No. 3 Volleyball earns outright Big 12 title with 3-0 sweep of Texas Tech
Nov. 14, 2012
AUSTIN, Texas - The No. 3 Texas Longhorns clinched the Big 12 title outright with a sweep of the Texas Tech Red Raiders (25-16, 25-20, 25-17) Wednesday evening at Gregory Gym. Sophomore All-America outside hitter Haley Eckerman and junior outside hitter Bailey Webster led the way with 19 kills and 16 kills, respectively as Texas (22-3, 14-0) extended its winning streak to 16. This is Texas' second consecutive Big 12 title and fifth in the last six seasons.
The Longhorns hit .483 for the match, the highest percentage ever allowed in Texas Tech history. Texas has recorded a 16-match win streak for the sixth time since 2004. Eckerman hit .486 tonight (19-2-35) with five digs and two blocks while Webster hit .650 (14-1-20) with a season-high six blocks. Junior setter Hannah Allison had 40 assists for a 13.33 assists-per-set average to go with three kills and nine digs. UT out-blocked Texas Tech by a 10-2 margin. Texas took command of the opening set with a 6-0 run to take an early 8-2 lead off kills by freshman Molly McCage and Allison, capped off with an ace by Eckerman. Eckerman maintained the lead for the Longhorns with three straight kills, extending the lead to 16-7. Webster and Eckerman combined for seven of the final nine points to win the first set 25-16. Texas finished the first set with only two errors to 19 kills as the Longhorns hit .654.
Texas Tech (13-16, 2-11) and Texas exchanged point for point to open the second set, drawing even at 12. Texas then ripped off six straight points, with kills from freshman Sara Hattis, Webster, McNeil, and Eckerman to take an 18-13 edge. Texas Tech went on a 5-2 run to close the gap to 18-20, but Eckerman and the Longhorns finished the set on a 5-2 run to win the second set 25-20.
The third set opened with a balanced attack from Texas as they jumped out to a 6-2 lead. Texas Tech then used two separate 3-0 runs to bring the Red Raiders within a point at 9-10. Sophomore Khat Bell saw her first action of the match in the third, teaming with Webster to win Texas' next six points to take a 16-13 lead. Texas used its blocking prowess to close out the match, recording three blocks to finish on a 7-2 run to win the third set 25-20. Texas hosts West Virginia on Saturday (Nov. 17) in a 1 p.m. match that will be broadcast live on Longhorn Network. Saturday's match is the final regular-season home match for Texas. Gametracker live stats will be available on TexasSports.com and a live Twitter feed @TexasVolleyball.
Notes: With two matches remaining (vs. West Virginia and at Iowa State), Texas has a chance to go undefeated in Big 12 play for the first time in school history since the formation of the Big 12 in 1996...Texas went undefeated nine times in during its time in the Southwest Conference with a 10-0 conference mark (1983, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1993 and 1995)...Texas has won 39 of its last 43 matches...Haley Eckerman has 397 kills on the season, needing 88 to break into UT's single-season list for kills (Demetria Sance is 10th with 485 kills)...Hannah Allison is averaging 11.40 assists per set in Big 12 play this season...Texas is hitting .339 as a team in Big 12 play while holding opponents to a .146 hitting percentage...Bailey Webster's .650 hitting night was a season high for her (previous best was .647 on Oct. 3 against TCU).
TTU 16-20-17 TEXAS 25-25-25
Texas head coach Jerritt Elliott
On Texas' fifth conference title in six years: It is a great honor, it is something we cherish and don't take advantage of. It is something that our players have worked hard for -- starting this summer when the freshman came in -- our veterans set that goal at summer school and began working out with them. They started creating a bond and working toward this goal. It is a tribute to them and the players that came before that created this tradition. We would like to continue it while having respect with how we accomplish it, without losing a match in conference yet.
On the team tonight: We are getting better balance. I think our attitude is getting better, Hannah (Allison) is distributing at a nice offense for us. We are getting production is so many different areas. Tonight, we were able to try some things that we may try in the NCAA Tournament. Offensively, we know that we are getting better and more efficient. Defensively, we are spending a lot of time trying to understand and better. When we do that, we are very successful.
On what makes this championship different: I think the way we went about it. We have had some fairly good captains in terms of understanding their role and responsibilities. This group has done a better job than any team in terms of being ready to play every night. We have not had a lot of letdowns, we have not had a lot of ups and downs nor have we had a lot of anxiety. A lot of that has to do with our captains getting the team prepared. It is fun to go about this and watch players grow and understand the responsibly it takes to be successful. It has been every comforting for our staff. We know that we need to get better but this group has done a tremendous job in terms of growing and developing as a team.
Junior setter Hannah Allison
On the team's growth: We gave gotten more patient with our game. Although we have been working on a lot of different things in practice, we are able to show up in a match and find a way to win then work again at practice. That has been the biggest thing for us because you are able to grow over a period of time when you do that. It is important to get back in the gym and work on things then perform at games.
Junior outside hitter Haley Eckerman