Topic and Howden celebrate Senior Day in 3-0 win over Texas Tech
AUSTIN, Texas -- Seniors Mira Topic (Kastela Kambelovac, Croatia) and Bethany Howden (Austin, Texas) celebrated Senior Day - their last regular-season match at Gregory Gym - in style by combining for 36 kills as the 11th-ranked Texas volleyball team clinched second place in the Big 12 Conference, its highest finish since 1998, with a 3-0 (30-25, 30-26, 30-13) victory over Texas Tech on Saturday night. Topic had her 16th double-double of the season with 19 kills, including nine in the final game, and 10 digs, and Howden had 17 kills and a .556 attack percentage as 2,078 fans helped honor them in a pre-game ceremony.
Texas (24-4, 16-4 Big 12) hit .410 in the match and limited Texas Tech (10-16, 6-14 Big 12) to just a .142 hitting efficiency. Kelly Johnson led the Red Raiders with 13 kills.
UT sophomore Dariam Acevedo (Trujillo Alto, Puerto Rico) had 11 digs for the match, while both Howden, freshman Jen Christian (Gilbert, Ariz.) and sophomore Brandy Magee (Mission Viejo, Calif.) both had three blocks apiece.
"I'm very pleased to come out on Senior Night and have our seniors step up and have an excellent match," Texas head coach Jerritt Elliott said. "It's so nice to end the regular season on a high note. Offensively, I was pleased to see us get our rhythm back and be able to go into the NCAA Tournament feeling good about our game."
While the two teams played steady in the first two games, and Texas pulled out both games by stringing together short mid-game runs, the Horns came out on fire in the third game. UT hit .513 in the final stanza, connecting for 23 kills on 39 attacks. Defensively, Texas held Tech to just five kills and a .000 attack percentage to secure the win.
The Horns, which claimed second place in the Big 12 outright, finished the conference slate 16-4, its best league mark since 1998 when the team also finished second, but with a 18-2 record.
Also, with 24 victories on the season, Texas has collected the most victories since the 1998 season, a campaign which saw the Horns finish 27-5 and advance to the NCAA Regional Finals.
In a pre-game ceremony, Texas welcomed back legend Dee Sance (1995-98) who presented a game ball to Topic for recently breaking the school career kills record. Topic passed Sance, who finished her All-American career with 2,013 kills.
Howden, Topic and Kathy Hahn (Leander, Texas), who retired last spring when she chose not to use her fifth year of eligibility because of chronic knee injuries, were honored in a Senior Day ceremony prior to the match.
With the regular-season complete, Texas will await word on its next opponent when the NCAA Tournament brackets are announced on ESPNews on Sunday, Nov. 28 at approximately 5:45 p.m.