No. 5 Volleyball sweeps Texas A&M, clinches share of Big 12 crown
Nov. 23, 2011
COLLEGE STATION, Texas - The fifth-ranked Texas Volleyball team swept past Texas A&M in its final Big 12 match with the Aggies, Wednesday night to clinch at least a share of the 2011 Big 12 Conference Championship. The Longhorns 25-22, 25-19, 25-20 victory earned UT its fifth Big 12 crown and improved Texas to 21-4 and 14-1 in league play, while Texas A&M fell to 21-7 and 10-5 in Big 12 action.
Freshman outside hitter Haley Eckerman led the Longhorns' attack with 18 kills on .455 hitting and was joined in double figures by sophomore outside hitter Bailey Webster (11 kills) and junior opposite hitter Sha'Dare McNeal (10 kills). McNeal hit .588 with zero attack errors in the win and sophomore setter Hannah Allison notched an assist/dig double-double with 40 assists and 12 digs.
With tonight's victory, Texas earned a half-point in the annual State Farm Lone Star Showdown and now holds a 4.0-to-1.0 lead in this year's standings. This marks the eighth year of the Showdown, the all-sports athletic competition between Texas and Texas A&M. In order to win the Showdown, a school must acquire 10.0 points during the year.
In the first, Texas built its lead to five at the 19-14 mark, but surrendered a 6-1 A&M run that knotted the set at 20. Down the stretch, the Horns put together a 3-0 rally fueled by an Adams/McNeal double-block and an Eckerman kill to force set point at the 24-21 mark. Adams then closed out the stanza with a kill that lifted the Horns to a 25-22 set win.
Texas came out strong in the second, using a 5-1 run headlined by a pair of Eckerman kills to claim a 12-5 edge. The Aggies battled back to narrow the margin to 17-15, but the Horns answered with five late kills by Eckerman that propelled UT to a 25-19 victory.
The Horns fell behind to open the third before rallying behind a 6-1 run led by two Eckerman kills to capture a 9-7 lead. Later in the set, Webster highlighted a 7-1 rally with two kills to extend the UT edge to 20-13. The Aggies answered briefly, closing the gap to four, but kills by Eckerman and McNeal sealed the set for the Horns, 25-20.
Texas returns to action on Saturday, Nov. 26 when it plays host to Oklahoma in its regular-season finale. First serve is set for 4 p.m. Central on Longhorn Network.
· The win improved Texas' all-time record against the Aggies to 70-23 and 23-13 in College Station.
· The Horns' senior class ended its career with an 8-1 record against Texas A&M.
· Texas clinched at least a share of the Big 12 Championship with its win and can clinch the title outright with a win over Oklahoma on Saturday or an Iowa State loss.
· Sophomore setter Hannah Allison posted her fifth assist/dig double-double of the season with her 40-asisst, 12-dig performance.
· Junior Sha'Dare McNeal is hitting .676 with 25 kills and zero errors in her last two matches.
· Texas out-hit Texas A&M, .333-to-.191 and out-blocked the Aggies, 9.0-to-3.0.