort tonight," Texas head coach Jerritt Elliott said. "We were strong with our ball control and we picked up our blocking tonight. We stayed steady and we put the pressure on Houston to make plays. It was nice to see us keep up our intensity through three games. This was a nice preparation as we get ready to host our own tournament (Time Warner Cable Texas Invitational) this weekend in Gregory Gym," Elliott concluded.
UT rolled to an early lead in the first game, opening a 18-9 advantage before closing the game with a 7-2 run. In the second game, Houston stayed close, hanging within three points until 21-18 when UT used a 9-3 run to cap the game as Howden led UT into the intermission with back-to-back aces. Game three was much like the first, and saw the Horns extend a 19-9 advantage before Jennings rolled seven-straight points on her serve to push the game to 28-11. Howden's 17th kill of the night capped the game and the match.
Of note, Houston's 12 points in the team's final game was the lowest point total in a game since collegiate volleyball moved to the 30-point rally-scoring games in 2001.
Texas returns to action on Friday, Sept. 10 at 6:30 p.m., when the Horns host LSU in the second game of a doubleheader on the first night of the Time Warner Cable Texas Invitational. UT will welcome LSU, Liberty and Louisiana Tech to Gregory Gym for the two-day tournament. Matches are scheduled at 4:30 p.m. (Louisiana Tech vs. Liberty) and 6:30 p.m. on Friday, and at 10 a.m. (LSU vs. Liberty), noon (Louisiana Tech vs. Texas), 4:30 (LSU vs. Louisiana Tech) and 6:30 p.m. (Texas vs. Liberty) on Saturday, Sept. 10. Live stats for all matches - and live Internet broadcasts for Texas matches - will be available at TexasSports.com.