No. 8 Volleyball powers past Texas A&M, 3-0
AUSTIN, Texas -- Freshmen Ashley Engle and Destinee Hooker combined for 25 kills to lead No. 8 Texas to a 3-0 (30-22, 30-16, 30-18) sweep of Texas A&M, Wednesday night at Gregory Gym. The victory marked the fifth straight time that the Horns have knocked off the Aggies and was the ninth consecutive match Hooker has notched double digits in kills.
Texas (18-5, 13-3 Big 12) fell behind early in game one, but rallied back behind a 5-0 run to claim a 16-13 lead. Engle highlighted the run with two straight kills that knotted the score at 13-13, while two A&M errors combined with an Engle ace pushed the advantage to 16-13. Texas A&M (11-13, 4-12 Big 12) kept the margin at two until UT put together a 6-1 run paced by three Engle kills to move its edge to 25-19. Kelly Stanton ended the Texas run with a kill that moved the tally to 25-20, but back-to-back kills by Jen Christian gave the Horns a 27-20 lead. An Aggie error forced game point for the Longhorns and junior setter Michelle Moriarty connected for one of her four kills to close out game one, 30-22.
Engle recorded seven kills on 11 swings in game one, hitting at a .750 clip, while Hooker hammered out five kills on .625 hitting.
"We were very consistent tonight and I think that really contributed to our win," commented Engle. "We've been working really hard at practice lately, and I think that hard work is showing up in our games."
After trailing 3-0 to start game two, senior middle blocker Jennifer Todd put Texas back in front with a pair of kills that gave the Horns a 6-5 advantage. The Horns extended their lead at the 11-8 mark, running off five straight points to push the margin to eight. During the run Engle and Christian produced back-to-back solo blocks, while A&M committed two attack errors. Texas continued to dominate from that point forward, using two kills and two aces by Engle in its 13-2 run that extended the margin to 24-10.
"It's always fun to play an in-state rival like Texas A&M," said Christian. "Our fans are great and they created a really fun atmosphere tonight."
The Aggies managed a 3-0 run to narrow the gap to 10 points, but the Horns responded with a 4-0 run of their own, highlighted by a Kiley Hall ace and a RuthAnn Feist kill that forced game point. Feist and senior setter Jenny Andrew came up with the final point of the game, blocking Mary Batis' attack and lifting UT to a 30-16 victory.
In game three Hooker took over for the Horns, connecting for seven kills on eight attacks, while committing zero errors. Texas claimed a 1-0 edge on an Engle kill and it would never look back, pushing the lead to five on a Hooker kill at the 15-10 mark, and then exploding on a 10-1 run to take a 12 point lead. Hooker headlined the Horns during the run, registering three kills, while the Aggies committed four attack errors.
Texas A&M closed the gap to nine at the 25-16 mark, but a 4-1 Texas run, paced by a kill, block and ace from Engle moved the tally to 29-17. The Horns clinched the match with a 30-18 game three victory on an Aggies service error.
"I'm very pleased with our performance tonight," noted head coach Jerritt Elliott. "We had a low margin of error and were excelled in the serve and receive game."
Engle recorded a team-high 13 kills on the night, hitting at a .310 clip, totaling seven digs and connecting for five service aces. Hooker added 12 kills on 19 attacks, committing zero errors and hitting .632 for the night. Moriarty added 38 assists and seven digs in the match, while hitting .571 and equaling a season-high with four kills. Junior libero Alyson Jennings steadied the UT defense with a team-high 13 digs in the match.
Texas returns to action Saturday, Nov. 11 when it plays host to No. 25 Missouri at Gregory Gym. First serve is set for 6:30 p.m.