No. 3 Volleyball scrapes past Iowa State, 3-2
AMES, Iowa -- The third-ranked Texas volleyball team survived a two-game Iowa State rally and staved off an ISU rally in game five, 18-16 to knock off the Cyclones, 3-2 Wednesday night at the Hilton Coliseum. Five Longhorns tallied double-digit kill totals in the 30-19, 30-24, 24-30, 32-34, 18-16 victory, improving Texas to 23-3 on the year and 18-1 in league play, while Iowa State fell to 16-13 and 10-9 in the Big 12.
Texas went up two games to none with ease took early control of the match, however, Iowa State stormed back after the break, winning two straight games before the Horns were able to shut the door on a solo block by sophomore outside hitter Destinee Hooker in game five.
A quick 5-0 Cyclones' run in the fifth game erased an early Texas lead and pushed ISU ahead, 6-2. Freshman outside hitter Juliann Faucette helped Texas narrow the margin to one with a kill at the 10-9 mark, but a 4-0 run fueled by two UT miscues gave ISU a 14-9 lead and set up five match-point opportunities. Texas rallied under pressure, battling back behind a block by Faucette and senior middle blocker Brandy Magee at the 14-12 mark and a game-tying block by Magee and sophomore opposite hitter Ashley Engle at the 14-14 mark.
The Longhorns and Cyclones traded points until Hooker's 20th kill of the match tied the game at 16 apiece. Iowa State's Victoria Henson followed Hooker's kill with an attack error to give UT a 17-16 edge and a solo block by Hooker gave Texas its final tally and landed the Horns an 18-16 win.
Hooker paced the Longhorns with a team-high 20 kills and the sophomore added 11 digs and five total blocks. Engle posted 18 kills on the night and chipped in 11 digs, six blocks and four assists, while Faucette and junior middle blocker Lauren Paolini registered 16 kills apiece.
In game one, Texas used a 5-0 run paced by kills from Engle and Magee to claim an early 6-2 lead. The Horns blew the game open at the 19-16 mark, putting together a 7-1 run headlined by a service ace from senior setter Michelle Moriarty and two kills by Engle to take a 26-17 edge. Iowa State answered with back-to-back points, but a 4-0 Texas run closed out the game with Texas ahead, 30-19.
After trailing 7-4 to start the second game the Longhorns battled back to move within one on a Hooker/Magee block assist at the 13-12 mark. Texas then forged ahead behind a 6-2 run capped by back-to-back Engle kills that gave UT a 20-18 advantage. The Longhorns pushed the margin to seven at the 27-20 mark, using a 6-0 run to take control of the game. Paolini and Hooker closed out the stanza with a block assist that lifted Texas to a 30-24 win.
Texas grabbed a 6-2 lead early in game three, but Iowa State rallied to claim an 8-7 lead that it would hold for the duration of the game. The Cyclones pushed the advantage to 13-9 on a block and widened the gap to six, using a 4-0 run to claim a 22-16 lead. Texas closed the margin to four, however, ISU thwarted each rally, winning the game, 30-24.
The fourth game saw nine ties and three lead changes, but the Longhorns trailed most of the game after relinquishing an early 3-2 lead. The Cyclones took the lead at the 4-3 mark and pushed the edge to as many as six before the Longhorns responded. Texas rallied back from a 20-14 deficit, using a 7-2 run to trim the lead to 22-21. The Longhorns then knotted the game at 28 on a kill by Faucette and grabbed a 31-30 edge. Texas evened the tally again at 31 and claimed a 32-31 advantage before a 3-0 Iowa State rally lifted the Cyclones to a 34-32 win.
Paolini led the Longhorns on the night with a team-high .412 attack mark, while Moriarty recorded an assist/dig double-double with 69 assists and 19 digs. Senior middle blocker Brandy Magee posted a block/kill double-double in the victory, tallying 10 kills and 10 total blocks. Senior libero Alyson Jennings steadied the defense on the night, tying a career-high with her 26-dig effort. Faucette, Engle and Hooker each recorded a kill/dig double-double with 10, 11 and 11 digs, respectively.
Texas returns to action and honors its four seniors at 6:30 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 24 when it takes on No. 12 Kansas State at Gregory Gymnasium in its regular season finale.
On the play of Iowa State and the response of Texas: I thought that Iowa State fought really hard, played great defense and played well overall. They showed great composure after losing the first two games to come back and push so hard in the final three games. I felt like we had a lot of opportunities to close out the fourth game, but Iowa State got some really good bounces and they were able to take advantage of the situation. Afterwards I told our team that this match really taught us a lot about ourselves as we head toward the postseason. We have been pushed to five games twice and we have come away with the victory both times. It is hard to be a champion, but part of being a champion is responding in the face of adversity.On talking to his team late in game five: I talked to the team about blocking, making sure their timing was right and about executing at a very high level. I told the team what swings were going to be there and to be sure that we were getting good transition swings.