No. 8 Volleyball sweeps past Santa Clara
Sept. 16, 2011
AUSTIN, Texas – The eighth-ranked Texas Volleyball team used a 15-kill effort by freshman outside hitter Haley Eckerman to roll past Santa Clara, 3-0, Friday night at Gregory Gymnasium. The 25-13, 25-23, 25-19 victory improved the Longhorns to 4-3 on the season and dropped the Broncos to 3-6 overall.
Eckerman committed just two errors on 32 swings in the win, while hitting a career best .406 and adding five total blocks. Senior All-America middle blocker Rachael Adams chipped in six kills on .417 hitting and tallied a match-high six blocks. The Longhorns out-hit the Broncos, .286-to-.127 in the victory and out-blocked SCU, 11.5-to-2.0.
Texas came out of the gate hot in the first, using three blocks by Adams and two aces by Bell to grab a 7-1 edge. An 8-1 rally capped by an Adams kill pushed the lead to 18-6 and UT went on to close out the stanza 25-13 on a kill by sophomore opposite hitter Bailey Webster.
The Horns trailed midway through the second when Santa Clara used a 5-0 run to capture a 15-14 lead, but UT rallied behind three kills from Webster to win the see-saw battle down the stretch to take the set 25-23.
In the third, Texas used a 7-1 run fueled by two blocks and two kills from Eckerman to grab a 16-11 advantage. Santa Clara fought back to narrow the margin to 21-18 before Eckerman hammered out two kills and senior libero Sydney Yogi notched an ace to end the frame 25-19.
Texas returns to action on Saturday, Sept. 17 when it resumes play at the Time Warner Cable Texas Invitational against SMU. First serve is set for 11 a.m. Central.
On the starting lineup: It’s figured out. We’re done. Obviously when [Junior Util] Sha’Dare [McNeal] comes back, Sha’Dare will be in the starting lineup. That’s not something that she is going to have to work on, and that will make a big difference for us for many different reasons. It will solidify our passing a little bit more, it’s going to allow us to have more balance and allow us to do some different things offensively. But right now we’re confident. The team is playing well. Again, we don’t really miss a big beat with Sha’Dare out, but she’s definitely a big base. And as I said, she’s kind of been the glue for our team.
On what he told the team after the second set when they were trailing Santa Clara: I actually told them in the locker room, I let that bleed a little bit longer because I wanted to see if they could figure it out on their own. We were kind of bleeding, and by that I mean we made a lot of unforced errors to that point. It was 14-11 and we made four or five unforced errors, and ultimately they came back and we challenged the passers to be better. Sydney [Yogi] came out and made a good pass and we had to side out and get ourselves in that game.
Senior L/DS Sydney Yogi
On if the team’s blocking played a significant role in the game: It helps tremendously. In the beginning of the season our blocking wasn’t as solid as it was tonight. And it’s hard to play defense around that just because of a lot of movement and things. I think our first game blocking was awesome and I think that’s’ why we went on such a big run. The other two games we didn’t get as many stuff blocks, but they were in really good positions. I kept telling our pin blockers, “good job not reaching.” That was something they were having problems with and getting tooled, and I don’t think we really got tooled that much. I think we did a really good job. [Santa Clara] got some kills, but they’re a really good team so I think we can give that to them.
Freshman OH Haley Eckerman