Trio leads Volleyball past N.C. State at tournament
OXFORD, Miss. -- Texas saw three players swing for double-figure kills as the 17th-ranked Longhorns volleyball team remained undefeated at the Ole Miss Magnolia Invitational with a sweep of North Carolina State - 30-20, 30-14, 30-26 - at the Gillom Center on Saturday afternoon.
Texas (4-1) moved to 3-0 at the tournament and remain the only undefeated team in the draw with one final match against Lamar scheduled for 5 p.m. on Saturday. N.C. State (5-2) suffered its first loss in the event and will play host Ole Miss in the last match of the day at 7:30 p.m.
Lauren Paolini continued to shine in her freshman campaign, leading the team in kills for the fifth match in a row. She pounded a match-high 17 kills and hit a career-best .483 while adding seven digs in the victory.
Brandy Magee and Dariam Acevedo each connected for 10 kills apiece while the team hit .370 in the match. Jennifer Todd, an off-season transfer from Washington State, swung for nine kills, her best effort in a Texas uniform to date.
Leticia Armstrong paced the team defensively at the net as she registered a match-high five blocks, including a career-best four solo efforts. Alyson Jennings had a team-best 10 digs.
Stefanie Eddins paced the Wolfpack with 11 kills, hitting .476, as the team swung for a hitting percentage of .242. Kelley Blakewood (12) and Karlie Urbaniak (10) each had double-figure digs for N.C. Statae.
Coming off a 6-6 tie in the first game, Paolini helped UT establish its lead for good when she served the team to five-straight points that put the team up, 12-6. That run was highlighted by strong Longhorns blocking, including a pair by Armstrong. Paolini then came up big again at the service line in the next rotation, backing the Horns to seven-straight points to push the team's advantage to 28-17. Armstrong had two kills and a solo block in that run and, after the teams traded points, a Wolfpack setting error ended the game for the Horns and gave the team a 1-0 lead.
The Longhorns used their momentum from the end of the first game into the second, building a 10-3 lead that included five kills and two blocks. Texas then almost doubled its lead to 24-11 before stringing together three straight points - including back-to back kills by Magee - to clinch game point and a Magee-Todd block ended the game and gave UT the 2-0 lead.
After dropping the first two games, N.C. State came out strong in the third game and pulled ahead to a three-point lead at 11-8. After Texas head coach Jerritt Elliott inserted Jen Christian into the lineup, however, Texas ripped off a 5-1 run to take the lead at 13-12. Although N.C. State managed to knot the score three more times, Texas finally took the lead for good at 16-15 on an Armstrong kill, one of her seven. The Wolfpack got no closer than one point the rest of the match as the Horns closed out the game with a Kiley Hall service ace.