No. 10 Volleyball tops Texas A&M
COLLEGE STATION, Texas -- The 10th ranked Texas volleyball team used five double figure kill performances, highlighted by an 18-kill, .417 hitting performance by freshman outside hitter Destinee Hooker to down Texas A&M, 3-1 (30-23, 23-30, 30-22, 30-17), Friday night in front of a crowd of 3,555 at G. Rollie White Coliseum. Texas' victory pushed the Horns' current winning streak to four matches, its longest streak of the 2006 season.
"I'm proud of our team for playing the way they did in front of one of the best crowds in the country," head coach Jerritt Elliott said. "I thought we did a nice job in the serve and pass game and we executed very well."
After falling behind 3-1 early, Texas rallied back behind a 5-0 run paced by a pair of Ashley Engle kills to take an 8-4 edge. The Longhorns extended their lead to 11-5 on a Destinee Hooker kill and a pair of A&M errors, but the Aggies came storming back using several short runs and game-tying ace by Kesley Bryant to knot the game at 17-17. A 3-0 run highlighted by kills from Leticia Armstrong and Dariam Acevedo pushed UT back in front, 23-20 and three straight A&M errors pushed the margin to 27-21. Hooker eventually closed out the game with kills on consecutive points to hand Texas a 30-23 game one victory.
Texas A&M grabbed a 1-0 lead to start the second game and held the lead for the duration of the second stanza. The Horns rallied back to tied the game at 6-6 on an Aggies attack error, but four two-point spurts moved the Aggies back in front, 16-10. One of Jennifer Todd's six game-two kills pulled UT within four at the 19-15 mark, but that would be as close as the Horns would get. The Aggies used a late 3-0 run capped by a Bryant kill to push the tally to 25-18 and it was all A&M down the stretch, closing the game out, 30-23. Texas A&M out-hit Texas .394-to-.162 for the game, committing four errors to the Horns 10 miscues.
Engle sparked the Texas attack in game three accounting for five of Texas' first ten points and clinching the Horns first lead of the game with a kill at the 9-8 mark. Kills from Engle and Hooker pushed the Texas lead to 12-9 and another Engle kill along with an A&M error widened the margin to 14-10. Two straight kills by Engle stretched the Texas advantage to 20-15 and a 4-0 UT run that followed moved the lead to its widest gap at 24-16. Acevedo added two kills down the stretch for the Longhorns to push the tally to 28-19, and two Todd kills closed out the game, 30-22. Engle recorded seven kills in the game while Hooker added six on .417 hitting.
"I think it's awesome to be part of this rivalry and get a chance to play in front of the crowd and do what I can do to help my team," Todd commented.
Texas used a pair of Hooker kills and four consecutive A&M errors to start game one to grab a quick 6-1 advantage. The Aggies responded with a 3-0 run, but the Horns followed the run with a 3-0 run of their own, highlighted by kills from Hooker and Acevedo. Todd helped Texas blow the match open at the 19-13 mark, when UT ran off five straight points, including a kill and two block assists by Todd. The Texas rallied pushed the Horns lead to 24-13 and two late kills by Acevedo and Hooker closed out the final game, 30-17.
Hooker led the team with a team-high 18 kills, while Engle registered her fifth straight kill/dig double-double with 14 kills and 11 digs. Acevedo and Todd tallied 12 kills apiece on the night, with Todd hitting at a .435 clip on 23 swings and Acevedo adding 10 kills and four total blocks to her line. Armstrong chipped in with 11 kills on .409 hitting, while Alyson Jennings recorded 13 digs to lead the defense.
No. 10 Texas returns to action Wednesday, Oct. 18 when it welcomes No. 1 Nebraska to Gregory Gym for a Top 10 showdown. The match will be televised nationally on ESPNU, and first serve is scheduled for 6:30 p.m.