No. 9 Volleyball sweeps Baylor on the road with balanced attacking
Sept. 26, 2012
By Elissa Schneiderman, Texas Media Relations
AUSTIN, Texas -- Balance is a key ingredient to No. 9 Volleyball's on-court success. Seven different Longhorns registered kills in Tuesday's three-set sweep of Baylor (25-19, 25-18, 25-22) on the road. Four Horns tallied five or more kills and two reached double digits.
"Overall, I thought we did a really nice job," head coach Jerritt Elliott said. "Our pins were productive. It was one of our better passing nights."
"We are giving some teams different looks and moving the ball around a little bit more. When we do that, were really good."
Junior setter Hannah Allison has developed into a key force in Texas' balanced attack. Allison posted five kills on seven swings with no errors against Baylor, which was good enough to tie her career high in kills. She also registered 30 assists and six digs.
"Hannah's managing her game very well," Elliott said. "She's not trying to do too much. She's staying consistent and not trying to thread the needle all the time. She's looking for situations that present themselves, but if they're not there she makes a good quality set."
Allison credits her teammates for making smart plays that allowed her to take a greater role in attacking. She recognizes senior utility Sha'Dare McNeal, in particular, who had nine kills, six assists, five digs and five blocks on Tuesday.
"I think our middle blockers and Sha'Dare did a good job of drawing the middle blockers and having them focus on something else besides our outside hitters," said Allison. "With [Baylor's middle blockers] concerned with the other attackers, I had some freedom to dump and be successful with that."
This is the type of game strategy Elliott would like to see his players execute more often and with more consistency.
"We need [Allison] to dump more," Elliott said. "She's a very good attacker and can keep teams off balance. Teams are loading up on our outside hitters and when were able to get more balance, it makes it more difficult for those teams. They have to pick and choose what they want to do."
With Tuesday's win, Texas advances to 3-0 in the competitive Big 12 Conference, with two of those victories earned on the road. Tuesday's match featured five freshmen in the rotation for the Longhorns and experience on the road for these newcomers is important. Elliott said that finding a comfortable rhythm in different arenas is crucial for his team's success this season.
"It's tough [to win on the road]," added Allison. "We start some freshmen. Luckily, they're surrounded by some veterans, so we're trying to teach them how to play on the road. We just have to take what we've learned in the past and stay calm throughout the entire match regardless of who's around us or what court we're on."
The Horns are looking ahead not only to their next matchup at Texas Tech this Saturday, but also to the remainder of the regular season.
"Our ultimate goal always will be to win the Big 12 [Conference]," Elliott said. "We need to be able to go and steal matches like we did tonight and be able to protect our home court to do that. We know that it is a long Big 12 season we're going to have some tough battles."
The next home match for the Longhorns will be Wednesday (Oct. 3) against TCU at 7 p.m.