No. 4 Texas Rolls Past Utah
LAS CRUCES, N.M. - The fourth-ranked Texas Volleyball team hit at a season-best .438 clip as it swept past Utah, Friday evening at the New Mexico State Volleyball Classic. Sophomore outside hitter Juliann Faucette and junior outside hitter Destinee Hooker highlighted the Longhorns' 25-16, 25-15, 25-15 win with 10 and 13 kills, respectively.
Junior outside hitter Destinee Hooker erupted for seven kills in the first set to key an early lead and put the Longhorns ahead, one set to none. Texas leapt out to an early 5-2 lead behind a 4-0 run and pushed its lead to nine at the 21-12 mark on a kill by sophomore middle blocker Jennifer Doris. The Horns maintained their edge and eventually closed out the set, 25-16 on a kill by freshman setter Michelle Kocher.
In the second set, Texas used an early 10-2 run fueled by two kills from sophomore outside hitter Juliann Faucette to claim a 12-5 advantage. The Utes trimmed the lead to four, but a 7-1 UT run capped by a Paolini solo block pushed the Horns' lead to 10 at the 23-13 mark. A pair of kills down the stretch by senior All-American Lauren Paolini sealed the Longhorns' 25-15 second set victory.
Texas sprung out of the gate in the third stanza, taking advantage of three kills by Hooker and a pair of kills from Engle and Faucette to grab a 17-5 lead. After opening the frame on a tear, head coach Jerritt Elliott worked senior defensive specialist Kiley Hall and freshman outside hitter Amber Roberson into the lineup and they along with the UT starters lifted the Horns to a 25-15 set win.
The Longhorns return to action at 8 p.m. Central on Saturday, Sept. 6 when they resume play against New Mexico State.
- The Longhorns victory improved UT to 2-0 all-time vs. Utah. In the only previous meeting Texas defeated Utah, 2-0 on Sept. 29, 1979.
- Texas hit at a .438 clip for the match, setting a season-high for highest team hitting percentage.
- Texas out-blocked Utah in the match 9.0-to-5.5.
- The Horns out-hit the Utes on the night .438-to-.096
Head coach Jerritt Elliott
General statement on the win: Our side-out game was a lot smoother today and we did a good job of not letting Utah go on any big runs. Our focal point all week was to keep our intensity high. We were able to work on a couple new things offensively and we used some new blocking schemes tonight. We have many different offensive options and it is nice to have the luxury of using the 6-2 at times. Overall I am very pleased. I thought we executed well and did not have any let downs.
On the play of the offense and freshman setter Michelle Kocher: When Michelle gets set up and thinks about the offense she does a really nice job for our team. She has been really consistent for us so far and it has been nice to see her grow in terms of her thought process. She is starting to understand what we want to do against the block and overall today was a very good performance by Michelle.
Article courtesy of Texas athletics.