AUSTIN, Texas -- Top-ranked and undefeated Nebraska entered Saturday's Big 12 Conference match at 11th-ranked Texas riding a 42-match unbeaten streak in league play. The Huskers left Gregory Gym with their first loss of the 2005 season.
Behind Brandy Magee's season-best-tying 22 kills and six blocks, the Longhorns rallied from a two-game deficit to hand the Huskers their first loss of the season - 22-30, 28-30, 30-27, 30-27, 15-12 - in front of 3,218 fans on Saturday evening.
A total of four UT players swung for double-figure kills as Texas (23-4, 17-3 Big 12) secured sole possession of second place in the Big 12 standings for the second year in a row.
Nebraska (28-1, 19-1 Big 12) suffered its first loss to Texas since 1999, snapping its 12-match winning streak against the Longhorns.
With the victory, Texas finished the regular season undefeated at home at 10-0 and pushed its overall home winning streak to 16 matches. The Longhorns' last loss at home was to Nebraska (30-21, 33-31, 27-30, 23-30, 14-16) on Oct. 20, 2004. UT has now won 26 of its last 27 matches dating back to the end of the 2003 season.
After Nebraska came out of the gates and went ahead two games to none headed into the intermission, Texas came out and took control of the match. UT went ahead by as many as 14 points in the third game - at 17-3 - before going on to take the game. UT only trailed after the opening point in game four and held on to win the game and then rallied from a 0-4 deficit to start game five to stun the Huskers and have them their first loss of the season.
Magee's 22 kills matched her season high as she also hit .378 on the night with six blocks. Jen Christian had her fifth double-double of the season with 16 kills and 12 digs, also adding six blocks. Lauren Paolini had 15 kills and five blocks, while Leticia Armstrong had 11 kills, six blocks and a career-high five digs. Michelle Moriarty had her fifth double-double of the season with 67 assists and a career-high 18 digs while adding a season-high three aces in the win.
Sarah Pavan's 15 kills paced the Huskers' attack as five players recorded double-figures in kills. Christina Houghtelling added 14 kills and 13 digs, while Tracy Stalls and Melissa Elmer each had 11 kills. Jennifer Saleaumua had a double-double with 10 kills and 18 digs.
Texas controlled every statistical category in the match with the exception of hitting percentage. UT led in kills (75 to 71), assists (73 to 66), aces (seven to five), digs (75 to 59) and blocks (15 to 14), while Nebraska narrowly out-hit UT (.211 to .203). NU's .211 hitting percentage was its second lowest of the season.
Texas became only the second team to out-block Nebraska this season as the Cornhuskers entered the match as the national leader in the category (4.24 per game). Texas entered second to NU in the Big 12, surging of late from sixth to second in the second half of the conference season. Texas was also only the fifth team to record double-digit blocks against the Huskers in 2005.
UT will await the release of the 64-team NCAA Tournament bracket on Sunday, Nov. 27, at 1:30 p.m. on ESPNews. Texas is a candidate for one of 16 national seeds, and has bid to host first and second rounds at Gregory Gym the weekend of Dec. 1-4. In 2004, Texas was the No. 6 national seed and advanced to the round of 16 before falling to eventual national champion Stanford in the Green Bay Regional.
In game three, UT went ahead 17-4 behind the serve of Dariam Acevedo, who started 12 straight points. She had three aces in that stretch. Nebraska regrouped and rallied, cutting the Horns' lead to two points - at 25-23 - before Magee took over down the stretch with two kills and a block to help end the game.
Both teams battled back and forth in game four. UT built a four-point lead six times, the last at 19-15, forcing a Husker timeout. NU came out of the break and pulled out a 6-1 run to tie the score at 21-21. Houghtelling's service ace put NU back ahead by one point and back-to-back Husker attack errors allowed UT to gain a little cushion at 24-21. Nebraska pressured UT into three errors around an Armstrong kill to again trail by one, but Magee regained the two-point Longhorn spread with a kill. The teams traded successive side outs, but Christian laid down two kills in a row to put the Horns up 29-26. After a Stalls kill, Armstrong had the game-ending kill to send the match into a decisive fifth game.
Nebraska came out in the final game and quickly jumped out to a 4-0 lead behind Houghtelling's serve. UT chipped away with Magee getting the Horns' first kill to cut into the lead. After a Jordan Larson kill, UT ripped off three straight points - a kill by Paolini, a triple block by Armstrong, Paolini and Christian on Houghtelling's backrow attack and an Armstrong kill - to tie the game at 5-5.
The teams traded side outs and after a Saleaumua ace put NU up 9-8, Armstrong, Magee and Acevedo had three kills in a row to regain the lead for UT for good. Twice more Nebraska got within one point, but at 14-12, Pavan sent a shot wide to give UT match point. Armstrong, Paolini and Christian again combined for a triple block - this time on Pavan - to end the match and snap Nebraska's season-long winning streak.
Texas needed the rally after dropping the first two games.
Nebraska controlled game one from the outset, moving ahead for good on a Pavan block to make the score 4-3. The Huskers extended their lead to as many as 11 points - at 18-7 - before UT started to chip away. NU also led by as many as 10 points late in the game (at 26-16, 27-17 and 28-18) before went on a 3-0 run to cut the lead to single digits again.
In game two, UT took the lead from the opening point - on a Magee kill - and didn't look back, building the margin to as big as five points at 27-22 and in control of the game. However, after a timeout, Nebraska ripped off a 7-0 run behind Houghtelling's serve to earn game point, 29-27. Acevedo got UT back within one point with a kill, but Elmer had the game-ending kill to put the Huskers up two games to none headed into the intermission.