No. 9 Volleyball rallies for five-set win at No. 15 Louisville
Oct. 8, 2012
LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- Sophomore All-America outside hitter Haley Eckerman posted career highs with 27 kills and 23 digs Monday as the No. 9 Texas Longhorns rallied for the five-set win against the host No. 15 Louisville Cardinals (21-25, 25-18, 21-25, 26-24, 15-10) in a non-conference match. The match was played at the KFC Yum! Center, site of the 2012 NCAA Championship in December.
The Longhorns (14-3) won their season-high eighth-straight match as senior Sha'Dare McNeal added 13 kills and five blocks with a career-high 20 digs. Bailey Webster had 14 kills and seven digs while junior setter Hannah Allison registered a career-high 61 assists. Freshman Molly McCage recorded a season-high eight kills.
Lola Arslanbekova led all players with 29 kills for Louisville (16-3) and 17 digs while Caitlin Welch posted 37 digs. Gwen Rucker hit .379 on 14 kills and seven blocks.
After trailing 4-3 in the first set, Texas used a 5-1 run to lead by an 8-5 score. Three straight hitting errors by the Longhorns tied it. Both teams would side out through the middle of the set with neither team building a two-point lead until Louisville snapped an 18-17 deficit with four straight points. Arslanbekova figured for two more kills as the Cardinals handed the Longhorns their first set loss in eight matches.
At 8-8, Rucker won the joust at the net before UT scored four straight points. Louisville mounted a 4-1 run to tie it at 13-13. Eckerman's kill followed by a McNeal service ace helped Texas gain the advantage at 16-13. Webster went back-to-back as the Horns would lead by five, 20-15. Eckerman tied the match with a solo block on the left side.
It was another even start in set three as both teams played to a 10-10 tie. Texas had two overpass kills to take the 13-10 lead, but the Cardinals used two kills by Emily Juhl to tie it at 14-14. Arslanbekova tied it at 17-17 as her kill sparked four straight points for the Cardinals. Texas came back to tie it at 20-20, but a 5-1 run by the Cardinals would finish off the set.
It was an even set in the fourth as neither team could build a lead until late. Webster broke a 19-19 tie as the Longhorns scored twice, but the Cardinals put Texas on the ropes with a 4-1 run to take the 23-22 lead. Bell and McNeal gave set point to the Longhorns, but a service error tied it at 24-24. Eckerman delivered again and a hitting miscue by Louisville forced a fifth set.
Trailing 3-1 in the fifth, Texas took advantage of a service error by the Cardinals. Back-to-back stuffs gave a 4-3 advantage to the Longhorns. Arslanbekova tied it, but another service error gave the lead to Texas for good. UT had the 8-5 lead at the court switch. Eckerman figured in two kills while Webster added another as Texas took the commanding 13-7 lead before earning the road victory.
Texas resumes Big 12 play this Friday (Oct. 12) with a 7:30 p.m. match at home against Kansas. The match will be broadcast live on Longhorn Network. An audio webcast and Gametracker live stats will be available on TexasSports.com with live Twitter updates @TexasVolleyball.
Notes: Texas entered the match ranked No. 8 in the latest RPI ratings released by the NCAA while Louisville was No. 4 in the nation...Texas is now 4-3 this season against ranked opponents...Texas is now 3-0 all-time against Louisville...the eight-match win streak is the longest since the Longhorns won 16 straight last season...Haley Eckerman's previous best for kills was 23 (set twice) while she bested her career high for digs (11) set on Saturday at Kansas State...Eckerman, who earlier today was named Big 12 Offensive Player of the Week, is now averaging 4.61 kills per set this season...Hannah Allison's previous career high for assists was 58, set vs. Missouri on Sept. 22, 2010...Sha'Dare McNeal's previous best for digs was 15, set on Nov. 24, 2010, against Texas A&M...Sarah Palmer was two digs away from tying her career high of 26...tonight's match was only the second five-set match this season for Texas after the Longhorns lost at home to Illinois (Sept. 14)...Texas, which leads the nation in blocking, recorded 11 blocks...Texas is now 12-1 this season when the Longhorns out-block their opponent...Monday was the first time during the current eight-match streak that the Longhorns have hit below the .260 mark.
TEXAS 21-25-21-26-15 UL 25-18-25-24-10