Jan. 12, 2009
The 2008 season proved to be a memorable campaign for the Texas Volleyball team, winning its second straight Big 12 title and making its first trip to the NCAA Semifinals since 1995. Along the way the Horns tallied 29 victories, marking the program's highest win total since 1993. Take a look back at some of the highlights, honors and memorable moments from 2008.
BACK IN THE FINAL FOUR
The Longhorns won the NCAA Austin Regional knocking off No. 9 UCLA and Iowa State to advance to the NCAA Semifinals for the fifth time in UT history and the first time since 1995 ... in the NCAA Semifinals, Texas dropped an epic five-set showdown with No. 2 Stanford.
SEE YOU AT THE POLL
Texas was ranked No. 4 in the final Bison/AVCA poll ... Texas has now appeared in the top 10 of the AVCA poll for 42 consecutive weeks ... the Longhorns' No. 3 ranking in the preseason poll was the highest preseason ranking in UT history, breaking the previous mark of No. 4 set in 1998 and 2007 ... eight of Texas' 2008 opponents appeared in the final poll, including Big 12 foes Nebraska (No. 3), Iowa State (No. 12) and Kansas State (No. 20).
TEXAS REPEATS BIG 12 TITLE
Texas' 3-0 (25-21, 25-13, 25-17) victory over Colorado (11/29) earned the Longhorns a share of the Big 12 Conference title for the second straight season ... after losing to Oklahoma, 3-2 on Oct. 29, Texas responded by posting nine straight wins (five sweeps and a pair of victories over No. 3 Nebraska and No. 14 Kansas State) ... in the nine victories, UT out-hit its opponents .334-to-.169 and out-blocked them 95.0-to-51.0.
ALL-BIG 12 AWARDS
Texas placed a program-best three players on the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) All-America First Team ... Texas' three first-team selections marked the first time in program history that it placed more than one player on the first team ... senior middle blocker Lauren Paolini and juniors Ashley Engle and Destinee Hooker represented the Longhorns on the squad ... the honor was the third All-America honor of Hooker's career (2007 second team, 2006 honorable mention), Engle's second (2006 second team) and Paolini' second (2007 third team).
The Longhorns landed junior opposite hitter Ashley Engle
, sophomore outside hitter Juliann Faucette
, junior outside hitter Destinee Hooker
and senior middle blocker Lauren Paolini
on the 2008 All-Big 12 First Team, while setter Michelle Kocher
was honored as the league's Freshman of the Year ... Kocher also added Big 12 All-Freshman honors, headlining the six-member team ... Texas' four selections tied Nebraska for most first-team honorees ... Engle and Hooker were both honored as first-team selections for the third time, while Paolini and Faucette became two-time All-Big 12 honorees.
Texas landed five players on the 2008 Academic All-Big 12 Team, the most Longhorns on the squad since 1999 ... sophomore middle blocker Jennifer Doris, sophomore outside hitter Juliann Faucette, junior libero Heather Kisner and senior middle blocker Lauren Paolini earned spots on the first team, while junior opposite hitter Ashley Engle claimed a place on the second team ... Kisner and Paolini captured their second academic honors of their careers with Kisner earning her second first-team accolade.
NCAA ALL-TOURNEY SELECTIONS
Junior outside hitter Destinee Hooker garnered NCAA Volleyball Championship All-Tournament Team honors after recording 23 kills, 21 digs and hitting .362 against Stanford in the NCAA Semifinals ... Texas landed three players on the NCAA Austin Regional All-Tournament Team ... senior middle blocker Lauren Paolini claimed Most Outstanding Player honors, while Hooker and Michelle Kocher earned all-tournament accolades.
HOOKER NAMED HONDA FINALIST
Junior All-America outside hitter Destinee Hooker was named a nominee for the 2008-09 Volleyball Honda Award, becoming just the fourth player in program history to earn a nomination ... the Collegiate Women Sports Awards program recognizes annually the top woman collegiate athlete in each of 12 NCAA-sanctioned sports, each of whom receives the Honda Sports Award.
PAOLINI AND THE RECORD BOOKS
Senior All-America middle blocker Lauren Paolini concluded her senior season with her name written all over the Texas record books ... last season, Paolini hit .419 and set a new single-season attack mark, but she obliterated that mark this season, hitting .478 in 33 matches ... the senior is also tied with Brandy Magee (2003-07) for the top spot on the career hitting chart school (.373) ... Paolini also ranks eighth all-time with 348 block assists and weighs in at 10th with 405 career total blocks.
KISNER SETS DIG RECORD
In her first season as UT's libero, junior Heather Kisner set Texas' single-season dig record with 488 digs in 2008 ... Kisner bested the 20-yeard old mark of 476, set by Dagmara Szyszczak in 1988 ... Kisner set the record in 118 in the 25-point rally scoring era, while Szyszczak took 129 sets in regular scoring. SUCCESSFUL SENIORS The Longhorns victory against Wichita State clinched the 2008 senior class (Lauren Paolini and Kiley Hall) its 102nd career victory, a mark that made them the winningest class in the Jerritt Elliott era ... the class notched 104 career wins.
ENGLE/PAOLINI/HOOKER HIT CENTURY MARK
Junior All-Americans Ashley Engle and Destinee Hooker along with senior All-American Lauren Paolini have all broken the 1,000 career kill barrier this season ... Hooker tallied her 1,000th career kill against Baylor (10/8), Engle broke the mark against Colorado (11/29) and Paolini connected for her 1,000th against UCLA (12/12) ... the trio ranks among only 18 players in UT history to record 1,000 kills in their Texas careers ... Hooker ranks eighth all-time with 1,295 kills, Engle ranks 17th with 1,047 and Paolini weighs in at 18th with 1,026.
TEXAS IN THE NCAA STATS
In the final release of the NCAA Statistics (Dec. 20), the Longhorns ranked second on the national charts in hitting with their .335 attack mark ... Texas ranked No. 8 in kills per-set (14.57) and No. 16 in blocks per-set (2.66) ... senior All-America middle blocker Lauren Paolini ranked No. 2 nationally in hitting percentage with a .478 attack mark. ... junior All-America outside hitter Destinee Hooker held the No. 28 position with 4.10 kills per-set ... freshman setter Michelle Kocher ranked 24th nationally with 11.08 assists per-set.
IN THE 2008 NCAA TOURNEY
Stanford: Despite claiming an early 2-0 lead, the third-ranked Texas Volleyball team fell to No. 2 Stanford, 3-2 in the NCAA Semifinals ... Destinee Hooker registered a match-best 23 kills on the night, posted a .362 attack mark and notched a career-best 21 digs ... Juliann Faucette added a season-best 19 kills, while Lauren Paolini hammered out 16 kills and hit .406 ... Ashley Engle joined the trio in double digits with 11 kills, while notching 10 digs and eight assists.
Iowa State: Texas All-America outside hitters Destinee Hooker and Juliann Faucette hammered out 13 kills each to lift the Horns to victory in the NCAA Austin Regional .. the 25-19, 25-19, 17-25, 25-12 win propelled UT into the NCAA Semifinals for the first time since 1995 ... the Horns out-hit the Cyclones .273-to-.062 in the match ... senior All-America middle blocker Lauren Paolini added nine kills on .438 hitting en route to claiming Austin Regional Most Outstanding Player honors ... junior All-America opposite hitter Ashley Engle notched eight kills and five digs, while sophomore middle blocker Jennifer Doris tallied seven kills, three solos and four total blocks.
UCLA: Texas used a 17-kill performance by senior All-America middle blocker Lauren Paolini to down UCLA, 3-1 and advance to its third straight NCAA Regional final ... Paolini paced the Horns with 17 kills on .483 hitting, while junior All-America outside hitter Destinee Hooker added 16 kills and 13 digs ... sophomore middle blocker Jennifer Doris recorded a career-best 11 total blocks in the win and the Horns notched a season-best 19.5 total blocks ... Hooker recorded her fifth kill-dig double-double of the season and 12th of her career ... the victory snapped a five-match losing streak to Pac-10 schools in the NCAA Tournament.
Wichita State: The Longhorns used a 12-kill, .429 hitting performance by junior All-America opposite hitter Ashley Engle to sweep No. 13 Wichita State in the NCAA Second Round ... Destinee Hooker led the Longhorns with a match-best 13 kills, while Engle connected for 12 kills, nine digs, five blocks and a service ace ... Lauren Paolini added nine kills and sophomore middle blocker Jennifer Doris hammered out eight kills on .778 hitting
Lamar: Texas used a .506 team hitting effort to down Lamar, 3-0 in the first round of the 2008 NCAA Tournament ... sophomore All-America outside hitter Juliann Faucette highlighted the Horns' attack with 11 kills on .476 hitting, while junior All-America outside hitter Destinee Hooker hammered out 10 kills and senior All-America middle blocker Lauren Paolini connected for nine ... Texas recorded a season-high .506 hitting percentage (47-of-83) in the win.