No. 2 Volleyball sweeps Texas State, advances to NCAA Second Round
Dec. 3, 2009
AUSTIN, Texas -- The second-ranked Texas Volleyball team advanced to the NCAA Second Round on Thursday night, sweeping Texas State and improving to 23-0 all-time in First Round action. The 25-16, 25-14, 25-14 victory improved the Longhorns to 25-1 on the year, while the Bobcats ended their season with a 22-13 mark.
Junior middle blocker Jennifer Doris headlined the Texas attack with eight kills on .615 hitting, while senior All-America outside hitter Destinee Hooker connected for nine kills, and sophomore middle blocker Rachael Adams added seven kills and six total blocks.
In the first, Texas used a 4-0 run fueled by a pair of Hooker kills to take an early 11-5 edge. The Bobcats rallied to shrink the margin to three, but two kills each by Doris and Hooker paced a 6-0 UT run that pushed the tally to 21-11. A kill and a block by senior setter/opposite Ashley Engle helped the Horns seal the set-one win, 25-16.
The Longhorns erupted early in the second frame when Hooker served an 8-0 run, tallied two service aces and helped give UT an 11-4 lead. Two blocks and a kill by Adams paced the Horns to an 18-8 lead and four Texas State miscues allowed UT to widen the margin to 23-11. Texas eventually closed out the set, 25-14 on a Texas State service error and a kill by Adams.
Hooker keyed another Texas run from behind the service stripe early in the third, notching two aces as UT took a 7-2 lead. A solo block and a kill by Hooker on consecutive points extended the Texas advantage to 17-7. Freshman utility Sha'Dare McNeal capped a 4-1 Texas run to move the score to 23-12 and a kill by Adams closed out the set 25-14.
The Longhorns return to action on Friday, Dec. 4 when they host TCU in the NCAA Second Round. First serve is set for 6:30 p.m. Central.
On the game plan tonight: The difficult thing about playing anybody for the first time is learning the block tempo and the block rhythms. Early on they were able to fool us a little bit. We settled down. Our serving really eliminated some of our attackers because they were running a 6-2 the first two games and always having three attackers available. We were able to get them off the net, serve short and eliminate some people to use our size and kind of wear them down a little bit.
On how the team has improved throughout the season: More balance. We're able to get attack from all sides of the pins now. Juliann [Faucette] and Destinee [Hooker] were really on in the former line up we were good, but if one of them had an off night, it was a struggle. We've known that we had to get to that. We were just waiting for some of our players to get healthy so that we could get into that system. You saw earlier in the midseason we started moving Juliann to the right knowing that this was something we wanted to do and be able to produce and get great production from the right. That was the one area tonight, looking at our stats that struggled a little bit tonight. That's pretty rare. I have full confidence that will be back tomorrow and we'll be ready to go.
On the transformation of senior OH Destinee Hooker: I'd like to take credit for Destinee, but Destinee's so athletic that she can make adjustments pretty fast. She's technically at the end of her second year because she's never been with us in the spring. She's developed. She's an incredible learner. We started doing a little bit last year. Most of it has been confidence for her. We sat her down early and said, 'Last year you were good enough to do it, but confidence-wise you're not and we need you to be able to pass six rotations and we're going to make you do it early on.' As soon as she got comfortable doing it, it became second nature. Her overall game has developed tremendously and allowed us to be as successful as we are today, because of her passing and her blocking.
Senior OH Destinee Hooker
Senior setter/opposite hitter Ashley Engle On becoming one step closer to a return visit to the Final Four: It feels great. As soon as we ended last season, that was the first thing on our mind. After the selection show we knew our seed, the team that was ahead of us and all of us had our mind set on Texas State. I think the weeks become longer in the tournament, but it feels great and we're glad we finally got the tournament under way.
On the importance of senior leadership in the NCAA Tournament: I think it's really important. I think that we have the experience and we've learned the composure that it takes and how every team will bring their A-game and play out of their minds when they're playing Texas. I think we just kind of passed it on to the younger players and just try to enjoy the ride. We have TCU tomorrow night. It's one match at a time.
On what it will take to keep winning: We just need to stick with our routines. We've had a successful season so far, so we just need to keep doing what's working for us and not make too many drastic changes, do what the coaches tell us and just embrace it. I think that it's kind of a cool feeling when everybody wants you to lose and you keep fighting and take the pressure for what it is and just keep winning.
On setting with sophomore S Michelle Kocher: It's been great. I think that Michelle is a team player 100 percent. In the beginning I was doing the 5-1 and she was riding the bench. She was supportive and a great teammate the entire time. I think that she deserved a spot and she deserved to get a chance to get in there and now we really have a much more balanced offense and it's been great. Now I just tell her to make sure she sets me and it works out really well.
Junior middle blocker Jennifer Doris
Texas State Quotes
On the season as a whole: One of the things we talk to our players about is that we have got to take care of all our games throughout the season so that we end up getting to play that TCU or that Rice game because I guarantee we can compete with them a lot better than we can compete with Texas. It's tough that we have gotten the matches we do for the last three years that we have been up here. But one of these years, hopefully next year unfortunately for Brittany and for Jessica, we are going to get to the Second Round. And we've got to do that by being the three or the 2 seed.
On the Texas program: I told some of the parents awhile ago, that Texas is the best team I have played by far. Destinee Hooker, Juliann Faucette, Ashley Engle have all really helped take this program to the next level. They better be a Final Four team, at least they should be. I can see Texas competing with Penn State in the Championship. But Jerritt [Elliott] has done a great job here. It's been fun to watch him.
On taking Melinda [Cave] out: It was so much Melinda [Cave], it was that we were trying something different. We tried to do something different with Collins on the front line but it didn't help, so we had to switch it up again. The other thing I would have liked is for Katie McCorquodale to get some experience because she is going to be with us for the next three years so she needs some experience. If I have any regret, it's that I wish I could have gotten Matti Schumacher in because she is a key player for us in the next three year, and this would have been good to give her a little bit of experience.
On having a tall recruiting class next year: It's just one of those things we have to do early in the season. We need some significant wins so that we are not the No. 4 seed when we come to Austin. We are going to be stuck in Austin for the rest of my lifetime, but it would be nice to at least be in the No.2 or No. 3 seed and we've got to do that early in the season.
Senior setter Brittany Collins
On what match stood out to her: Well it was really the whole tournament. I wasn't going to let the Bobcats down and lose because this is it. This is mine and Jessica [Weynand]'s last year and I was going to lose it for us. So I would have to say that the tournament was the big turning point - I just didn't want to let it end.
Senior outside hitter Jessica Weyland
On Texas's height: We knew that Texas had some height to them and we knew that they were good. But we went out there and we played our game. I don't think we changed anything that we had planned originally. But we never gave up, so that was great.
Junior outside hitter Mo Middleton
On knowing how to hit based on height: I think with height, it's easier to use a block just because the ball goes so much higher in the air. Generally it helps to hit low, or hit really high. It's tricky because tall people have a lot of saves, but short people have a lot of weapons as well.