Faucette guides Horns past Sooners

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Juliann Faucette would not let Texas’ eight-match win streak come to an end Saturday. The senior All-American outside hitter put the Longhorns on her shoulders and carried the team with a career-high 28 kills as Texas downed Oklahoma 3-1 Saturday to remain unbeaten in the last nine contests.

Faucette’s outburst did not catch Texas head coach Jerritt Elliott off guard. He said he could feel something brewing in the senior leader before the opening serve, and Faucette was not going to allow the rival Sooners stop No. 8 Texas (17-5; 12-2 Big 12).

“She had a different look in her eyes; she was really focused and really loud in the locker room before the game,” Elliott said. “I could tell there was a different energy and focus about her. She pretty much carried the team tonight. When she is playing that hot, it’s really nice to have that on your side.”

Faucette had four straight kills in the decisive fourth set that kept the Sooners from forcing a fifth and final set, and sophomore opposite hitter Sha’Dare McNeal put the game in the books, following Faucette’s four-straight with a kill of her own to dispatch Oklahoma (17-8, 9-5).

But Faucette was quick to point out junior setter Michelle Kocher’s role in ensuring quality attacks for the All-American.

“I was just motivated and Kocher was setting a great ball,” Faucette said. “I was just feeling the fire, and it was easy to get a good kill with those sets from Kocher.”

“With a lot of the injuries that we have going on, I had to take a lot more of a load and I think that it’s been good for me.”

Three other Longhorns finished with double-digit kills to balance out Texas’ attack, and McNeal added nine kills of her own.

Texas remained a game and a half behind Nebraska in the Big 12 standings and the Longhorns will look to extend their winning-streak to a season-high 10 matches on the road Wednesday against Baylor at 7 p.m.

Texas has not tasted defeat since an Oct 2. trip to Nebraska and the team has a favorable schedule for the season’s final six matches, with three games remaining at home.

The Longhorns swept Baylor earlier this season at Gregory Gym and have won the last 17 meetings.