Volleyball wins Ole Miss Magnolia Tournament
OXFORD, Miss. -- Kiley Hall, playing in her first match as an attacker instead of her usual defensive specialist role, collected nine kills with no attack errors, and Lauren Paolini matched that total with nine kills of her own, to lead the 17th-ranked Texas volleyball team over Lamar in straight sets - 30-16, 30-28, 30-19 - and win the Ole Miss Magnolia Invitational tournament title on Saturday at the Gillom Center.
Texas (5-1) was the only undefeated team at the tournament and won the crown. Paolini was named the tournament's most valuable player for leading the Longhorns in kills in all four matches. She was joined on the all-tournament team by Michelle Moriarty and Alyson Jennings.
Lamar (1-10) went 0-4 at the tournament for last place.
The Longhorns experimented with several different lineups in the match, including splitting time with the team's two setters - Michelle Moriarty and Jenny Andrew - in the third game, but still connected for an overall team hitting percentage of .327.
Dariam Acevedo, Brandy Magee and Leticia Armstrong each swung for six kills, while Jennifer Todd and Jen Christian each added five in the balanced offensive attack. Hall also had a team-best 12 digs, while Alyson Jennings and Paolini each grabbed nine.
Armstrong led the team at the net with five blocks, while Christian and Paolini each had three.
Buchi Okoh had a team-best nine kills for Lamar, which was limited to just a .143 hitting percentage for the match. Molli Abel added seven kills, while Erica Brown had a team-best eight digs.
Texas took little time to get comfortable in the first game as, behind Paolini's serve, the team ran off a 8-0 run as part of a larger 13-2 rally to take a 17-6 lead. The only two points Lamar scored in that stretch were courtesy of Texas serving errors, but Paolini alone had three aces and Jennings added another to make up for the errors. The Horns let the Cardinal get as close as nine points, at 19-8, down the stretch before continuing to extend their lead to close the game.
Texas head coach Jerritt Elliott experimented with his lineup to start game two, moving Hall into the front row rotation and resting Paolini, Armstrong and Todd. UT took a two-point lead at 5-3, but Lamar came back, put pressure on the Horns and rebounded with a 15-3 run to take a 18-8 lead, forcing Elliott to reinsert Paolini and Todd, while leaving Hall in as a front-row player.
With the revised lineup, Texas came all the way back to tie the game at 22-22 benefiting from four aces in that stretch - two each from Paolini and Christian. After four more ties, a Christian-Armstrong block gave Texas game point - at 29-28 - and Christian came through with the kill to put the Longhorns up 2-0.
In the third game, Texas again experimented with lineups - getting the entire active roster involved - and the two teams played evenly until 5-5, when the Longhorns slowly surged ahead. After that point, Lamar was able to climb no closer than four points. Paolini's seventh ace of the match pushed the Horns' lead to 10 points at 26-6, and also tied the UT school record for aces in a three-game match. Hall then closed out the match with a pair of kills to give Texas the tournament championship. The Horns hit .514 in the last stanza.
The Longhorns return to action on Wednesday, Sept.14, when they kick off their home schedule with Big 12 rival Colorado at 6:30 p.m. The 2005 edition of the team's "Horns House" t-shirts will be given away at the door.