No. 7 Volleyball wins 14th straight with 3-0 sweep of No. 16 Kansas State
Nov. 2, 2012
AUSTIN, Texas -- Sophomore All-America outside hitter Haley Eckerman led the No. 7 Texas Longhorns with 17 kills Friday in their 3-0 sweep (25-18, 25-22, 25-19) over the No. 16 Kansas State. Freshman middle blocker Molly McCage had a season-high 10 kills for the second game in a row, while recording a .500 clip (10-2-16). With this win, UT ties the best start in conference play under head coach Jerritt Elliott, advancing to 12-0 in conference play.
Texas (20-3, 12-0) won its 14th consecutive match this season and reached the 20-win plateau for the ninth straight year in the program's history.
Sophomore middle blocker/outside hitter Khat Bell recorded a season-high two service aces, as well as five kills on 12 attempts with no errors (.417), two digs and two blocks. Junior All-America Bailey Webster added 13 kills on 32 attempts with two errors (.323), as well as three digs and five blocks, while junior setter Hannah Allison contributed 46 assists, one service ace, 10 digs and four blocks.
The Wildcats (20-4, 7-4) were led by Kaitlynn Pelger with 12 kills, two assists, one service ace, two digs and four blocks. Alex Muff added 11 kills while hitting .455 with three blocks.
It was a strong start for the Longhorns, who opened the first set with five unanswered points on Eckerman's serve. It was a set that highlighted UT's offensive balance with Eckerman recording five kills, McCage adding four and Webster with three.
The second set was an evenly matched battle between the Horns and Wildcats with a total of 11 tied scores and four lead changes. Down 20-19, Texas launched a 6-2 run to close out the set, which featured a pair of kills from Eckerman--who had a total of seven in the set--as well as a service ace from Bell.
Early in the third, back-to-back Webster kills tied the score at six. Trailing 15-13, Texas launched four unanswered points for a lead Kansas State would not be able to surmount. A kill from McCage, who had four total in the set, at match point closed out the match. Eckerman and Bailey each recorded five kills in final set.
Texas will have an eight-day layoff before its next match as the Longhorns travel to Kansas for a Big 12 contest on Saturday (Nov. 10) at 6:30 p.m. Gametracker live stats will be available on TexasSports.com and a live Twitter feed @TexasVolleyball.
Notes: Texas is 60-33 against ranked opponents since the 2004 season and 32-7 at home...Texas is now 8-3 this season against ranked opponents...Texas is now 29-7 all-time against Kansas State...Hannah Allison moved into ninth place on UT's career list for assists, passing Pavlina Steffkova (1996-97)...Allison now has 2,379 assists and trails Michelle Kocher (2008-11) for eighth place with 2,679 assists...Bailey Webster tied her season best with five blocks...Haley Eckerman is averaging 4.55 kills per set at home this season...the Longhorns are hitting .301 in Gregory Gym this season while holding opponents to a .155 hitting clip.
KSU 18-22-19 TEXAS 25-25-25
Texas head coach Jerritt Elliott
On any special preparation for Kansas match: Yeah we will get ready for them. The special thing that we are doing is give this team two days off. That is well deserved, they have worked really hard, and tonight, they have battled emotionally and physically to get to the point and I am very proud of them for how they handled themselves in that situation. It will give us some time as a staff to get ready and prepare. Biggest thing is we will get them emotionally and physically healthy and with the bye, it will give us more days to prepare for them and a little bit more opportunities to kind of go through what they do and try to counteract that. That gym will be so loud. It will be a loud environment, which is great experience for us, and we just got that from TCU. We should be able to deal with the nerves a little bit more, we should be able to play at a high level, but obviously we want to go undefeated but we want to be tested at a high level and be challenged. Kansas will be able to do that and they're in a position right now that it is a must win for them. That game will determine who is a Big 12 champ--at least for us because we have four more games to go, we are up by two but if we should be able to win that, they will have three losses and we will be in a good position to win the Big 12, which is a gigantic honor with so many good teams.
On how the team battled tonight: Kansas State is very well coached. They are disciplined, they don't make a whole lot of errors, and they make you be good. They came out and hit very well in set 2. We, again, are just staying steady with our game. We weren't playing exceptionally well, we stayed steady emotionally, and we found that what happens lately is that when we are getting closer to the end of the game, their concentration goes to a whole other level and we make plays. You learn a lot about your team in those situations and we are pleased with that and the way they are developing in that area.
On thoughts about setter Hannah Allison's consistency: She is getting comfortable in the 5-1. She is also getting very comfortable with herself in terms of how to be coached, how to manage the game, and her ability to be calm in situations and knowing what to look at has really improved. She is also improving because she is getting confidence with our middles, our opposites and being able to run more with a diverse offense. It has taken some time and we have known that so we have worked on it every single day in practice. It goes a little bit to Hannah and a lot to our middles too in terms of the trust they are building with them. When you see our stat book, you can see that the balance is more and she is doing a good job distributing that and doing a great job leading our team.
Sophomore outside hitter Haley Eckerman
On biggest improvement for team this season: I think just staying calm at moments. In the beginning of the season when we were down, everything was all over the place and now, like Coach said, when it comes down to that crunch time we are doing a lot better and staying focused on one point at a time.
Freshman middle blocker Molly McCage
On what this means for the team to get its first Big 12 win: I think right now we are focusing on our next game and next opponent. This does feel good to win but we need to move forward, look ahead, and get better day by day because we still have a lot to work on. So we are going to take what we learned this game and keep moving forward.