No. 10 Volleyball upends No. 2 Nebraska, 3-1
Oct. 27, 2010
AUSTIN, Texas -- The 10th-ranked Texas Volleyball team continued its home court dominance against No. 2 Nebraska, downing the Huskers for the fourth-straight time at Gregory Gymnasium. The 25-15, 25-19, 25-27, 27-25 victory was the Longhorns' fifth win over the Huskers in its last six chances and the sixth win over NU for the UT senior class. The win improved Texas to 15-5 overall and 10-2 in Big 12 play, while Nebraska dropped to 19-2 and 11-1 in league action.
Junior outside hitter Amber Roberson led the Horns attack with her second career kill/dig double-double, tallying 16 kills and 12 digs. Senior All-America outside hitter Juliann Faucette joined her in double digits with 14 kills and 15 digs to notch her 17th career double-double. Junior setter Michelle Kocher was solid at the helm of the offense, dishing out 49 assists and equaling a career high with 13 digs.
In the first set, Texas jumped out to a quick 6-2 lead on a pair of kills by Roberson and widened the margin to 14-7 behind a block and a kill by senior middle blocker Jennifer Doris. A 5-1 Nebraska run shrank the UT advantage to 18-14 before the Horns went on a 7-1 set-closing run that was fueled by two kills and a block by Doris and lifted Texas to a 25-15 set win.
Texas used an early 7-1 rally in the second with three Faucette kills helping UT overcome an early deficit and take a 7-4 lead. Nebraska battled back to even the set at 12 on a kill by Jordan Wilberger, but Texas answered quickly with a 5-0 run capped by a double-block from Faucette and junior middle blocker Rachael Adams to take a 17-12 lead. The Huskers shrank the Horns lead to two before a kill and a block by Roberson paced a 4-1 set-ending run that gave UT a 25-19 victory.
In the third frame, a kill by sophomore opposite hitter Sha'Dare McNeal gave UT a 6-3 lead to start the set. Nebraska stormed back behind a 6-1 run keyed by four kills from Hannah Werth to grab a 12-9 advantage. A 5-0 Longhorns' run aided by an ace and a block by Roberson moved the Horns ahead, 14-12, but the Huskers fought back to even the set at 17. Doris helped the Horns rally to forge ahead 22-19 and a kill by Faucette forced set point at the 24-23 mark. Nebraska quickly turned the tables with Wilberger tallying a block and a kill and UT committing an error that propelled NU to a 27-25 set win.
The Longhorns played determined volleyball in the fourth, keeping the score tight out of the gate before taking advantage of two Nebraska miscues to grab an 11-8 lead. Texas pieced together a 6-0 run headlined by three Roberson kills to push its lead to 20-13, but the lead shrank quickly as NU launched a 6-1 run of its own to narrow the edge to 21-19. Three kills by Faucette down the stretch forced set point at the 24-22 mark, however, Nebraska twice tied the set before the Horns could close the door. Roberson connected for two-straight kills to cap the match and lift UT to a 27-25 win.
Texas returns to action on Saturday, Oct. 30 when it travels to Colorado. First serve is set for 5 p.m. Central.
· Texas' victory over Nebraska extended its season-best winning streak to seven and snapped the Huskers 18-match winning streak.
· Texas has now won its last 21 Big 12 Conference home matches.
· The win improved the Longhorns all-time record against the Huskers to 17-30 and 11-10 in Austin.
· UT's senior class has won six of its nine career matches against Nebraska, including an undefeated mark at Gregory Gymnasium.
· Juliann Faucette's kill/dig double-double was her second of the year and 16th of her career.
· Michelle Kocher's assist/dig double-double was her first of the year and seventh of her career.
· Amber Roberson's kill/dig double-double was her second of the year and second of her career.
On what this game says about the team's resilience: We didn't play well in the beginning of the year. This team wasn't used to losing, they have a lot of pride. They've come back and worked hard in the gym every single day, and that's what builds the character and the trust. They've individually taken accountability. Each player has grown and as a team we have grown. Our passing has gotten significantly better, our attack has gotten better. We have different players that are able to step up. I just feel really good about our personality as a team. Sometimes you feel that you have a group that is going to fight and find a way to win and grow, and this team is one of those teams. It's really difficult for this group, because we really have no subs, so they have to come in night in and night out training. They're building a lot of confidence. It's nice to see, as a coach, that when they work that hard and they're doing the things you ask, they get the payout at the end.
Senior Juliann Faucette
On how this win feels as a senior: When I was out there, and even prior to the match, I wasn't thinking about being a senior, or even that this would be the last time I'd play Nebraska in conference. I was just thinking about winning this game, and doing it with my team, who have worked so hard all year. These are the matches that you work so hard for, and to see our team go out there and fight for every single play, and go out there and get the win, that's what counts. It feels great as a senior to know that we have them 4-0 on our home court, but tonight, it just counts that we won the game.
On having the most wins of any Longhorn player against Nebraska: I think it says a lot about the program. Four years, Jen [Doris] and I have been here, and like I said, the Nebraska rivalry has been pretty huge. It just says a lot about the players that came before us, to first of all, establish the rivalry against such a great program like Nebraska, and second of all, to win against them and have that 4-0 against them on our home court.
On if this game is a testament to how far the team has come: Absolutely. I think you look at our team at the beginning and now. All the things we've been through with injuries and different lineups, you have to build character through that. And I think that's what we've been doing every day in the practice gym and off-the-court building chemistry and getting to know each player, and figuring out what we need to do to peak. Each step of the way and each game, it's shown a little more.
Setter Michelle Kocher
Outside hitter Amber Roberson
Nebraska head coach John Cook
On if he feels that his team has been pushed harder than when at Texas: Probably not. Texas played a lot better here than they did in Lincoln, and like I said, the first two games were a comedy of errors on our part. We just were erroring ourselves out of the match. Against a top 10 team, you can't just sit there and give them points. You've got to make them earn points. That was disappointing the first two games, but I like how we responded, and all of our goals are still intact. This was just one match in the Big 12, and we still control our destiny.
On if the rivalry between Texas and Nebraska will be the same in years to come: I'm sure there will be. That's going to hang around for a while, I think.
On how the team will recover from the loss: I think we'll be fine. I think we learned a lot from this match, and I think they have a great perspective. I think it's a great opportunity for our seniors to now really step up leadership-wise and walk the talk and lead this team with what we've got to do. It was a great opportunity. We knew this was going to be a tough match. We played well, we played better in games three and four, but we still, we were undisciplined at times, we made key mistakes at times. We didn't make them pay when we had chances. We let them off the hook too many times. It would have been interesting if we could have won game four to see what game five was like. It would have been a fun game. Texas did a nice job, and Juliann [Faucette] stepped up. Got a big kill there when they needed it.
On how different the team was during this game compared to earlier in the year: The only difference was the setter. I've always thought [Michelle] Kocher was a great setter, but you know, everybody says how Texas lost Destinee [Hooker], but there are still five kids out there that played for the national championship and were on the court last year. That's a very experienced team. Kocher is a very experienced setter, and sometimes, when you have injuries like that it makes coaching decisions really easy. I think Kocher is doing a really nice job.
On what the team could have improved on during the game tonight: Well, we came out and started missing serves early, I thought we got back in games three and four and were attacking with our serves a little more, but again, Jerritt calls a time out in game four and Tara (Mueller) serves into the bottom of the net. We haven't served a ball in the net in probably six weeks in a match and great teams can't do that. You can't let Texas off the hook, especially when we had momentum.
On the atmosphere at Gregory Gym: This is a great venue for volleyball. It reminds me a lot of the Coliseum, same type of building, campus rec facility as well, it gets loud and the crowd gets into it. It was fun. Our players enjoy this, and this is the way it should be in college volleyball.