No. 2 Volleyball downs Italian National A2 Team, 3-1
Sept. 12, 2009
AUSTIN, Texas -- The No. 2 Texas Volleyball team posted its second straight exhibition victory over the Italian National A2 Team with its 3-1 win Saturday night. The Longhorns won the match 25-11, 25-18, 18-25, 25-18 after experimenting with multiple lineups and notching significant playing time for the entire roster.
In the first, Texas leapt out to a quick 5-0 lead on a pair of aces from senior All-America outside hitter Destinee Hooker. The Horns widened the margin to 16-4 when Hooker paced a 9-1 UT run with a kill and a solo block. Italy narrowed the lead to 18-9, but three late kills by junior All-America outside hitter Juliann Faucette closed out the set, 25-11.
Texas started hot in the second with five straight points and stretched the lead to 16-8 on a kill by freshman opposite hitter Bailey Webster. Italy battled back to close the margin to 22-16 before a 3-0 run capped by a double-block from Webster and freshman middle blocker Sha'Dare McNeal closed out the frame, 25-18.
In the third, the Longhorns rested Hooker, senior All-America setter Ashley Engle, senior libero Heather Kisner and junior middle blocker Jennifer Doris, allowing the entire UT roster to see valuable playing time. Texas fell behind early in the frame, but fought back to tie the set at 10. Italy responded with an 11-4 run that gave the Italians a 21-14 edge. Italy went on to wrap up the set 25-18 on a kill by Silvia Segalina.
The Longhorns answered in the fourth as the starters returned and helped UT capture an 8-3 lead to start the stanza. Italy responded and eventually closed the margin to 12-10, but Texas ballooned its lead back to 20-15 courtesy of a 5-1 run capped by a kill from sophomore setter Michelle Kocher. Sophomore middle blocker Rachael Adams came on strong down the stretch with a kill and a block assist, helping the Horns claim the set 25-18.
Hooker headlined the Horns on the night with 10 kills on .421 hitting, while Engle and Doris each added seven kills. Faucette connected for eight kills on .368 hitting and added six digs and four assists. Texas out-hit the Italians .414-to-.205 in the victory.
Texas returns to action on Wednesday, Sept. 16 when it plays host to Baylor. First serve is set for 6 p.m. on ESPNU.
Head Coach Jerritt Elliott
On the biggest thing taken away from the matches: Experience. The goal of this weekend was to get our players to become comfortable on the floor. There has been a lot of anxiety and a lot of different relationship and communication issues that they needed to work out, due to a lack of playing together all of the time.
On Sydney Yogi's performance: She deserved to wear that jersey tonight. She has continued to get better with every passing week and tonight was no different. It was fun to see her have the opportunity to be out on the floor, she has put a lot of hard work and sweat into that.
Sophomore libero Sydney Yogi
On her leadership role: I think I actually try to reach out a little too much instead of focusing on myself. I'm still trying to learn to be that kind of leader while still leading myself. The new girls need leadership, but they can definitely hold their own.
Junior outside hitter Juliann Faucette
On playing without Engle and Hooker in the third set: I think it's awesome for me, especially as a captain, to step up and be in that leadership role because next year that's how it's going to be. That is our team for next year and I think that it gets tough because you give more focus on everyone else's game and lose focus on what you're supposed to be doing. That is just a test, and I love it. It helps me to take my mind off of mistakes that I make. Reaching out to other people is always a great thing to do. I think Amber (Roberson), Rachael (Adams), and Bailey (Webster) are all stepping it up. Cristina (Arenas) got to come out tonight, too, and I thought she did a great job. It's good for them to get that experience because that's how it is going to be next year.