Volleyball moves to No. 3, Paolini earns Big 12 Player of the Week honors
AUSTIN, Texas -- After defeating previous-No. 1 Nebraska, the Texas Volleyball team moved up two places to No. 3 in the latest CSTV/AVCA Coaches Poll, released Monday. Longhorns’ junior middle blocker Lauren Paolini was named Big 12 Conference Player of the Week after posting a team-best .577 hitting percentage in Texas’ wins over Nebraska and Colorado
The Longhorns’ No. 3 ranking marks the highest that they have been ranked since Sept. 17, 1996 when UT was ranked third.
Paolini’s award is the first of her career and the third straight for the Longhorns. Texas has now claimed six of the last eight conference player of the week awards.
Texas moved up two places from its previous ranking for the third straight week after sweeping past then-No. 1 Nebraska and Colorado in Big 12 Conference play. The Horns’ victory snapped the Huskers’ 29-match winning streak and handed NU its first 3-0 loss in Big 12 play since 1997. The victory moved Texas into a tie with Nebraska at the top of the Big 12 standings with one loss apiece in league action.
Paolini led Texas with a team-best attack mark for the week and connected for 2.67 kills per-game, while recording just one attack error in UT’s sweeps of Nebraska and Colorado. The Ann Arbor, Mich., native recorded an impressive 2.17 blocks per-game for the week and registered 4.08 points per-game.
In Texas’ upset sweep of Nebraska, Paolini recorded six total blocks, including a career-best four solo blocks. She hit at a .455 clip for the match, tallying six kills on 11 swings to steady a well-balanced UT offense. Against Colorado, Paolini registered 10 kills on 15 swings, posting zero errors, while hitting at a match-best .667 clip and recording seven total blocks.
Penn State improved one position to take the top spot in the poll, while Nebraska dropped one spot to No. 2. Washington ranked fourth and Stanford rounded out the poll at No. 5. Big 12 foes Kansas State and Oklahoma were the only other conference schools in the poll, ranking 12th and 18th respectively.
The Longhorns have been ranked in the top seven every week this season, after earning a No. 4 preseason ranking. Texas’ only losses came against Nebraska and Penn State (twice).
Paolini and Texas returns to action at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 31 when they take on No. 18 Oklahoma at Gregory Gymnasium.