Christian's 18 kills helps No. 10 Volleyball down Texas Tech
AUSTIN, Texas -- Jen Christian swung for 18 kills, her second highest output of the season, and added 10 digs for her fourth double-double of the year as the 10th-ranked Texas volleyball team swept Texas Tech 30-19, 30-20, 30-18 on Wednesday night to push its season-best winning streak to nine matches.
Christian hit .536 on the night and also added five blocks as Texas (21-3, 15-2 Big 12) defeated Texas Tech (11-17, 4-13 Big 12) for the 10th-straight time dating back to 2000.
UT Alyson Jennings collected a career-high 22 digs in the three-game match, surpassing her previous best of 21, which she twice reached in five-game matches earlier this year (vs. Kansas and at Texas A&M). Tech had 28 digs as a team.
"Alyson is one of the better liberos in the country," Texas head coach Jerritt Elliott said. "Her success has a lot to do with our blocking and we've been working on deferring the ball more to Alyson. She showed up tonight and really came through with a lot of big, big digs."
Dariam Acevedo collected nine kills on the night, the team's second-highest total.
"Dariam has been playing so well for us the last few matches, and to have Jen step up and play well has been critical," Elliott said. "Not every player can play great night in and night out so it's up to the rest of our players to step up in those situations."
Texas, which is third in the Big 12 in blocks per game, recorded 15 on the night with Christian, Jennifer Todd and Brandy Magee each collecting five apiece. Lauren Paolini and Michelle Moriarty each had three blocks in the victory.
The Longhorns hit .309 on the night, the team's 10th effort better than .300 this season. The UT defense held Tech to a .028 hitting mark, the lowest mark by a Texas opponent in 2005.
"Winning never gets old," Elliott said. "If you are a good, high-quality team, you work on executing on your side of the net. We talk about being able to execute at a certain level for every match. We didn't want a let-down coming out for game three."
Philister Sang had a team-high eight kills for Texas Tech as three other players collected four apiece. The Red Raiders had 28 kills to 25 errors in the loss, and collected six blocks and one ace.
After the score was tied 8-8 in the first game, the Longhorns used a 3-1 run to move ahead for good at 12-9. UT extended its lead to five points at 18-13, forcing a Tech timeout. After TTU pulled within two points at 18-16, the Horns went on a 7-0 run behind Moriarty's serve to move ahead 25-16. Magee had back-to-back kills to close out the game.
Texas rode that momentum in the second game, pulling out to a 6-1 lead, forcing another Tech timeout. The Red Raiders got no closer than four points the rest of the way as UT used a series of mini runs to push ahead. Up seven points at 24-17, Christian had an ace to kick off a 5-1 run that put the Horns up 29-19. Although Tech had back-to-back kills to delay the end of the game, Jenny Andrew had a game-ending dump to put Texas up 2-0 headed into the intermission.
Like game one, the two teams played evenly to open game three. UT went up 5-2, but Tech rallied to take an 8-7 lead behind a series of Longhorns errors. However, Acevedo had three kills in a 6-1 UT run that put the Horns back on top, 12-9. After a TTU kill, the Texas strung together another 6-2 run to extend a seven-point lead at 18-11. From there, Tech had five attack errors and UT collected five kills and two blocks to close out the game and earn its 12th three-game sweep of the season.
The Longhorns return to action on Sunday, Nov. 20, when they travel to No. 11 Missouri for a 12:30 p.m. match at the Tigers' Hearnes Center. After a road match at Oklahoma on Wednesday, Nov. 23, UT closes out the regular-season at home on Saturday, Nov. 26, when top-ranked and undefeated Nebraska comes to town for a 6:30 p.m. contest.
"Missouri is playing really, really well right now and they went five games at Nebraska on Sunday," Elliott said. "That match is going to be for second place in the conference so it has a lot of implications. Missouri is playing well on their home court, so we're going to have to be really solid on our serve and with ball control to have a chance at winning."