Hooker leads No. 3 Volleyball past Texas Tech, 3-0
AUSTIN, Texas -- Texas sophomore outside hitter Destinee Hooker recorded her sixth kill/dig double-double of her career to lead the third-ranked Longhorns to a 3-0 sweep of Texas Tech, Wednesday night at Gregory Gymnasium. Hooker registered 14 kills on .360 hitting and added 10 digs and three service aces in the win.
Texas' 30-14, 30-15, 30-24 victory extended the Longhorns winning streak to 17 matches and moved the Horns to 12-0 at home this season. The win pushed UT's season mark to 21-3 and 16-1 in the Big 12, while Tech fell to 7-20 overall and 1-17 in league play.
Freshman outside hitter Juliann Faucette joined Hooker in double-digits with 10 kills on .304 hitting, while sophomore opposite hitter Ashley Engle posted eight kills, a .462 attack mark and a pair of service aces.
The Longhorns fell behind early in the first frame, but an 8-1 Texas run highlighted by a kill and two aces from Hooker put UT ahead, 13-7. Texas widened the margin to 14 at the 24-10 mark, taking advantage of a 9-1 run capped by a Hooker kill that gave the Longhorns control of the game. Faucette came on strong down the stretch, notching a solo block and eventually adding the game-ending kill to close the stanza, 30-14.
Texas dominated from the outset in the second game, holding Tech to .000 hitting for the second straight game. Engle helped the Horns grab an early lead, pacing a 5-0 run with two kills and a block assist to give UT a 9-3 edge. The Longhorns pushed the gap to 11 when Faucette capped a 6-1 run with back-to-back kills and gave Texas a 17-6 lead. The Red Raiders tried to contain the Longhorns down the stretch, but a 5-0 run fueled by a kill and block from Engle lifted Texas to a 30-15 win.
In game three, Texas head coach Jerritt Elliott elected to rest three of his starters and experimented with different lineups, resulting in a much tighter third game. The Longhorns led in the early going, but seven Texas attack errors and six service errors stymied their effort and allowed Tech to take the lead at the 13-12 mark. Texas responded quickly, reclaiming a lead it would hold for the duration on a block by senior setter Michelle Moriarty and junior middle blocker Lauren Paolini at the 18-17 mark. The Horns finally pulled away from the Red Raiders late in the game, putting together a 7-2 run headlined by a pair of Hooker kills to claim a 30-24 victory.
Texas returns to action Saturday, Nov. 17 when it travels to Waco, Texas to take on Baylor at 3 p.m. CT.
TEXAS POSTGAME QUOTES
On what Michelle Moriarty means to this team: Michelle brings so much experience to the team. The thing that we have now is that she pretty much understands exactly what I want. I can give signals and communicate with her quite well. When you graduate an All-American setter of that caliber, the challenge for a coach and a program is to be able to grow and increase the level of play each year despite losing players like Michelle.
On the struggles in the last game: I think it was just a lot of mental lapses. It was just disappointing because when someone isn't siding out very well like Tech was, you want to be able to keep that ball in play a little bit more. It was a lot of compounding errors, whether in the serve-receive or attacking errors or service errors, it just made that game have a little bit more anxiety than it had to be. A lot of that is just trying to get people in and get them some playing time. It is not like they didn't perform well or they weren't trying. We haven't had many times when Chelsey [Klein] was playing right back, Jen [Christian] is in the opposite and Kiley [Hall] is passing for Juliann. There were just a lot of different scenarios that added different serve-receive formations for us. They deserve that playing time and they are very good, we're just trying to get them more on court time.
On how it feels to be able to put the reserve players in: I enjoy it a lot. It is an opportunity for our starters to play well and rest, so we can have a chance to go to our bench. It is important to keep our team happy, but this group understands more than anything that we're committed to winning. The biggest thing that they want is the final four, a national championship and the Big 12 championship. Now we're three games away from that. We've been playing a mini-NCAA tournament as a group, which began when we had six games left in Big 12 play. Now we're in the Elite Eight phase going into Baylor, and we're trying to practice that as well.
SENIOR SETTER Michelle Moriarty
On only having one more home match in her college career: We try not to talk about. Coach does and though it sometimes upsets us, it's also exciting because it means that we are that much closer to leaving a legacy.
On the possibility of winning a share of the Big 12 title: We're focused on us because we can only control what we need to do to take care of business. We have three more matches, but it would be awesome to win a share because it's been a goal every year.
On playing with Michelle Moriarty: Being on the court with Michelle is an inspiration for me. I remember sitting in the stands in high school and wondering when I'd get the chance to play with her. Now I'm on the court and she trusts me with the set. I do everything I can to get the ball to her so I can get the set. It's like getting money from her; you always want to put the ball away. Every time Michelle keeps feeding me the ball she's showing her trust in me even if I made an error on the previous set.