Aug. 30, 2009

Courtesy of Texas

LONG BEACH, Calif. – Despite falling behind two games to none the No. 2 Texas Volleyball team rallied behind 23 kills from senior All-America outside hitter Destinee Hooker to upend No. 23 Long Beach State, 3-2 in its season opener Saturday night at the Long Beach State Baden Classic.The 22-25, 20-25, 25-18, 25-23, 15-9 victory moved the Longhorns to 1-0 on the season, while the 49ers fell to 0-2. Texas returns to action on Sunday, Aug. 30 when it takes on No. 15 San Diego in tourney play.

Hooker took over in the fifth set, posting three kills, a solo block and a block assist in the first five points to give Texas a 5-0 advantage. Hooker helped UT push the lead to 12-5 with her fifth kill of the frame. Long Beach answered with three straight points, but a left-handed kill by Hooker ended the rally and moved the score to 13-8. Senior setter/opposite hitter Ashley Engle closed out the set with two straight kills on dumps, ending the set, 15-9.

Texas came out of the gate slow in the first set as Long Beach jumped out to a quick 7-2 edge and extended their lead to eight at the 13-5 mark. The Horns rallied back with a pair of 5-1 rallies capped by a solo block from Hooker that moved UT within one at 16-15. LBSU responded by pushing the lead back to five (20-15) and despite Texas’ efforts down the stretch, closed out the set 25-22.

The Horns led early in the second before a 4-0 run fueled by two Brittney Herzog kills put the Beach on top, 8-5. The 49ers extended their lead to its widest margin at the 18-10 mark, but a 5-0 UT run capped by an ace from Engle narrowed the margin to 20-17. Long Beach took advantage of two Texas miscues to push the lead to 23-18 and closed out the frame 25-20.

Texas righted the ship early in the third stanza, using a 10-3 run headlined by six Hooker kills to grab a 15-9 advantage. Long Beach closed the lead to 18-4, but the Horns responded with a 3-0 run capped by a kill from sophomore middle blocker Rachael Adam to move the tally to 21-14. Hooker added two more kills down the stretch before junior All-America outside hitter Juliann Faucette closed the set, 25-18 with her 12th kill of the match.

After trading points early in the fourth, Long Beach forged ahead on a pair of kills by Naomi Washington and Herzog that moved the score to 10-8. The Horns rallied for three straight points to take their first lead of the set, 13-12. A second 3-0 run capped by a Faucette kill that hit inside the 10-foot line pushed UT’s lead to 16-14. The lead changed hands four times down the stretch before Texas closed the set on a 3-0 run. A Faucette kill started the run, freshman middle blocker Sha’Dare McNeal forced set point with a service ace and a block by Adams and Engle ended the set 25-23.

Match Notes
·         Texas’ win moved the Horns’ all-time record against Long Beach State to 1-3.
·         The Longhorns are now 30-6 all-time in season openers and 7-2 under head coach Jerritt Elliott.
·         Texas’ win pushed its regular season winning streak to nine-matches, dating back to Nov. 1, 2008
·         Hooker led all players with 23 kills on the night, while Faucette ranked second on the club with 21 kills.
·         Faucette posted 21 kills and 12 digs on the night to record a kill/dig double-double.
·         Engle came up one kill shy of a triple-double with her 41 assists, 16 digs and nine kills.