No. 2 Volleyball tops Texas A&M, 3-0, advances to NCAA Regional final
Dec. 11, 2009
OMAHA, Neb. -- Senior Destinee Hooker logged a match-high 23 kills on .465 hitting, and junior Juliann Faucette chipped in 11 kills on .417 hitting to pace No. 2 Texas (27-1) to a 3-0 victory (25-18, 25-18, 25-21) over Texas A&M Friday afternoon in the round of 16 at the 2009 NCAA Volleyball Championships.
Texas advances to the NCAA Regional finals for a fourth consecutive season and is set to meet 10th-seeded Nebraska on Saturday at 8 p.m. Central. Nebraska defeated seventh-seeded Iowa State in the evening's second regional semifinal match, 3-0. Saturday's match will be televised live by ESPNU, and the winner advances to the national semifinals set for Thursday, Dec. 17 in Tampa, Fla.
Texas opened up a 3-1 lead in set one before the Aggies responded and took a 7-6 lead behind a kill from Sarah Ammerman. Tied at eight apiece, the Longhorns claimed the next four points behind three Hooker kills and a Faucette block, as UT assumed a 12-8 lead and forced an A&M timeout.
Texas A&M pulled within 22-18, but an attack error from the Aggies pushed the Texas lead out to 23-18. After another A&M timeout, Hooker closed out the set with a block and a kill, as UT took the first set, 25-18.
After an Engle kill gave UT a 10-4 lead, A&M took the next three points behind kills from Lindsey Miller and Ammerman and a Texas attack error to cut the deficit to 10-7 and force a Texas timeout.
Texas A&M clawed its way back into the set, and with Texas leading 22-17, Hooker’s first miscue on her 27th swing cut the UT lead to 22-18 and forced a Texas timeout. But, UT regrouped once more.
A lengthy rally on the ensuing point produced an errant Aggie attack, and Texas set up set point as Doris and Hooker teamed up for another block. Hooker and Doris joined for one final block to seal the 25-18 Texas win in the second set.
Tied at four apiece in set three, Texas ran off five straight behind three Doris aces along with a block and a kill from Engle, as A&M burned another timeout. Trailing 11-5, the Aggies’ Ammerman ran off three straight kills to cut the UT lead to 11-8 and force a Texas timeout.
A Longhorn error brought A&M within 11-9, but a Hooker block sandwiched between her 19th and 20th kills lifted Texas to a 14-9 lead. Trailing 19-14, A&M picked up two kills from Ammerman to cut the deficit to 19-16 and force a UT timeout.
A Longhorns error cut the lead to 19-17, but a Faucette kill and an Ammerman attack error gave Texas a 21-17 lead. Hooker’s 22nd kill and a Hooker block alongside Doris staked Texas to a 23-18 and forced another A&M timeout. A Faucette kill set up a match point and a 24-21 Texas lead, and after a kill from A&M’s Batis, Hooker logged her 23rd kill to seal the victory for Texas.
Texas Post-Match Notes
Texas Post-Match Quotes
On their style of play tonight: I think one of our themes this year is to keep chopping and keep going at it. We know and we’ve talked to our team about this. Each opportunity, whether it is a side out opportunity or more so when we’re serving, is to give us an opportunity to go on big runs. We’re good enough to be able to do that. We did it in different ways. We had a few times where it was blocking, one time with Jen Doris, our middle blocker, serving the ball, a few times with some really nice digs and transition swings that allowed those runs. When we’re able to sustain that kind of level, it puts a tremendous amount of pressure on teams.
On the success they had in the match: I think we got a little bit heavy with Destinee (Hooker), but that was early on. I thought we were able to get Juliann (Faucette) and Ashley (Engle) involved in those situations. Our passing broke down a little bit. We got pretty one-dimensional as far as having to go to Destinee in those times and that is where I feel like the balance kind of got off. When we are able to get 24 swings from Juliann on the right side, then we got Ashley 10 (swings). It’s important and our middles do a really nice job of controlling ball. The left sides are always going to have more swings because you are out of system more often than not. You look at the numbers tonight and everyone, except for one player, is hitting over .400. It’s a good balance and it stresses teams out in knowing how to defend you.
Outside Hitter Destinee Hooker
On why she plays off the net: I want to be off the net more than I am on it because they can block the ball and when I’m off the net I can see the court more.
Texas A&M Post-Match Quotes
On what she was specifically disappointed in: I suppose it was our server-receive. Last time we played them it kind of broke down a little bit as well. I thought our first match against them in Austin, our serve-receive was probably at its best at that point. We really weren’t as sharp and crisp with our passing, which then carries over into the next two touches. I thought that’s where we struggled a little bit. And then our hitters couldn’t get into a rhythm, our setters couldn’t get the offensive rhythm going, and so, if we couldn’t go hard at this team then you have to be able to find a way to block and defend them when they are all touching 10 feet and over, and trying to come at you very, very powerfully, and I thought we did our very best at defending. We knew what they were going to do. We had people in the right spots. It tends to be difficult to keep the ball in control many times when they are going off your block and at your diggers. But overall, it was more our side. Like I said, I felt like we really didn’t display what we can do."
On Destinee Hooker: I don’t know how many of you would raise your hand if you want to go out there and play against her. It’s really challenging. The range that she has up there. The different speeds they set her. It’s not easy. There are not a lot of athletes like that in this nation. I think she should be in track actually, but she stayed with volleyball so bad luck for us. What a phenomenal athlete and she had a great match. This is the ninth time I’ve played against her and the last time.”
On if she is disappointed that’s the last time she has to face Hooker: Not at all. No, I’ve admired watching her compete. I know she’ll be on the track this coming spring. I don’t know if there will ever be a player that can do the things that she does. I suppose I’m supposed to say it was a joy to play against her, but I’ll be careful with that one.
Outside Hitter Sarah Ammerman
Outside Hitter Jennifer Banse