Sept. 12, 2008
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AUSTIN, Texas -- The third-ranked Texas Volleyball team used a 13-kill hitting performance by sophomore All-American Juliann Faucette as it swept past Houston, 3-0, Friday afternoon at the Time Warner Cable Texas Invitational. The Longhorns' 25-18, 25-14, 25-14 victory pushed their season mark to 5-1 and extended Texas' home winning streak to 17 matches, while Houston fell to 3-5 on the year.
Houston kept the tally close early in the first set, but six kills and a .400 attack mark by Faucette fueled the Horns' run late in the set. Back-to-back kills by Faucette pushed the lead to five, and a 4-1 run, paced by three UT blocks, gave the Longhorns a 24-14 advantage. The Cougars narrowed the deficit to six, but a Houston service error closed out the game with Texas winning the set, 25-18.
In the second frame, Texas hit at a blistering .667 clip and used two early kills by junior outside hitter Destinee Hooker to grab the lead. Two service aces by junior opposite hitter Ashley Engle paced a 3-0 run that widened the Longhorns lead to seven at the 16-9 mark, while Faucette added three points as part of a 5-0 run to give Texas a 22-12 advantage. Faucette and sophomore middle blocker Jennifer Doris added two more kills late in the set and the Longhorns shut the door on the Cougars, earning a 25-14 win.
An early 5-0 run in the third game, capped by an Engle ace, gave the Longhorns a 6-2 lead. Houston battled back to narrow the lead to two at the 12-10 mark, but an 8-1 Texas run highlighted by three Engle kills put the Horns ahead, 20-11. The Longhorns increased their lead on a kill and block assist by freshman outside hitter Amber Roberson, and Engle finished out the stanza with a set-ending kill that moved the final tally to 25-14.
Texas returns to action at 6:30 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 12 when it plays the final match of the Time Warner Cable Texas Invitational at Gregory Gym.
· Texas' win over Houston improved its all-time record against the Cougars to 43-16. UT has won the last four meetings with Houston.
· Juniors Ashley Engle and Destinee Hooker each set a season-high with three service aces in the win over Houston.
· The Longhorns have now won 17 straight matches at Gregory Gymnasium with the streak tying for fourth longest in Texas history.
HEAD COACH Jerritt Elliott
Opening statement: I thought it was a good performance by us. We wanted to stay steady in the side-out game and not give up runs of more than two points. We gave up a run of two points one time and another one of three throughout the entire match. We did a very good job from our serve-receive side and we stayed patient.
On improving as a team: This group is extremely athletic and talented, so it's about creating that cohesiveness, team chemistry and the ability to stay steady. I think the runs that we've been given have been predominantly our errors or our mistakes. We side-out at such a high percentage that coaches are going back and taking the risk to serve a harder ball. So we have got to learn to rebound from that and be able to execute from there.
On the team's service errors: We weren't trying to serve velocity, but we were trying to get them to move. They got a little conservative with the jump serve and started decelerating which usually leads to service errors. We have to get our team to trust the speed and alignment and be able to accelerate through the ball.
On the difference between today and last night: We did a better job staying focused throughout the match. We are trying to set a standard in terms of the percentages we meet and trying to control what we can. If we can hit these numbers then we should be successful when these big matches come. We're trying to focus on setting tempos and the rhythm of the game much more. It got better after the first game and then the efficiency really picked up from there.
SOPHOMORE OUTSIDE HITTER Juliann Faucette
On conserving energy while playing three matches in two days: I think being able to execute in each game and doing what we can to not play longer than we need is important. Making sure that we're taking care of our bodies in between is also very important. We are working to make sure we stay hydrated going into tonight's match. A lot of people are getting a chance to get on the court in these matches, which allows us to rest our bodies and create some good team chemistry.
FRESHMAN SETTER Michelle Kocher
On getting used to college level competition: So far so good. It's still early in the season and we are a work in progress, but everyday we're getting a little bit better.