Faucette explodes for 22 kills and lifts Volleyball past Kansas, 3-0
AUSTIN, Texas -- The seventh-ranked Texas Volleyball team used a 22-kill outing by freshman outside hitter Juliann Faucette to down Kansas, Saturday night in Big 12 Conference action. The Longhorns 30-14, 30-22, 30-21 victory was the Longhorns' eighth straight win and moved Texas to 12-3, 8-1 Big 12 on the year, while the Jayhawks dropped to 10-9 and 3-6 in league play.
Faucette hit .432 on the night and notched 10 digs to pace the Texas attack and sophomore opposite hitter Ashley Engle posted her second kill/dig double-double of the season with 11 kills and 13 digs. Senior outside hitter Jen Christian joined them in double figures, posting a season-high 10 kills against the Jayhawks.
The Longhorns grabbed control of the match in the early going, leaping out to a 7-1 lead in the first game, after Faucette connected for a pair of kills. Texas widened the margin to 18-6 behind a 6-0 run and two Faucette kills as UT cruised to a 30-14 game-one win.
Texas clinched a quick 5-2 edge in game two on kills by Faucette and Christian, and the Horns rolled easily through the second stanza. Engle paced a 6-0 Texas run that widened the margin to 14-7 and the Horns closed out the game, 30-22 on a Christian kill and a KU error.
In the final stanza, the Longhorns fell behind the Jayhawks, 5-6, but an 8-0 run at the 7-9 mark pushed UT back in front, 15-9. Faucette paced the Texas run with three of her 10 game-three kills, while freshman middle blocker Jennifer Doris contributed a kill and a solo block. The Longhorns were in control from that point on, taking advantage of a 5-0 run fueled by junior middle blocker Lauren Paolini to move the tally to 25-17, closing out the frame, 30-22, on a KU hitting error.
Senior setter Michelle Moriarty steadied the Texas attack on the night with 51 assists and six digs, while senior libero Alyson Jennings highlighted the defense with a match-high 16 digs. Paolini collected nine kills and posted a .444 attack mark in the win and the Longhorns out-hit the Jayhawks .388-to.081.
Texas returns to action at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 17 when it travels to Norman, Okla. to take on Big 12 rival Oklahoma.
On the absence of Destinee Hooker: She's had a little bit of a nagging injury, so we felt tonight would be a good time to put Jen [Christian] in and give Destinee some extra rest this weekend so that she's fresh for this upcoming stretch and not risk anything.
On Jen Christian's performance tonight: It was solid--she's a senior who is very capable and has performed very well for us in the past. I think her role in the team has obviously changed over the years, but she's a vital part of the team, and for her to get in there and have a full match of repetition is important for her.
On preparing for the upcoming stretch of the season: I think we keep getting better. I'm seeing a lot of improvement--I think our passing is smoothing out, we're doing a better job from the service line, but it's also going to be a big challenge. As we have talked about, it's not about where we're ranked, but which team is the best team in the gym on that given night. Oklahoma is a tough place, they're going to be ready and they fight--they've won a lot of 5 game matches--so we're really going to focus on that. Then we have Missouri who's also been playing really well since they last played us, they've done some really good things. The next couple weeks are very important for this program in that we're going to be set up in terms of where we are in the conference and have a very good idea about that.
FRESHMAN OPPOSITE HITTER Juliann Faucette
On the upcoming stretch of games: I'm excited. I think it's a good challenge, especially on the road, because our opponents really good teams. These next few games are going to be really good for the team in terms of getting better.