No. 3 Volleyball rolls past Florida A&M, 3-0
AUSTIN, Texas -- The No. 3 Texas Volleyball team used three double-digit kill performances, including a 14-kill effort by sophomore opposite hitter Ashley Engle to edge Florida A&M, 3-0 Friday night at Gregory Gymnasium.
The Longhorns 30-21, 30-20, 30-20 victory moved UT to 18-3 on the year and 13-1 in Big 12 play, while FAMU fell to 12-6 on the season. Texas out-hit Florida A&M .366-to.132 on the night and out-blocked the Rattlers 13-to-3.
Engle led the Texas attack, notching 14 kills on .462 hitting and adding eight digs, five total blocks and a service ace. Sophomore outside hitter Destinee Hooker posted a team-high 17 kills on .361 hitting, while junior middle blocker Lauren Paolini totaled 13 kills and recorded just one attack error.
In game one, Hooker paced the Texas charge, posting eight kills on 14 swings and leading a 7-0 UT run that gave the Horns an early 9-3 advantage. The Longhorns did not lead by more than six until late in the game when Paolini and Hooker led Texas on a 4-0 run that moved the margin to 29-20. Hooker recorded two kills during the rally and Paolini recorded one kill before teaming with Hooker on a block that setup game-point. Paolini's fourth kill of the game closed out the first frame and gave UT a 30-21 win.
Engle came on strong for Texas in the second stanza, highlighting a 5-0 run that blew open the game and gave the Longhorns a 16-7 edge. The Rattlers battled back to close the lead to five points, however, four kills by Engle down the stretch allowed Texas to stretch the lead back to eight at the 26-18 mark. Florida A&M added two more points, but the Horns closed out the second game at the 30-20 mark on a block by Paolini and senior setter Michelle Moriarty.
The Longhorns took advantage of a series of early kills by Paolini in the third frame, claiming a 14-6 lead on her fourth kill of the game. Senior outside hitter Jen Christian came on late in the game, connecting for three kills to help Texas push its lead to as many as 10, but the Rattlers narrowed the lead to seven at the 27-20 mark, but three straight UT blocks, including junior outside hitter/defensive specialist Kiley Hall's first career block closed out the third game, 30-20.
Moriarty steadied the Texas attack on the night with 53 assists and 12 digs, marking her seventh assist/dig double-double of the season. Paolini led the Longhorns offense with a .545 attack mark and paced the defense with a career-best 10 total blocks. Senior libero Alyson Jennings headlined Texas with 13 digs in the victory and freshman outside hitter Juliann Faucette added 11 digs of her own.
Texas returns to action Wednesday, Nov. 7 when it travels to Lawrence, Kan., to take on Big 12 Conference foe at 7 p.m. CT.
On adjusting to Florida A&M: They played a really deep perimeter and they left open the tips. Our players decided to continue to hit until game three when we started tipping and scoring which made things pretty easy. There are defenses for each system and you have to be able to adjust and make those adjustments.
On Jennifer Doris' performance: She started off a little bit nervous. I actually pulled her over and I said, 'You look really nervous,' to which she replied that she was. I asked her, 'Do you realize that you are playing against the No. 3 team in the country every day?' I said, 'So just relax and know that you can play at this level and improve that all year long.' From that point on she got a little bit more aggressive and confident. That's the experience of being a freshman and getting more playing time. It was valuable to be able to do that and give her some time.
On playing Florida A&M: We didn't know what we would get from Florida A&M. We just know that they usually dominate their opponents and they have a lot of foreigners. In the past, they have been a really strong NCAA team, so we felt that this team was going to win their conference and give us an opportunity to do work on some things and stay fresh.
On Texas' defense: Our defense has always been there, but we haven't been able to put pressure on teams on the defensive side. Now what we are seeing is that we are able to put runs of three, four and sometimes five points in a row. Early on in the season, we weren't able to do that nd we weren't as good. Our defensive speed is better, and it's very important that we be able to compliment our offensive game with our defensive side.
FRESHMAN MIDDLE BLOCKER Jennifer Doris
On learning from players like Brandy Magee and Lauren Paolini: Brandy and Pao are both very good role models and are great people to emulate and learn from. Brandy has helped me tremendously this season, and she is someone who I look up to all the time.
SOPHOMORE OUTSIDE HITTER Destinee Hooker
On what they expected from Florida A&M and how they lived up to those expectations: Well we really didn't have any film on Florida A&M, so we didn't really know what they were going to come out with. We knew that they set to the outside a lot, but that's all we had to go on. Serving wise we knew not to serve to the libero, because she was passing really well. Offensively we just tried to find the holes and place the ball to score. I think we were surprised on both sides. I think we were surprised at how we were playing, and also how they were handling themselves. We could have played better, and they were stepping up their game for us.