Volleyball preview: Missouri
Nov. 17, 2011
Match 24: No. 9/5 TEXAS (19-4, 12-1 Big 12) at Missouri (20-11, 6-8 Big 12)
Texas holds the No. 5 spot in the most recent Volleyball Magazine Poll (Nov. 15) ... Texas' lone Big 12 foe in the poll is No. 13 Iowa State ... four of UT's non-conference opponents are ranked (No. 10 Penn State, No. 16 Florida, No. 17 Pepperdine, No. 19 Minnesota).
In the current release of the NCAA RPI (Nov. 14), Texas is ranked No. 4 ... the Horns trail No. 1 Illinois, No. 2 Iowa State and No. 3 Nebraska, while Northern Iowa is No. 5.
Texas improved to 12-1 in the Big 12 play with its 3-0 win against Baylor on Wednesday night ... freshman outside hitter Haley Eckerman led all players with 10 kills in the win and junior opposite hitter Sha'Dare McNeal posted nine kills, two service aces, two blocks and hit .727.
National freshman of the year candidate Haley Eckerman was tabbed the Big 12 Player and Rookie of the Week on Nov. 14 after posting a career week against Texas Tech and Kansas State ... she average 6.64 points, 5.43 kills and 0.71 aces per-set, while hitting at a .397 clip ... she posted a career-best 23 kills in Texas' win at Tech and recorded the most kills by any Big 12 player in a three-set match this season.
Through Texas' first 23 matches senior middle blocker Rachael Adams is leading the way for the Longhorns ... she owns a Big 12-best .400 hitting percentage and ranks fifth in the league with 1.12 blocks per-set ... Adams currently ranks 13th in the NCAA in hitting percentage ... she is UT's all-time hitting leader with her .439 career mark.
Texas is currently riding a 27-match home winning streak at Gregory Gym ... the Horns' winning streak dates back to Sept. 4, 2010 ... the streak ties for the longest in UT history and only trails the Texas record of 27 (Sept. 6, 1996-Nov. 20, 1998) ... UT's streak is the third-best in the NCAA, only trailing Cincinnati (48) and Nebraska (34).
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 15 outings, hitting .368 with 3.11 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 115 points ... Adams has hit .477 in the nine matches since McNeal's return after hitting .362 in the first 14 matches ... since McNeal returned all of Texas' starting hitters are hitting .315 or better.
In its Big 12 Conference matches, Texas has shined, hitting a league best .323, while limiting opponents to the league's second-lowest hitting mark (.170) ... the Horns rank second in the Big 12 with 14.53 kills and 13.68 assists per-set ... senior Rachael Adams ranks first with a .423 attack mark, while sophomore Bailey Webster ranks third with a .358 hitting percentage ... freshman outside hitter Haley Eckerman's 3.66 kills rank fifth and her 4.06 points per-set rank sixth.