Hooker lifts No. 2 Volleyball to sweep of No. 24 Baylor
Sept. 16, 2009
AUSTIN, Texas -- The second-ranked Texas Volleyball team stayed undefeated as the Horns notched their sixth straight win over a ranked opponent, sweeping No. 24 Baylor, Wednesday night to open Big 12 play. The 25-21, 25-22, 25-15 victory improved the Longhorns to 6-0 overall and 1-0 in Big 12 play, while the Bears fell to 11-1 on the year and 0-1 in league action.
Baylor kept the score close early in the first until a 3-0 run capped by kill from junior middle blocker Jennifer Doris pushed the Texas advantage to 13-9. The Horns widened the margin later in the set courtesy of a 5-1 run headlined by two blocks and a kill from sophomore middle blocker Rachael Adams that moved the score to 20-15. Texas kept the heat on late in the frame, using a thunderous kill by junior All-America outside hitter Juliann Faucette to close the set 25-21.
In the second, Texas led from the start, but its lead did not exceed two points until a 6-1 rally at the 14-12 mark ballooned the UT edge to 19-13. Freshman outside hitter Bailey Webster highlighted the run with a block and a kill before closing out the set, 25-22 with a late block.
Texas was hot from the start in the third frame, using two aces by senior All-America outside hitter Destinee Hooker and three BU miscues to claim a 6-2 lead. Hooker added two more kills and a solo block to help push the Texas lead to 15-10 and a kill by Webster widened the lead to 20-13. Webster connected for two more kills down the stretch as part of a 5-1 run that lifted Texas to a 25-15 set victory.
Hooker paced the Texas attack on the night, leading all players with a match-high 15 kills on .429 hitting. Senior All-America setter Ashley Engle posted five kills, 34 assists and five digs in the victory, while Webster and Faucette each added seven kills.
Texas returns to action on Friday, Sept. 18 when it plays host to No. 10 Iowa State in Big 12 Conference play. First serve is set for 6:30 p.m.
On whether this Baylor team was better than they have been in past years: Yes, I think so. They are definitely better than they have been. They obviously have some good senior leadership in Barnes and Breyfogle and their outside hitter Sanders. I think that they have been playing well. Anytime you get an opportunity to play a team that has won 11 in a row-this was the talk of the team-they are going to play well. Earlier, we were trying to see how fast we could break their spirit and enforce our will on them. They have gotten a lot better. They have some nice talent, and they are going to win games in the Big 12.
On what the conversation was about at halftime: Our passing was too high. Ashley's (Engle) tempo was struggling as a setter and our hitting rhythm was not very good. I told them, 'Let's have fun, let's regroup. Obviously you guys want to execute at a high level, but there is frustration when we are not.' I was just trying to figure out a way to let them get back into their groove. I told them that I wanted to see more smiles and working together and that we win as a team and we lose as a team.
Senior setter Ashley Engle
On how the team seemed to find a rhythm in the third set: To be honest, we did not really have a rhythm throughout the whole match. Just speaking personally, sometimes people cannot really see it, but we felt it. I think it was good for us to not really have that rhythm, but still find a way to win. In that third set, we were like 'Ok, we have something to prove here. We really need to get out there and just keep working to find that rhythm.' It slowly came, but still at the end, sometimes, it was not there yet.
Senior libero Heather Kisner
Senior outside hitter Destinee Hooker
On the Texas team: They are the most athletic team in the country; there's no doubt. But we're playing volleyball, not the high jump contest, so what you have to do is play the game better than them. I think our players understand that, and they saw there were opportunities to win. In past instances, there was no opportunity to win against some of these teams. There was opportunity to win, so hopefully we rebound and try to be confident in our game, because our game is good enough, no matter how athletic a team is. And I hope next time we play Texas, we do play our game and see how that matches up.
Junior outside hitter Ashlie Christenson
On ESPN broadcasting the game: Me personally, it doesn't really phase me. I really just try to focus on my game. I try to focus on what happens next, and everything else that happens on the court. Fans, they can yell at me; it doesn't matter. I'm going to tune them out as soon as that ball is in the air to be served. I'm totally focused so it doesn't affect me.
Junior middle blocker Elizabeth Graham
On her old teammates from Texas: I still keep in touch with some of them. And after the match just a minute ago, some of them came over and gave me a hug.