Oct. 29, 2008
AUSTIN, Texas -- Junior All-America outside hitter Destinee Hooker connected for 23 kills and 20 digs as the No. 3 Texas Volleyball team fell to Oklahoma, 3-2 Wednesday night at Gregory Gymnasium. The 21-25, 25-9, 25-22, 23-25, 13-15 loss snapped the Longhorns' 23-match home winning streak and dropped UT to 16-3 and 9-2 in the Big 12, while Oklahoma improved to 9-12 and 5-8 in league action.
Texas fell behind early in the first set and did not claim its first lead until a kill by sophomore All-America outside hitter Juliann Faucette gave the Horns a 9-8 lead. Oklahoma regained the edge at the 14-13 mark, but UT battled back to take a 17-16 advantage on a Faucette kill. The Sooners kept the tally tight down the stretch and put together a 4-0 run to close out the frame and earn a 25-21 set win.
The Longhorns came out red-hot in the second frame, using two kills and a block by sophomore middle blocker Jennifer Doris to pace a 10-0 UT run that gave the Horns a 10-1 lead. Hooker pushed the lead to 14-4 with a solo block and Faucette teamed with Doris on a block to move the lead to 18-7. Texas closed out the set on a 7-2 run, notching a 25-9 win and marking the first time UT has held an opponent under 10 points since 2002.
In the third, the Horns trailed early and did not earn the lead until a 4-0 run gave UT an 11-9 advantage. A kill by senior All-America middle blocker Lauren Paolini widened the margin to three (14-11) and a 4-0 run fueled by a Hooker block and kill pushed the tally to 19-14. Oklahoma fought back to knot the set at 22, but a 3-0 run capped by a Hooker kill closed out the stanza, 25-22.
Texas struggled in the fourth, falling behind 12-9 when a Caitlin Higgins kill ended a 4-0 OU run. The Longhorns battled back from 19-14 deficit, using an 8-2 run headlined by two Faucette aces to knot the score at 20. The Sooners answered with two straight points, but Texas responded to tie the game at 22. A late 3-1 OU run finished out the set, 25-23 and evened the match at two sets apiece.
In the fifth, Texas led until the 3-2 mark, when Engle connected on her third kill of the set. Oklahoma took the lead at the 4-3 mark and led until the Horns evened the tally at eight. The Sooners answered by pushing the tally to 14-10, but UT responded with two straight points to move the score to 14-13. Texas failed to even the score and OU shut the door 15-13 on a kill Francie Ekwerekwu.
The Longhorns return to action on Saturday, Nov. 1 when they host Texas A&M in the State Farm Lone Star Showdown. First serve is set for 5 p.m.
· Texas' loss dropped the Horns' all-time record to 33-2 all-time against the Sooners.
· The loss snapped Texas' 23-match home winning streak that dated back to Sept. 6, 2007.
· Destinee Hooker's 23-kill, 20-dig effort was her second kill/dig double-double of the year and her 20 digs set a new career-high.
· When UT held OU to nine points in the second set it marked the first time Texas had held an opponent to a sub-10 score since Sept. 7, 2002. The Longhorns limited UT San Antonio to six points in the previous occurrence.
HEAD COACH Jerritt Elliott
Opening statement: Hats off to Oklahoma, they played great. They played good defense. They wanted it just a little bit more than we did. They showed up to play. We had a tough time executing on the defensive side. We struggled all night long playing as a group and trying to develop some systems and as a result, Oklahoma beats us.
On what Oklahoma did well tonight: They played very good defense and they passed well, better than they did the first time we played them.
On if there was anything different OU did: They didn't play any different. We didn't execute anything that we tried to do from the scouting report and in the match. The shots that we took away, we couldn't answer with our own points. You can't do that and give them their power shots, because they are going to be successful.
On what he told the team during the timeouts in the 4th and 5th sets: We were talking about strategy, like where to block, what to deny and what plays were coming at them. I talked to them about enjoying the success of their teammates.
On what the team struggled with tonight: We never really found our groove. In game two, we got a little bit of rhythm and they struggled in their rotation, which gave us a huge lead. But, we played relaxed from that point on and our scores proved that. In games one, three, four and five, we never had a rhythm.
On what the team needs to work on from here on out: I think we've been improving every day. We had some people out yesterday at practice, and it goes back to the fact that you have to show up to practice every day to be good. Sports are a very fragile thing, and if you don't put the work in on a daily basis, it can unravel pretty fast.
On what he told the team they must do for the rest of the season: We really don't have a choice. We need some big help from somebody in the Big 12 to contend for the Big 12 Championship. From the get go, it's always been about us getting better on a daily basis, and I felt like we've taken four or five steps forward the last three or four weeks, but tonight was obviously a step back. If we can get back in the gym and do what we need to do, then we can continue to stride. This team is extremely talented and they are capable of playing at a very high level. That's the challenge.
On if there is any positive he can draw from this: Yeah, I think the positive is that tonight showed how fragile sports are. It showed that you have to be focused, player and team driven to be prepared. For 25 points, you have to show up and play at a very high level. In the second round, every one is scrambling for NCAA Tournament spots.
JUNIOR OPPOSITE HITTER Ashley Engle
On her feelings after the loss: Not so good. Pretty much what coach said was right; they showed up, we didn't. They kind of got us on our heels and we just didn't respond. They obviously played great, but we definitely didn't play anywhere near what we're capable of. Obviously you can see by the score of the second game what we're capable of. We couldn't hang in crunch time.
On the win in the second set: We played Texas volleyball in the second game. The other games, we didn't.
On whether Oklahoma played better than their first match up in Norman: I'd say most teams are going to be improving throughout the season. They were doing pretty much the same things they were doing the first time. They were just finding spots and scoring. We just weren't making the adjustments that needed to be made.
On how the team will regroup after the loss: It's definitely not a good feeling, but it's one game and if this defines our entire season, then we're not the team I thought we were. Obviously tonight didn't prove what we thought we were capable of.
SENIOR MIDDLE BLOCKER Lauren Paolini
On what happened after wins in the second and third sets: I think it wasn't only a lack of communication, it was a lack of execution and a lack of trust. Our whole team system broke down. I think it's something we've been struggling with a lot this year, but we've found a way to pull games out and it finally came back and bit us.
On how the team will regroup after the loss: I think we just have to refocus, get back together and keep working hard in the gym.