No. 5 Volleyball comes up short in 3-2 loss to No. 4 Florida
Sept. 11, 2010
GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- The No. 5 Texas Volleyball team rallied back from a two sets to none deficit to force a fifth set, but came up just short as it fell to No. 4 Florida, 3-2, Saturday evening at the Nike Big Four Volleyball Classic. The 11-25, 25-27, 25-16, 25-20, 16-14 loss dropped the Longhorns to 5-3 on the season, while the Gators improved to 6-1.
Junior middle blocker Rachael Adams headlined the Horns' attack against UF, connecting for a match-best 14 kills on .455 hitting and posting a match-high eight total blocks. Freshman outside hitter Ashley Bannister made her first career start against the Gators and came up big, registering 12 kills, hitting .375 and chipping in five blocks. Junior outside hitter Amber Roberson bolstered the offense with 12 kills and senior All-America outside hitter Juliann Faucette recorded a match-best 20 digs.
Texas was slow out of the gate in the first set as the Gators went on a 5-1 run paced by a pair of aces from Chanel Brown to take an 8-3 lead. Florida widened the margin to 14-7 on a double-block by Kristy Jaeckel and Lauren Bledsoe midway through the set. The Gators went on to close out the set, 25-11 courtesy of a 10-2 run aided by five Texas miscues and a pair of kills by Tangerine Wiggs.
In the second, Florida leapt out to a quick 9-5 edge and pushed its lead to five at the 13-8 mark. Texas battled back behind an 8-2 run fueled by two kills and a block from Adams to claim a 16-15 advantage, but the Gators answered quickly with a 5-1 rally capped by a Jaeckel kill that put UF in front, 20-17. The Horns responded to the run with a 4-1 rally and evened the tally at 21 on a double-block by Adams and Bannister. Florida countered with two points to force set-point, but Texas evened the score at 24 and again at 25 before the Gators clinched the frame, 27-25.
The Longhorns came out firing in the third stanza, using two early kills by Bannister to start the set on a 4-0 run. The Gators bounced back and tied the frame at five, but Texas mounted a 7-2 run highlighted by three kills and an ace from Roberson to claim a 10-7 lead. The Longhorns widened the lead to 18-11 on a kill by sophomore opposite hitter Sha'Dare McNeal and ballooned the edge to 21-13 on back-to-back kills by Roberson. Roberson's sixth kill of the set extended the lead to 22-14, before a Bannister kill and two UF errors ended the set, 25-16.
In the fourth, Texas kept things rolling by overcoming an early deficit and taking a 6-3 lead on a kill by McNeal. Florida kept the score tight and managed to tie the set at 13, but Texas answered with a four-point run capped by a kill from Faucette that pushed the UT lead to 17-13. The Horns widened the lead to four at the 21-17 mark and McNeal buried a kill to force set-point with UT leading 24-19. A kill by Adams closed out the frame, 25-20 and forced a deciding fifth set.
Texas used a kill and a block by Bannister early in the fifth set to forge ahead, 4-1, but Florida quickly evened the set at four. A pair of Texas attack errors allowed the Gators to take a 6-5 lead until UT grabbed an 8-7 lead on a kill by senior middle blocker Jennifer Doris. Following the kill, UF rattled off five-straight points to take a 12-8 lead, but a 6-1 UT run paced by two kills from Faucette pushed UT ahead 14-13 and forced match point. Florida stormed back down the stretch, using a kill by Cassandra Anderson to tie the set and two-straight service aces by Brown to end the frame, 16-14.
The Longhorns return to action on Thursday, Sept. 16 when they travel to Texas A&M for their Big 12 opener. First serve of the State Farm Lone Star Showdown is set for 6:30 p.m. Central.
On the difference after the break: There were no magical words, but our conversation before the match was that we were having a hard time creating momentum. I told them that momentum creates a spark and with that comes a fire. We can build off of that. After the second game, we had our spark. We had more confidence. Our passers did a better job and we have a lot of offensive weapons. Our passing numbers improved, our blocking and serving were more effective because of that. I felt like we were in control.
On running a 6-2 more often: I would like that. It's obviously going to be day-to-day in terms of what we're able to provide, but our balance was better. We were getting very predictable with the 5-1 and everyone knew where we were going during certain rotations. You have to have two incredible outside hitters in order to win like that and I don't think any team in the nation has that kind of output from their outside hitters to perform under that kind of pressure all the time. We need to give them some balance.
Freshman outside hitter Ashley Bannister
Junior outside hitter Amber Roberson