No. 5 Volleyball downs Sooners, clinches outright Big 12 Championship
Nov. 26, 2011
AUSTIN, Texas - The fifth-ranked Texas Volleyball team overcame a first set loss and a large deficit in the third set to defeat Oklahoma, 3-1 and clinch an outright Big 12 Championship, Saturday night. The Longhorns notched the 21-25, 25-16, 25-21, 25-19 victory in front of a raucous crowd of 3,917 and improved to 22-4 on the year and 15-1 in Big 12 play, while the Sooners dropped to 21-11 and 8-8 in league action.
Sophomore outside hitter Bailey Webster headlined the Horns' attack with 16 kills on .324 hitting and freshman outside hitter Haley Eckerman was stellar as well with 12 kills and a career-high five service aces. Senior All-America middle blocker Rachael Adams joined them in double-digits with 11 kills and added six total blocks.
After falling behind early in the first, Texas used a 9-2 rally fueled by two kills and a block from Adams to claim a 15-12 lead. At the 18-15 mark, Oklahoma responded with an 8-2 run of its own to grab a 23-20 lead and eventually win the frame, 25-21.
Texas trailed in the second stanza until the 14-13 mark when it put together a 12-2 set-ending run to capture the frame, 25-16. Two kills and a block assist by freshman middle blocker Madelyn Hutson set the table before three-straight aces by Eckerman closed out the set.
The Horns fell into an early 12-4 hole in the third set, but battled back without any timeouts to put together a 21-9 rally and earn a 25-21 set victory. Texas posted an 11-2 rally headlined by a 6-0 Eckerman service run to regain the lead at the 15-14 mark. Down the stretch, Webster hammered out four kills, including two of the last three points in the set to lead UT to a dramatic 25-21 set win.
Texas was much sharper to open the fourth, taking advantage of two blocks and two kills by Adams to take a 13-8 lead. A 5-1 rally capped by an Eckerman kill extended the lead to 18-10 before the Sooners whittled the lead down to 23-17. Webster connected for a kill to force set point at 24-17 and added her match-best 16th kill to end the set, 25-19.
Texas' win and outright Big 12 title earned the Longhorns an automatic berth in the NCAA Championship. The field for the tournament will be announced on Sunday, Nov. 27 at 5 p.m. Central on ESPNU.
Senior MB Rachael Adams
On Haley Eckerman's serving: I think it was 4-12 we were down. I'm not sure what game. But it definitely got us going. [Senior S Michelle] Kocher came in the game and after that it was lights out. We were just able to build confidence. When you have a server that can keep it on the other side's passers, you just let the frontcourt do it from there. You get on the big runs.
On if it was fitting that they really had to fight to win the Big 12 Title: It was definitely fitting. They didn't roll over once. They weren't going to come in here and be like, "Oh, yea. Here's the Big 12." They were going to make us fight for it. And that's perfect going into the tournament time, because other teams are going to do that too.
Sophomore OH Bailey Webster
On beating OU after losing to them earlier in the season: It was really great. Especially after playing them earlier in the season, we didn't play so well. We know we have a lot to offer as a team. Even though we didn't start off well. We showed that we've come a long way since the beginning of the season, and that we're capable of beating them. Or even if we don't, fighting through it and playing as a team like we have all season.