Texas defeats archrival Texas A&M in first round of tournament play
AUSTIN, Texas -- With 17 kills apiece, junior outside hitter Bailey Webster and sophomore outside hitter Haley Eckerman led Texas to a four-set win (25-16, 19-25, 25-19, 25-18) against Texas A&M on Friday in the second round of the NCAA tournament.
Webster, who finished with 32 kills in two NCAA tournament matches, recorded three blocks tonight for Texas. Eckerman hit .342 for the Longhorns with four digs and two blocks. Sophomore middle blocker Khat Bell hit .421 on 11 kills with two digs and four blocks while junior setter Hannah Allison had 48 assists and nine digs.
Texas has won 11 consecutive matches in Gregory Gym against Texas A&M, dating back to the 2001 season (head coach Jerritt Elliott's first season at UT).
Tori Mellinger led Texas A&M (25-6) with 13 kills and a .393 performance. Alisia Kastmo added 11 kills and four digs as the Aggies hit .248 in the match.
Texas came out for set one swinging hard. Three Longhorns earned four or more kills in the set, including Webster, who had five in the set on seven attempts with no errors. The Aggies kept it close, however, narrowing Texas' lead to one. With the score at 11-10, the Horns tallied eight in a row, including three consecutive points from Webster.
Texas A&M recorded four consecutive points for a 5-1 lead. Later, up 12-8, Texas A&M launched a 5-1 streak for a margin Texas could not overcome.
The third set was a back-and-forth battle that featured eight tied scores until Texas overtook Texas A&M 15-14. Sparked by solid hitting, including five kills from Webster, the Horns took control and finished the set with a kill from Sha'Dare McNeal. Texas connected on 14 of 21 with three errors for a .524 team hitting percentage in the third.
Tied at seven in the fourth, Texas launched a 7-1 run for a 14-7 lead. Aided by seven kills from Eckerman as well as three consecutive points scored by Molly McCage, the Horns concluded the match with a kill from Allison.