No. 2 Volleyball stays unbeaten with sweep of No. 10 Iowa State
Sept. 18, 2009Box Score | Post-game video | Photo gallery
AUSTIN, Texas -- The No. 2 Texas Volleyball team recorded its seventh straight victory over a ranked opponent and stayed unbeaten as it knocked off No. 10 Iowa State, 3-0, Friday night at Gregory Gymnasium. A raucous crowd of 3,446 witnessed the Longhorns 25-22, 26-24, 25-17 win over the Cyclones. The win improved the Horns to 7-0 on the year and 2-0 in Big 12 play, while ISU dropped to 9-2 and 1-1 in league action.
In the first set, Texas leapt out to a commanding 5-0 lead to start the frame, taking advantage of two quick kills by senior All-America setter Ashley Engle. The Longhorns pushed the lead to as many as six, but the Cyclones battled back to close the margin to 17-15 on a kill by senior setter Kaylee Manns. ISU tied the set at 22 before a kill by senior All-America outside hitter Destinee Hooker and two Cyclone miscues lifted UT to a 25-22 win.
Texas fell behind early in the second frame, but two kills and a solo block by junior All-America outside hitter Juliann Faucette put UT ahead, 6-5. The score was tied 12 times in the set and the lead changed hands three times. Texas did not lose the lead until a 4-0 Iowa State run put the Cyclones in front 23-22. The Horns answered with 4-1 run down the stretch that was highlighted by two kills from freshman outside hitter Bailey Webster that helped closed the set, 26-24.
The Longhorns were red-hot to start the third, and four blocks (three solos) by Faucette led the way for UT. Back-to-back kills by Hooker allowed the Horns to claim a 13-7 edge and a solo block by Faucette widened the margin to 19-11. The Cyclones responded with a 3-0 run to shrink the lead to 19-14 before Hooker and the Longhorns took over and closed out the set 25-17 with a 4-1 run.
Hooker paced the Texas attack on the night with 18 kills, 10 digs and a .400 hitting percentage. Faucette added 10 kills, 11 digs, six total blocks and five solo blocks, while Engle totaled six kills, 34 assists and seven digs. Sophomore middle blocker Rachael Adams registered seven kills on .600 hitting in the winning effort.
Texas returns to action on Wednesday, Sept. 23 when it travels to Colorado. First serve is set for 8 p.m. Central.
On how the team performed tonight: I thought we were battling, but we didn't block a lot of balls. I think we had five or six blocks through two games, and game three we had six blocks. Those are earned points in terms of the sideout. When we're able to do that along with our sideout game, we're able to make some separation. I thought Bailey (Webster) had some good moves. We've talked to her about taking some more seams. Juliann (Faucette) did a really nice job in terms of making some good moves on the slide. We just made some big plays.
On what the team focused on in practice leading up to the match: We focused a lot on rhythm. We did a lot of work on passing rhythm. We were able to do a lot of setting with our outside hitters, that was off the other night. We had no receiving errors in a tough match like this and that says a lot about our passing and what we were able to do. I didn't think our defense was bad the other night, I think it was all related to our sideout game.
On Destinee Hooker's performance tonight: That's Destinee. The bigger the crowd, the more TV, the more everything else, Destinee just loves to play. She has such an exceptional speed and vertical jump that when she's playing at this level it really helps out our team. I thought tonight was her best emotional match for the team. I thought she had great energy, I thought she was a great teammate, made it a lot of fun for everybody to be around her.
Senior setter Ashley Engle
On Iowa State: Iowa State is a really quick transition team, so we had to change our game to play their game. They were pushing the ball over as quick as they could, so we had to respond, scramble, and it kept us off balance. That's why they are a really dangerous team. They take you out of your game sometimes. Luckily, we were able to find a way to win.
On the team's mindset going into the third set: We knew we could play a lot better. We knew that this was our game and we were determined to go out there and not let them get any easy points and just turn it on.
On the team's defense tonight: I loved it. From a setter's point of view, I thought that our team passed nails, and defensively we were touching more balls than we have all season, and I think that's something we really emphasized. It shows we can play with teams like Iowa State who are known for their scrappiness and their defense.
On what the team has learned about itself through seven matches: I think we're learning we're not perfect. We can always get better in one area of the game. I think it's really important we're learning and improving during the matches. We're making adjustments in one play. Those are so important because down the road when we're playing really talented Big 12 teams and in the postseason, you're going to see teams where if you don't make adjustments right away they are going to make you pay. I think we found our rhythm more tonight, and hopefully that will just continue.
Senior outside hitter Destinee Hooker
On Iowa State: They battled. They didn't let any balls fall. They were a scrappy team. You could tell they wanted it really, really bad. They had the heart. They didn't lie down. Coach told us this team was going to battle. We had to go out there and fight, and that's what we did and we came out on top.
Sophomore L/DS Sydney Yogi
On Texas' defense: I think it's awesome because every game we play, our defense gets so much better. They had a lot of quick offense tips, keeping us off guard. Our defense was really solid in the back end too. Tonight, I just felt like it was at a whole other level.