No. 3 Volleyball sweeps West Virginia, 3-0
Nov. 17, 2012
AUSTIN, Texas -- Senior utility player Sha'Dare McNeal tied her season-high three service aces and added seven kills as the No. 3 Texas Longhorns recorded a 3-0 sweep (25-14, 25-17, 25-16) over the West Virginia Mountaineers. Today was the final regular-season home match for the Longhorns (23-3, 15-0).
McNeal, the Horns' lone senior, was honored with a senior day ceremony following this afternoon's match. She had seven kills on 11 attempts for a .455 hitting percentage with three digs and three blocks. The Longhorns were led by sophomore All-America outside hitter Haley Eckerman, who recorded 16 kills, two service aces, five digs and two blocks. Sophomore middle blocker/outside hitter Khat Bell added eight kills and five blocks.
The Mountaineers (8-20, 0-14) were led by Nikki Attea with eight kills.
Up 7-6 in the first set, the Longhorns launched five unanswered points that included kills from Eckerman, who had five in the set, and Bell, who registered four in the set. Texas posted a .583 percentage in the first set with 16 kills against two errors.
UT opened the second set with four straight points, including back-to-back kills from Bell. West Virginia kept it close, however, narrowing the deficit to only one point at 9-8 before the Horns scored four straight. The Mountaineers unleashed another streak of four straight points to narrow Texas's lead to 14-13, but they would not be able to gain an edge on Texas.
Up 13-12 in the third set, Texas launched seven straight points for another lead the Mountaineers would not be able to overcome. McNeal would clinch the match with the final kill off the right side.
Texas concludes the 2012 regular season next Saturday (Nov. 24) with a Big 12 match at Iowa State. Gametracker live stats will be available on TexasSports.com and a live Twitter feed @TexasVolleyball.
The 64-team bracket for the 2012 NCAA Women's Volleyball Tournament will be announced on Sunday (Nov. 25) at 3 p.m. Central Time on ESPNU. Texas will host the NCAA Austin Regional (December 7-8) in Gregory Gym with tickets available by going online at TexasSports.com or by calling (512) 471-3333.
Notes: With a win next week at Iowa State, Texas would finish undefeated with a 16-0 record in Big 12 play for the first time since the formation of the conference in 1996...Texas is now 2-0 all-time against West Virginia...Sha'Dare McNeal tied her season best of three service aces (Aug. 29 at West Virginia)...freshman Amy Neal recorded her first collegiate service ace and had a career-high six digs.
WVU 14-17-16 TEXAS 25-25-25
Texas head coach Jerritt Elliott
On today's performance: This is a challenging time of year. Our team was prepared and I think our team knew they were going to have a good chance to winning this match, so keeping them focused was important and for the most part I thought we did a pretty good job throughout the match.
On the last regular season game and the postseason: At this point there are no more easy matches. At Iowa State is going to be a huge challenge in front of a huge crowd which is great because we've secured the number one spot. We will be in position to be challenged, and we want to be in that environment and we need to keep getting experience. This is a great opportunity for our schedule to end up this way in our conference and when we host the NCAAs, it will be a great opportunity for our fans to come out and support us.
On Sha'Dare McNeal's last regular season home match: She's been a big part of this program and still is. It's our way to give thanks to her and it's been fun to watch her. We wanted to set her the last ball of the match and we were able to do that and it was a lot of fun for our group. She's been a great person to have in our program and she has developed into a leader. As a coach, you want to see players develop into confident, young women and I'm just pleased with where she stands with her confidence in herself and the lessons she can teach our younger players.
Senior utility Sha'Dare McNeal
On her last regular season home match: Coming into the game, I told myself to not be too emotional, but it was a lot of fun getting to play in front of our crowd and our fans.
On getting the last kill of the match: It was really exciting. Hitting at the back row was exciting because it never happens for me.
Sophomore outside hitter Haley Eckerman
On Sha'Dare's influence on your game and leadership: The biggest thing she has helped me with is being a leader. She's really good at shaking things off and moving onto the next thing, staying calm, and being a leader on the court.