Howden leads Volleyball past No. 21 Kansas
LAWRENCE, Kan. -- Senior Bethany Howden (Austin, Texas) recorded 17 kills and had a .630 attack percentage as the No. 22 Texas volleyball team defeated No. 21 Kansas, 3-0 (30-24, 30-20, 30-15), on Saturday night at the Horejsi Family Athletics Center). Howden did not record an error on the night as Texas (11-0, 4-0 Big 12) collected its first win over a ranked opponent in 2004. Kansas (10-2, 1-2 Big 12) had won the last three meetings in the teams' series.
Senior Mira Topic (Kastela Kambelovac, Croatia) added 13 kills and sophomore Dariam Acevedo (Trujillo Alto, Puerto Rico) five kills with no errors on nine attacks for the Horns as UT out-hit the Jayhawks, .359 to .099. The victory marked the fifth time in 2004 that Texas had held an opponent to a hitting percentage below .100 for a whole match.
UT also dominated on the defensive side of the net, out-blocking Kansas - which began the week ranked 11th nationally in blocks per game - by a 11.0 to 6.0 margin. Howden had six blocks to lead the match, while Acevedo, sophomore Brandy Magee (Mission Viejo, Calif.) and freshman Jen Christian (Gilbert, Ariz.) each added four blocks.
Texas had seven aces on the evening, including two each from Acevedo and freshmen Michelle Moriarty (Houston, Texas) and Alyson Jennings (Costa Mesa, Calif.). While the Horns did have nine service errors, UT denied Kansas's serving and held the Jayhawks ace-less while forcing five KU service errors.
"This was a big road victory for our team," Texas head coach Jerritt Elliott said. "Any time you can go onto an opponent's court in the Big 12 and win, you've done something right. Kansas is a very good team and they will continue to make noise in the Big 12 this season.
"Bethany has been moving back and forth between the middle and the outside, and we've finally settled her in the middle the last few matches. She's gotten very comfortable there, as her performances recently have shown. When she's on top of her game, she's one of the best middle blockers in the country. We also knew we had to get some balance on the right side, and Dariam has provided that for us," Elliott concluded.
Texas trailed only once in the match - at 0-1 in the third game - and dominated in all aspects of the game.
In the first game, UT pulled ahead 20-13 and didn't look back. Kansas inched back to within five points - at 25-20 - but two Jayhawk attack errors and three Horns kills gave the first game to Texas.
In the second game, Jennings and Moriarty served Texas to a 6-1 lead, which the team soon built to 24-12. Kansas scored four straight points to pull within nine points - at 27-18 - but kills by Topic and Magee helped push UT to 30 points and a 2-0 lead headed into the intermission.
In the final game, Texas used long runs on Magee (four points), freshman Sarah Holloway (Aurora, Colorado) (three points), and Acevedo's (four points) serves to put the game and match out of reach. Eleven of 15 Jayhawk services were won by Texas in the final game, allowing KU only four points on their own serve.
"We executed well tonight and I thought our blocking really helped our defense. Both of those strong performances tonight can be attributed to our serving. Overall, this win was a great team effort and a great stepping stone to head to Florida next week," Elliott concluded.
Kansas was led by junior Paula Catan, who had 11 kills. Junior Josi Lima added nine kills, while both senior Ashley Michaels and freshman Emily Brown had seven apiece. Lima also added five blocks in the loss.
Texas returns to action on Wednesday, Sept. 29, when the team travels to Gainesville, Fla., for a mid-week, non-conference match at No. 5 Florida. First serve is at 6 p.m. Central at the O'Connell Center. The match will be broadcast live on the Sunshine Network.