Hooker shines as No. 3 Volleyball sweeps Missouri
Oct. 17, 2008
AUSTIN, Texas -- Texas junior All-America outside hitter Destinee Hooker connected for 18 kills and the Longhorns hit .400 as a team in their 3-0 sweep of Missouri, Friday night. The Horns' 25-13, 25-20, 25-14 victory improved UT to 14-2 on the year and 8-1 in Big 12 action, while the Tigers dropped to 9-10 overall and 3-6 in conference play.
After falling behind 4-2 to start the first set, Hooker headlined a 16-4 Texas run, registering four kills, two blocks and a pair of aces during the span. A 3-0 Horns' run pushed the lead to 22-11 and an ace by senior middle blocker Lauren Paolini closed out the frame, 25-13.
In the second set, Mizzou grabbed an early 6-2 edge and held the lead until a block by junior All-America opposite hitter Ashley Engle and Paolini gave Texas its first lead at the 14-13 mark. Hooker and Paolini exploded down the stretch, notching four points each as part of a 9-2 run that moved the tally to 24-17. After three Tigers' points, Hooker closed the frame, 25-20 with her eighth kill of the set.
Texas dominated from the start in the third stanza, leaping out to an 8-2 lead on a pair of kills and a solo block by Engle. The Horns widened the margin to 11 (21-10), putting together an 8-1 run fueled by three kills and a block by Hooker. Texas and Missouri traded points late in the game, but a Hooker kill finished out the set and the match, 25-14.
The Longhorns return to action on Wednesday, Oct. 22 when they travel to Texas Tech. First serve is set for 7 p.m. Central.
On the slow start in the second set: It's something that we're focusing on every day and discussing. There is a level of focus that you've got to have. It's maturity. We talked about it before the game. We need to be mature and not be motivated by external factors. We also need to be devoted to being excellent and setting a standard of excellence within our program. When we're not doing that, we make a lot of errors. This team is not good enough to put it on cruise control. There has to be more urgency. That's what our focus has been and the team has been focusing on. Each time we play, we have another opportunity to create that excellence. It needs to happen sooner than later.
On what was discussed in the timeout taken early in the second set: We took plays off. We weren't transitioning, our blocking wasn't moving our feet, we weren't prepared for over passes. We weren't prepared for the unexpected and again, one of the areas that we've got to get better is our defense and our ball control.
On the team's performance after the second set timeout: This team usually responds when I talk to them. I was pleased. Looking at the stats in regards to what we did in games one and three, it was a different level of focus. They hit .038 and -.040, and we hit .407 and .517. We weren't passing very well; passing struggled tonight.
On the trend of a letdown after a big first set: I don't know if it's just the second game. I think it's predominantly been our second game and it's something that we've got to keep hammering home and they've got to buy into it. They realize it but there's only so much you can do in terms of motivating, pushing and prodding. The leadership has to take that over, the team has to take that over and as soon as they do that, this team can (improve). The good thing is it's fixable; it's not anything they can't fix. It's just a scary standard to set in this kind of conference.
On who is stepping up as a steady leader: I think it's different every night. I think we've got a bunch of good leaders in Ashley [Engle], Juliann [Faucette], Heather [Kisner]. Destinee [Hooker] brings some emotion sometime. Those are the ones that offensively have to carry our team and are the ones that are going to be responsible for it.
SENIOR MIDDLE BLOCKER Lauren Paolini
On what coach told the players during the timeout early in the second set: He just pulled us aside and said get back to it, find your rhythm. We've been focusing on this a lot this season because we have won a big first game and have come back lax in the second game. We just haven't come out well. He kind of pulled us aside and reminded us of that and told us to pick it up.
JUNIOR OUTSIDE HITTER Destinee Hooker
On her eight-kill performance in the second game: I think after that timeout, our passes started getting better and the sets got better. With Ashley coming in setting, Pao (Paolini) setting me one ball, I think us finding our rhythm as a whole allowed me to get eight kills. Without the passing and the sets, I would have nothing.