Engle, Faucette and Hooker pace No. 3 Volleyball past Texas A&M
AUSTIN, Texas -- The No. 3 Texas Volleyball team used five double-digit kill efforts to knock off Big 12 Conference rival Texas A&M, 3-1 in the State Farm Lone Star Showdown Friday night at Gregory Gymnasium. Sophomore outside hitter Destinee Hooker fueled the Longhorns' 30-27, 30-17, 27-30, 30-22 victory with a team-best 22 kills on .432 hitting.
Texas' victory extended its winning streak to 16 matches and moved the Horns to 20-3 on the year and 15-1 in Big 12 play, while the Aggies fell to 18-9 and 7-9 in league play. The Longhorns' loss in game three marked the first time that UT has dropped a game since Oct. 6 when it defeated No. 12 Kansas State in five games.
Hooker added 10 digs to her performance, while freshman outside hitter Juliann Faucette notched 20 kills and 10 digs. Sophomore opposite hitter Ashley Engle added 16 digs on .593 hitting and middle blockers Brandy Magee and Lauren Paolini recorded 10 and 11 digs respectively.
In game one the Aggies played the Longhorns close, but consecutive kills by Faucette and Hooker at the 13-9 mark gave UT a four-point cushion. Texas maintained a lead of at least three points for the duration, spreading its wealth to five hitters who recorded three or more kills in the frame. Faucette recorded three kills late and helped UT stave off a 3-0 run before an Engle kill capped the game, 30-27.
Texas jumped out to an early lead in the second stanza, using a 6-1 run headlined by a block and an ace from Engle to claim a 9-5 edge. Engle added two kills and Faucette added two points as part of a 4-0 run to push the tally to 15-9 and UT blew the game open when they exploded for six straight points to take a 22-12 lead. Three Aggie errors down the stretch and a kill by Magee gave UT a 30-17 game two win.
The Longhorns struggled from the outset in the third stanza, trailing until a Texas A&M error gave Texas its first lead of the game at the 16-15 mark. The score remained close throughout, as the score was tied 16 times and the lead changed six times, however, the Longhorns were unable to finish. Texas led at the 26-25 mark, but a 4-0 Texas A&M run put the Aggies ahead and set up game-point for Sarah Ammerman who closed out the game with a kill that capped the game, 30-27.
The Horns responded in game four by taking a 7-3 lead on two kills each from Engle and Hooker. Texas A&M answered with a 3-0 run that narrowed the margin to 10-8, but a 5-0 Texas run highlighted by three straight points from Magee pushed the UT edge to 17-10. Hooker then hammered out five kills and Faucette connected for two to push the Texas lead to 25-16. The Aggies rallied briefly, but the Horns avoided the threat and closed out the game, 30-22 on Paolini's 11th kill of the game.
Texas out-hit Texas A&M .431-to-.221 on the night and out-blocked the Aggies 10.5-to-6.0. The Longhorns have now hit .348 or better in each of their last 10 matches and have recorded 10 or more blocks in their last seven matches.
Engle recorded 16 kills on 27 swings and posted zero errors in the win, while adding 11 digs and registering her 20th career kill/dig double-double. Faucette registered 10 digs on the night for a kill/dig double-double and senior setter Michelle Moriarty tallied 67 assists and 12 digs to record her 35th career assist/dig double-double. Senior libero Alyson Jennings paced the defense in the win, totaling a match-high 18 digs.
Texas returns to action Wednesday, Nov. 14 when it takes on Texas Tech at 6:30 p.m. in Gregory Gymnasium.
TEXAS POSTGAME QUOTES
On losing third game: I'm not disappointed, because I think if we're only talking about losing one game then we're doing some pretty good stuff. To not lose a game in over a month means a lot. At the timeout between the third and fourth game we talking about how it had to happen eventually and we just wanted to see how we would respond to it. I think there are a lot of lessons to be learned from that game in terms of how to get off to a good start in the fourth game. I think we were down 12-10 and I had to be pretty firm with them. The timeout kind of jumpstarted them and they took their level back up and really started fighting again.
On Ashley Engle's zero attack errors: It's pretty rare. Our goal is always to be at 12 percent hitting errors and we have been surpassing that lately. It has been a focal point for us with Ashley since she came back. Last year she was a perennial high-error attacker, but she is getting better and better and getting to understand the game a little bit more.
On the high number of service errors: It is definitely important to us. We want to miss two serves per game, so we should have had eight, but we had five too many. Destinee wasn't as on as we would have liked, but they are a very hard team to defend because they run a three middle system. There are ones and slides and double quicks and a lot of movement, so you really can't keep them honest with all of the formations that they have. They try to keep you guessing.
SOPHOMORE Ashley Engle
On losing a game: In a way I think it's good. Obviously no one wants to lose but, like coach said there was a lot riding on this match. We had a pretty packed house again and it's A&M. It's a huge rivalry that has been around forever. I think that nothing was really going well for us in that game. Normally when we are playing well and have good energy things just seem to click and go right. For some reason in that third game it wasn't happening. We still fought until the end, but it didn't go our way. I think we responded really well and were able to pull through in the fourth.
SOPHOMORE Destinee Hooker
FRESHMAN Juliann Faucette
On adjusting after a slow third game: I think the other side started adjusting and kicking out on me and giving me some blocks. I think that I had to make a big adjustment with changing my angles. Like coach said, we needed to hit the seams and that was what I was really aiming for to adjust.