No. 9 Volleyball earns 3-0 sweep of Oklahoma
Sept. 22, 2012
AUSTIN, Texas--Sophomore All-America outside hitter Haley Eckerman led the No. 9 Texas Longhorns with 14 kills Saturday in a 3-0 sweep (25-18, 25-14, 25-10) over the Oklahoma Sooners at Gregory Gym. The Longhorns (9-3, 2-0) hit .365 as a team and committed just 10 errors in the match while outmuscling the Sooners by a 13-3 margin in blocks.
Eckerman hit .345 (14-4-29) while registering two assists, two service aces, five digs and one block. Junior All-American Bailey Webster posted 12 kills on 22 attempts with one error for a hitting percentage of .500. Webster added three solo blocks.
Senior utility player Sha'Dare McNeal recorded a career-high nine blocks, while also registering a season-high 13 digs. She had a season-high nine kills, missing a possible triple double by one kill and one block.
The Sooners (12-4, 1-1) were led by Keila Rodriguez, who had nine kills and eight digs.
Up 6-5 in the first set, UT launched eight unanswered points, highlighted by two kills each from Eckerman and McNeal. Eckerman had a total of seven kills in the set, recording a .455 (7-2-11) and McNeal added five with a .444 hitting percentage (5-1-9).
Texas controlled the second set from the start and gained an early 9-2 advantage. Five kills from Webster and another four from Eckerman helped the Horns to a .406 hitting percentage for the set.
Tied at two in the third and led by Sarah Palmer's serving, UT recorded eight unanswered points, including a service ace from Palmer. Webster, who notched a total of four kills in the set, closed the match and secured the win with back-to-back kills.
Texas travels to Baylor on Tuesday (Sept. 25) for a 7 p.m. match that will be broadcast on ESPNU. Gametracker live stats will be available on TexasSports.com and live Twitter updates @TexasVolleyball.
Notes: The 42 combined points scored in the match by Oklahoma were the fewest allowed by Texas in the series since the start of rally scoring in 2001...Texas is now 39-3 against Oklahoma all-time, including a 21-1 record at home...Khat Bell secured her first service ace of the season...Bell also posted a season-high five digs (previous season-high was two, set against Florida on Aug. 31)...Bell tied her season high of five blocks, which she has now posted three times this season, most recently against Illinois on Sept. 14...Haley Eckerman tied her season high of two assists, which she previously registered against Illinois on Sept. 14...Hannah Allison tied her season high of two kills, which she previously posted against Illinois on Sept. 14...Sha'Dare McNeal has now posted nine kills four times this season, most recently against Cal Poly on Aug. 25...McNeal's previous season-high digs was 12, which she recorded against Illinois on Sept. 14...McNeal's previous career-high blocks was seven, which she posted against Baylor on Nov. 11, 2010...Sarah Palmer has now registered a single service ace in six matches this season, most recently against Cincinnati on Sept. 15.
OU 18-14-10 TEXAS 25-25-25
Texas head coach Jerritt Elliott
Opening statement: First and foremost, I want to take the time to thank the fans from coming out. It was a great environment for our team, made them feel real special, and it is nice to have that kind of support behind us in a big match. Overall, I thought we played consistent the entire night and things that we have been working on in practice carried over in terms of our blocking and sequencing. We have got some good carryover in the items we have been focusing on, our team played very well and smooth the entire night, we scored high in transition and got some good balance, and we did a nice job on the defensive side. Overall, I am very pleased with the correlation from what we are seeing in practice to how we performed tonight.
On biggest concern coming in to the game: Just the continuity. We haven't had a whole lot of time with this lineup. It has been good in practice, we felt really good--two days ago we had a phenomenal practice and I felt that it was all clicking. But anytime you make a change, you don't know how well it is going to play out in terms of the matches. But our team made a commitment yesterday to compete very hard, play at a high level, and had some good talks about being focused when coming out tonight. They were united. I thought Sha'Dare McNeal had a career night, not only in terms of attempts but also her blocking. I haven't seen her block like that in her career.
On the impact of the crowd tonight: We feel that we have a very fun team to watch and they are very athletic. Anytime you have a crowd like that it worth points to us. We hope that they continue to come out and support us because it is very important for our run, not only the Big 12 but also hosting the Regionals should we be able to advance that far. They are a big part of our program and the reason why a lot of these players are sitting here because of that type of environment. It is special when we have those kind of numbers show up, which we would like to get a little bit more consistent in. It is a great product with a great bunch of young women playing at a high level.
Senior utility Sha'Dare McNeal
On her performance tonight: Just getting off the fans was a big thing and coming into the match really energetic, focused, knowing what we had to do on our side of the net, and executing it.
On the impact of the crowd tonight: I think anytime that we play in that environment we play pretty well. We just feed off of them and it's a lot of fun.
Junior outside hitter Bailey Webster
On thoughts about tonight's dominance over Oklahoma: We were most focused on doing our job, playing as a team, and being consistent. So if we did everything that we needed to do and what we practiced on in practice, then a win would come with that. So that is what we focused on and it went well for us.
On what this means for the team to get its first Big 12 win: I think right now we are focusing on our next game and opponent. This does feel good to win but we need to move forward, look ahead, and get better day by day because we still have a lot to work on. So we are going to take what we learned this game and keep moving forward.
On the impact of the crowd tonight: Like Sha'Dare said, they are a huge help. Having a whole support system behind you, cheering for you when you are doing well, and still supporting you when you may miss out on a point. It helps a lot to move forward and finish the game off. It was great.