No. 7 Volleyball sweeps past Colorado, 3-0
AUSTIN, Texas -- The No. 7 Texas Volleyball team used four double-digit kill performances and hit .400 as a team to sweep past Colorado, 3-0 (30-19, 30-20, 30-27) in front of 2,482 fans Friday night at Gregory Gymnasium.
Freshman outside hitter Juliann Faucette hammered out a match-high 18 kills to help Texas (8-3, 4-1 Big 12) out-hit Colorado (5-8, 0-5 Big 12) .400-to-.211. Sophomore outside hitter Destinee Hooker added 17 kills, while junior middle blocker Lauren Paolini added 11 kills and senior middle blocker Brandy Magee registered 10 kills on .833 hitting.
Texas led early in game one and they would never look back, taking advantage of two Faucette kills to push the lead to 8-4. The Longhorns widened the margin to 14-7 with a 5-0 run paced by a pair of Faucette aces and two Magee kills. Sophomore opposite hitter Ashley Engle extended the lead to nine with a kill at the 24-15 mark and the Horns put together a 3-0 run to close out the game 30-19.
The Longhorns took a quick lead in the second frame, using a 7-1 run headlined by four blocks to take an 11-3 edge. UT pushed the margin to 10 at the 17-7 mark on an Engle kill, however, CU rallied to narrow the gap to seven at 24-17. The Buffs' rally proved to be short-lived as the Longhorns answered by pushing the advantage back to 10 on a block by Paolini and Magee. Paolini then closed the door on the Buffaloes with her fourth kill of the game, capping the game at 30-19.
Texas erased an early Colorado lead, piecing together a 3-0 run that ended in a Paolini kill at the 6-5 mark. The teams then traded 10 straight points, alternating points from the 9-8 mark until 14-12. Texas broke the trend, but Colorado mounted a rally, using a late 3-0 run to claim a 22-21 advantage. The Longhorns responded with a 4-0 run of their own, using a pair of Paolini kills to take a 25-22 lead. The Buffs kept the tally close until Faucette connected for consecutive kills to give the Horns a 28-24 edge. Colorado narrowed the lead to 29-27, but it would not be enough as Hooker hammered out her 17th kill to end the game, 30-27.
Senior setter Michelle Moriarty tallied 54 assists on the night and added eight digs and four block assists, while senior libero Alyson Jennings posted a team-best 10 digs. Faucette hit at a .412 clip on the night, while Hooker hit .353 and Paolini posted a .474 attack mark.
Texas returns to action Wednesday, Oct. 3 when it travels to Texas A&M. The match is slated for a 6:30 p.m. start and is being broadcast live on ESPNU.
On the defense the past few games: We have been shorting it between games one and two the past few matches. Colorado hit .323 in game one and we tried to keep them under .150 and we tried to get four blocks a game. We came out here tonight and got four blocks before game two and that really set the tone. If we can use our physicality and put that pressure on teams, we can be very successful. It is definitely something we need to improve on, and the consistency needs to continue to work its way in.
On Lauren Paolini's performance: Well if she can hit .474 every night I'm always going to be pleased. It adds a different facet to our team. She's pretty much been a .200-.220 hitter and she's had some good nights, but her true position is middle. We've asked her to do a lot while Ashley Engle has been out - hit on the left, hit on the right and do combinations. This allows her to use her speed, her physicality and when she was in tempo she was pretty tough to stop. It adds a different dimension to our offense with her in there. Brandy Magee is really good off of two feet and then with Ashley in there we get to run more combinations and really open up that side of the net. Ashley didn't have that many sets tonight. The other night she had 33 so we need a little bit more balance between those two numbers.
On the offensive balance: We're getting better swings out of transition on the right side. Before that it was pretty much first balls or side out balls that we were getting with Lauren. Michelle has a lot of confidence to set her the back set, which will hold them true and put a lot of pressure on their outside blockers. Now we have both middle blockers that can hit off one foot which allows more combinations and we can do some different things. We'd definitely like to get Jen Doris back in there somehow and work on some additional things with her.
We've got to bring Ashley back in slowly; she's got to get her legs back. She's normally a six-rotation player, but right now we have her at three, just trying to get her going. It is going to be a tough decision for our staff to try and pick who is going to play and who isn't, because Heather Kisner is digging a lot of balls and we're getting a good back row out of Destinee Hooker and Juliann Faucette. It's a good problem to have, and it is going to make our team better.
SOPHOMORE OPPOSITE HITTER Ashley Engle
SENIOR SETTER Michelle Moriarty
On the defense: We have been focusing on it a lot in practice. It is not quite where we wanted it to be tonight, but it has improved. It is something we will keep working on because we need it to keep getting better.
On stopping the Colorado rally in the third game: I think it was just our focus on our side of the net. We gave them a lot of their points with our errors, and it was just cutting out our errors that stopped them from getting points.
On if there have been any changes in the team defense: It is because we have been focusing on it a lot during practice. We set goals before every match now and it really has helped us zero in on blocking on defense.