No. 10 Volleyball sweeps past Texas A&M
Oct. 5, 2011
AUSTIN, Texas - The 10th-ranked Texas Volleyball team made short work of Texas A&M, Wednesday night, cruising to a three-set win in front of 3,919 fans in the first contest of the 2011-12 State Farm Lone Star Showdown. The 25-15, 25-19, 25-23 victory improved the Longhorns to 10-4 on the year and 3-1 in Big 12 play, while the Aggies fell to 13-4 overall and 2-2 in Big 12 play.
This marks the eighth year of the Showdown, the all-sports athletic competition between Texas and Texas A&M. The Longhorns now hold a 0.5-to-0.0 lead in the standings that in order to win, a school must acquire 10.0 points during the year.
Freshman middle blocker Khat Bell headlined the Horns' attack in the win, connecting for a match-best 12 kills and hitting at a career-high .611 clip. Sophomore opposite hitter Bailey Webster joined her in double figures with 10 kills on .421 hitting, while senior All-America middle blocker Rachael Adams posted nine kills and hit a season-best .583.
Texas used an early 6-1 run capped by an Eckerman kill to take a 9-4 edge to begin the first and UT put the set out of reach late with a set-ending 8-1 run fueled by a kill and two block assists by Webster.
In the second frame, Texas jumped out to a quick edge and did not look back, taking advantage of an 8-1 run headlined by the strong serve of junior opposite hitter Sha'Dare McNeal to claim a 16-9 lead. The Aggies fought back to close the margin to four, but Webster was too strong late in the frame and propelled the Horns to a 25-19 set win.
The Aggies kept the tally tight in the third, erasing a 19-17 deficit with a 4-1 run that put A&M in front 21-20. The Horns responded behind an Eckerman kill and three kills from Webster to capture the set, 25-23.
Texas returns to action on Wednesday, Oct. 12 when it plays host to Texas Tech. First serve is set for 7 p.m. Central on Longhorn Network.
Head coach Jerritt Elliott
General statement: Well, I'm pleased. To be able to play a rival and be able to play consistently all the way through was nice to see, especially with making the adjustments in the lineup. Overall, I thought we played really well in game one and two and just kind of let them back in with some errors. It was nice to see us kind of be tested in game three. It was a good win against a good team.
On Texas' setters: Hannah [Allison] did a nice job tonight. Our service was good. We have been kind of evaluating Khat [Bell] and she has been putting up some big kills, but she's been putting up some errors on the out of system swings. So we were a little bit better out of system with that. Obviously, we've got more balance because of her in the middle and she did a great job.
On playing at home: We always love playing at home. We feel like we've got one of the best environments. We've got a great student body that keeps coming out and learning about our sport, which is great. We had a very challenging first four Big 12 games. We have a bye [open weekend] now, which we're going to enjoy. We'll get a little bit of practice in here this week and kind of get some people healthy and get ready for Tech at home next week. We always love playing at home. We've got a great crowd.
Sophomore S Hannah Allison
On beating the Aggies: It feels really good. I think we were pretty pleased with our performance. There was a great crowd that came out and was really fun to play in front of.
On preparing for tonight's game: I think we studied them really well. And we knew what they wanted to do and what we had to do to stop them.
On team cohesion: Volleyball is such a team sport, that it's harder to get that cohesion when there is so much `if, and or buts' about whose ball is whose. But I think with the schedule that we've had, it's really been beneficial to us to challenge us. And that caused us to grow together and come together to find a way to win.
Sophomore RS Bailey Webster
On beating the Aggies: Yeah, it was really exciting, especially that it might be the last time. It was great playing with the team and to do well together as a unit.
On game three: Well, we still wanted to come out strong and do the same things that we were doing in game one and game two. But you know, things are not always perfect in life. We made a few adjustments, but we still kept fighting and ultimately we wanted to win. So, that's what we did.