Volleyball preview: No. 3 Nebraska
Nov. 17, 2008
MATCH #25: No. 4 TEXAS (21-3, 14-2 Big 12) vs. No. 3 Nebraska (25-1, 16-1 Big 12)
The Longhorns have now won five straight matches since falling to Oklahoma (10/29) ... Texas kept its streak of victories alive when it downed No. 14 Kansas State, 3-2 on Saturday (11/15) ... junior All-America opposite hitter Ashley Engle headlined the Horns' attack against KSU, recording 24 kills on .488 hitting, while adding seven digs and a pair of blocks ... Engle earned Big 12 Player of the Week honors (11/17) for her efforts, averaging 4.75 points and 4.50 kills per-set and hitting at a .523 clip.
Texas is hitting a conference-best .345 in league play, holding a large .067 edge on second-place Nebraska which is hitting .278 in the Big 12 ... senior All-America middle blocker Lauren Paolini is leading the way for UT in league play, hitting a Big 12-best .518, registering 144 kills on 249 swings, while committing just 15 attack errors in 12 matches ... Paolini has recorded six error-free matches so far in Big 12 action ... junior All-America outside hitter Destinee Hooker ranks seventh in the league with a .333 attack mark, while leading the Big 12 with 5.26 points and 4.35 kills per-set ... freshman setter Michelle Kocher ranks second in the conference in league play with 11.74 assists per-set.
Last time Texas hosted Nebraska (10/24/07), the Longhorns snapped No. 1 Nebraska's 29-match winning streak and handed the Huskers their first sweep in Big 12 play since 1997 ... the largest crowd ever to watch a match in Gregory Gymnasium's current configuration (4,286) witnessed the Longhorns first sweep of Nebraska since 1997 ... outside hitter Destinee Hooker led the way in the Longhorns win over the Huskers, tallying a team-high 17 kills on .455 hitting ... outside hitter Juliann Faucette joined her in double figures with 13 kills and added seven digs and three total blocks to her outing.
The 2008 Longhorns have been putting up robust team hitting numbers en route to leading the league with a .333 attack mark on the year and a .345 hitting clip in Big 12 play ... UT has hit .350 or better in 10 matches this season, while hitting at a .400 clip or better in six matches ... the Horns' defense has held opponents under .200, 16 times in 2008 and under .150, 12 times
In 17 career national television appearances, junior outside hitter Destinee Hooker has shined ... she is averaging 4.00 kills on .310 hitting in 2008's four TV matches, after posting 4.85 kills and 2.00 digs per-set on TV in 2007 (63 kills in 13 sets) ... in Texas' eight nationally televised matches in 2006, Hooker recorded 124 kills, including a 4.00 kill per-game average (31 sets) in those matches ... Hooker has averaged 14.76 kills per-match and 4.18 kills per-set when the Horns have appeared on national television in three seasons on the Forty Acres.
Senior All-America middle blocker Lauren Paolini is in her final season on the Forty Acres and when her time is done her name will be written all over the Texas record books ... last season, Paolini hit .419 and set a new single-season attack mark, but she is on pace to obliterate that mark this season as she is hitting .465 through 24 matches ... the senior is also creeping up the career hitting charts, ranking second all-time at UT with her .360 attack mark, only trailing Brandy Magee's (2003-07) school record of .373 ... Paolini also ranks ninth all-time with 323 block assists and weighs in at 12th with 377 career total blocks.