No. 8 Volleyball sweeps past Kansas
AUSTIN, Texas -- Freshman outside hitter Destinee Hooker hammered out a match-high 15 kills and three other Longhorns recorded double figure kill totals as No. 8 Texas dropped Kansas, 3-0 (30-20, 30-25, 30-20), Wednesday night at Gregory Gym. Texas (16-5, 11-3 Big 12) out-hit Kansas (10-13, 3-11 Big 12) .349-to-.159 in the match, while recording nine total block to the Jayhawks two.
The Horns started game one on a 7-1 run, with Hooker tallying two kills and a block assist during the stretch. Sophomore middle blocker Lauren Paolini recorded two kills and a pair of block assists during the run that included five straight Texas points. Texas responded to a Kansas rally at the 9-6 mark, rattling off five straight points to claim a 14-6 advantage. Senior middle blocker Jennifer Todd helped pace the Horns during the run with two of her six game-one kills.
"We came out steady and played well together," commented Todd. "I think the way we played as a team really contributed to our win tonight."
Kansas closed the margin to four on a Jana Correa kill at the 16-12 mark, but Texas responded with a 5-1 run that pushed the UT edge to 21-13. The Horns extended the margin to nine on a Todd kill and she moved the lead to 10 with a kill that gave Texas a 27-17 lead. Paolini registered a kill at the 28-20 mark to force game point, and on the next point she combined with Ashley Engle on a block to close out the game, 30-20.
After falling behind early in game one, Texas rallied quickly with a 4-0 run to take an 8-3 advantage. Kansas closed the gap to three at the 12-9 mark on an Emily Brown kill, but Texas pushed the lead back to five on back-to-back kills by Todd to put the Horns ahead, 18-13. The Jayhawks would keep the tally close from that point on, but in the end Hooker and the Horns were too much, as UT finished off KU, 30-25. Hooker sparked the Horns attack in game two with six kills on .357 hitting, while Paolini recorded four block assists.
"I thought our offense was strong and we passed very well tonight," Jen Christian noted. "We've been working really hard on our blocking as well, and I am really proud of the way we came out and competed at the net tonight."
Texas took the lead to start the third stanza and it would never look back, using seven game-three kills from Christian to finish off the sweep. The Horns used an early 3-0 run headlined by a Christian kill to take a 9-4 edge. Kansas stayed within three for most of the match, but two straight kills by Christian and a KU error helped push the Texas lead to 20-13. Hooker and Engle combined on a 3-0 run at the 21-16 mark that moved the UT advantage to 24-16. From that point on, the Longhorns would not look back, using kills by four different players down the stretch to finish off the Jayhawks, 30-20.
"Jen (Christian) has been working very hard in the practice gym and she was very productive for us tonight," Elliott said. "She's playing well with more range, and as she becomes more steady, her confidence is increasing."
Hooker highlighted the Texas attack on the night with 15 kills on .364 hitting, while Paolini, Todd and Christian each finished with 10 kills apiece. Todd and Christian hit at a .400 clip in the match and Paolini hit .450 in addition to recording a career-high seven block assists. Engle anchored the Horns' defense with a match-high 13 digs, while Alyson Jennings tallied 10 digs.
Texas returns to action Saturday, Nov. 4 when it travels to Waco, Texas to take on the Baylor Bears. First serve is set for 7 p.m.