Volleyball preview: Kansas
Nov. 4, 2011
Match 20: No. 9/9 TEXAS (15-4, 8-1 Big 12) at Kansas (13-11, 1-10 Big 12)
Texas holds the No. 9 spot in the most recent Volleyball Magazine Poll (Nov. 1) ... Texas' lone Big 12 foe in the poll is No. 13 Iowa State ... four of UT's non-conference opponents are ranked (No. 6 Penn State, No. 14 Minnesota, No. 15 Pepperdine, No. 17 Florida).
Texas improved to 8-1 in the Big 12 with its 3-0 victory over No. 14 Iowa State last week ... freshman middle blocker Khat Bell led the way with 13 kills on 16 error-free swings and hit .812 ... Bell was named Big 12 Player and Rookie of the Week for her efforts (Oct. 31) that also included six total blocks ... sophomore outside hitter Bailey Webster also tallied 13 kills and hit .323.
Through Texas' first 19 matches senior middle blocker Rachael Adams is leading the way for the Longhorns ... the All-American ranks No. 1 in the Big 12 with her .378 hitting percentage and fifth in the Big 12 with 1.19 blocks per-set ... she averaged 1.80 blocks per-set at the elite Nike Big Four Classic (Sept. 9-10) and went on to win Big 12 Defensive Player of the Week honors ... Adams currently ranks 21st in the NCAA in hitting percentage.
In the current release of the NCAA RPI (Oct. 31), Texas is ranked No. 4 ... the Horns trail No. 1 Illinois, No. 2 Nebraska and No. 3 Iowa State, while Northern Iowa is No. 5.
After a slow start to her sophomore campaign, opposite hitter Bailey Webster has come on strong for the Horns ... Webster hit .210 and averaged 1.74 kills in UT's first eight matches, but has shined in her last 11 outings, hitting .408 with 3.15 kills per-set.
Senior middle blocker Rachael Adams has benefitted greatly from the return of Sha'Dare McNeal who was missing from the Horns front row in 13 matches after injuring her knee in the season opener ... McNeal's return has allowed Adams to have more one-on-one opportunities and boost her hitting percentage 75 points ... Adams has hit .437 in the five matches since McNeal's return after hitting .362 in the first 14 matches ... since McNeal returned all of Texas' starting hitters are hitting .310 or better.
In its Big 12 Conference matches, Texas has shined, hitting a league best .327, while limited opponents to the league's second-lowest hitting mark (.167) ... the Horns rank atop the Big 12 with 14.56 kills and 13.56 assists per-set ... sophomore Bailey Webster ranks first with a .400 attack mark, while senior Rachael Adams ranks second with a .383 hitting percentage ... freshman outside hitter Haley Eckerman's 3.50 kills per-set rank sixth and she ranks 10th with her .291 attack mark.
In 16 years of Big 12 Conference play the Longhorns own a 237-69 (.775) mark in league action ... Texas' all-time Big 12 record ranks second to only Nebraska ... during head coach Jerritt Elliott's 10-year tenure, Texas has posted a 162-46 (.779) record against Big 12 foes ... the Longhorns' 19-1 record in 2007 and 2009 are their best marks since the inception of the league.