Amber Roberson

Volleyball

Rachel Adams is one of four seniors on the Longhorns’ roster. Along with Michelle Kocher, Amber Roberson and Sydney Yogi, Adams has helped Texas advance to three consecutive Final Fours. Texas faces Kentucky in the third round of the NCAA tournament Thursday.

Photo Credit: Thomas Allison | Daily Texan Staff

When the four members of the recruiting class of 2008 came to the 40 Acres, they were a mixed bunch, hailing from all over the country, including Hawaii, Ohio, Illinois and Texas.

Despite their geographical differences, for Texas’ benefit, the group came together quickly. Rachael Adams, Amber Roberson, Sydney Yogi and Michelle Kocher have had one of the most successful runs on the court by a class in Texas history. They have appeared in three Final Fours in as many years and have a chance to make it four in a row this season as the No. 1 overall seed in the NCAA tournament.

“It’s pretty special. It’s very rare for a class to go to four Final Fours in four years.” Kocher said. “We’re an interesting bunch coming from all parts of the world, so we have a good mix and get along real well and I feel that really helps us on the court.”

When the four players entered the doors of Gregory Gym their freshman year, there were high expectations, but it’s hard for them to believe that they have accomplished as much as they have.

“I came here with the intent of winning championships, and that is part of the reason why I picked Texas, because I believed [head coach] Jerritt [Elliott] and the rest of the coaching staff was capable of winning a championship,” Yogi said.

Winning championships is something they have certainly done. This year’s senior class has won three Big 12 titles. However, they still have their eyes set on a more meaningful banner to hang in Gregory, bigger than the ones commemorating the Big 12 championships and the Final Four appearances.

“I still feel that there is plenty of room for at least one or two more banners up there,” Roberson said with a grin, looking up at the empty space next to the program’s sole national championship banner.

Even if the senior class doesn’t accomplish their goal, the impact that they have made on the program has already been felt. Texas volleyball has taken a clear step forward in its level of play and in recruiting since their arrival, as evidenced by the 2011 recruiting class that includes three of the top 15 recruits in the nation.

“It’s definitely crazy to think that’s what we’ve done because we walk around thinking it’s normal, but really it’s not,” Roberson said. “We have to take a step back and realize this is what you are doing and what you have done for the program. It’s nice to know everyone appreciates that.”

Their time here is not quite through and they would still like to accomplish the group’s ultimate goal.

“Winning a national championship would be a huge accomplishment. We’ve taken a step each year as far as growing as a team and this is the year to put it all together. It would be the ultimate conclusion to our four years here,” Roberson said.

Lighting the tower orange would be the sweetest reward of all for the lumps and bruises these four seniors have taken to make themselves better.

“It would show how much our hard work pays off,” Yogi said. “We have stayed all summer the past three summers training early in the morning and doing things on our own to get better. I think the reward of winning a national championship will be so, so sweet, showing that our hard work in our time here did pay off.”

Printed on Tuesday, December 6, 2011 as: Texas trying to reach fourth straight Final Four

Texas sophomore Sarah Palmer performs a jump serve, a jump serve is risky as it is extremely effective if done correctly, but is also very difficult to consistently do.

Photo Credit: Trent Lesikar | Daily Texan Staff

Bounce, bounce, bounce. Ball steady, arm back, solid contact, over the net, then — hopefully — an ace.

This is the sequence of events that goes through the mind of every server in volleyball while they go through their routine right before and through the serve.

Well, this isn’t completely true; every server has a unique routine that allows her to feel completely comfortable before she attempts to put the ball over the net.

“Whatever is comfortable with you is what you will go with. There is nothing specific that anyone has to do with their routine,” said senior Amber Roberson.

For Roberson, the routine is rather simple. She just bounces the ball on the court until she is comfortable enough to let it go.

“I bounce the ball a lot. I bounce and count in my head, but the repetition of your routine is important,” she said.

However, the serve is not such a simple animal that it can just be defined in routines or in the amount of times you bounce the ball. It has a huge impact on the game.

“It is the first attack that we can put on to the other team, serving a good ball or placing it on a certain player that is not a good passer can throw the other team out of system and work in our advantage when we play defense,” said sophomore Sarah Palmer. “Because it is easier for us to work around a bad pass.”

The service game sets the tone for every possession on the court. A good serve to the correct spot puts even the best of defense on its heels, while a bad serve to the wrong location makes it much easier for your opponent to return and gain control of the point because your defense will be in the wrong location on the court to deal with the opponent’s ball movement.

“The game is basically a serve and pass game. You have to start with a pass/serve,” Roberson said. “Usually, Coach will call us a zone because for setters, it’s harder to set the ball over their shoulders, so as long as we serve the ball to the number he calls it helps a lot.”

For the Texas players, there are many different techniques to get the ball to said point, in the different forms of the serve. There is the float serve, where the ball is hit with no spin to make the path of the serve unpredictable. Then there is the topspin serve, where the ball is tossed high and hit near the wrist to create a high speed serve with spin.

Perhaps most famously is the jump serve, where the player tosses the ball high and makes a timed run and jump at it, creating a high velocity serve with a lot of spin. This is the most devastating serve when performed correctly but also a high-risk option.

Palmer is one player on the Texas roster that employs a jump serve in her repertoire. It is the most aggressive form of the service game, and when done well, it creates lots of problems for the defense, but it is difficult to perfect. This is shown in Palmer’s numbers with the serve. She has the teams’ second-lowest serving percentage at .844 but also is second on the team in service aces with 17, on only 192 attempts.

“It is a bit harder. It has a lot to do with the timing of the ball and the toss and the speed approach into the ball,” Palmer said. “But overall, serving is all the same. You always have to have the right contact and place it on the right spot on the court.”

No matter which way the players chose to get the ball over the net, there are two keys that constitute a good serve.

“The number one most important factor to a serve is velocity and being able to hit the spots you want to,” said head coach Jerritt Elliott.

When those two things are done consistently, Texas is hard to beat because when the ball is placed in the proper place and the defense is scrambling, Texas size at the net takes over, and they win games.

The Longhorns will look to utilize the serve effectively tonight in Lubbock against Texas Tech and win their ninth in a row.

Published on Wednesday, Novermber 9, 2011 as: Texas serves up aces

Haley Eckerman spikes the ball during the Longhorns’ sweep over the Red Raiders on Wednesday. Eckerman finished the match with nine kills.

Photo Credit: Trent Lesikar | Daily Texan Staff

The No. 10 Longhorns had their second sweep in a row with a 3-0 win over Texas Tech on Wednesday.

Bailey Webster had an impressive 11 kills on .320 hitting and middle blocker Rachael Adams finished the game with seven kills and hit at a .600 clip.

The Longhorns dominated the first set and Webster had six kills.

The beginning of the set was close, but by Texas’ 16th point, the Longhorns started pulling away with the lead. Four kills each from Adams and Haley Eckerman aided the Longhorns in their 25-17 first set win over the Red Raiders.

Texas had an impressive 17 kills in the set and a .344 hitting percentage.

Amber Roberson held her own with seven digs, half of the team’s total in the set.

The Longhorns got an early 6-3 lead in the second set and didn’t look back. A service ace by Hannah Allison improved Texas’ lead to 12-5. The Red Raiders would only get six more points in the set and a kill by Eckerman would finish the set 25-11.

Eckerman finished the set with four kills. Ashley Bannister was substituted in during the set and made an impact. She had three kills and a dig. The Longhorns (12-4; 4-1 Big 12) finished the set with a .462 hitting percentage, while Texas Tech had .053 hitting percentage.

Amber Roberson had three digs by the end of the second set.

“[Head coach] Jerritt [Elliott] talks about trust and knowing that Amber is working really hard and everyone else is working really hard on our defense,” Eckerman said. “That’s trust for us to know that they’re going to get it to the setter, the setter is going to get it to us.”

The Longhorns started out strong in the third set and took a 15-7 lead. But once Elliott put in substitutes, the Red Raiders were determined to win the set. At one point in the third set, Texas was outhitting Tech .349 to .040. The Longhorns had a 24-19 lead, but a surge by Tech brought the score much closer. But a kill by Haley Cameron ended the game 25-22.

With Sha’Dare McNeal back in the starting lineup, the Longhorns had some adjustments to make, but after sorting out some passing problems in the first set, they took the win with ease.

“With the new lineup, there’s going to be some relationship issues,” Elliott said.

“But the things we thought we would get out of this lineup and knew that we would get is a lot more balance from our team.”

Printed on Thursday, October 13, 2011 as: Eckerman, Adams lead UT in sweep 

Sophomore Hannah Allison was almost born to play a division one sport, as her mother and her sister have both played sports in college. Allison’s Mom played basketball at Baylor, and her sister is a middle blocker at Oklahoma Baptist university.

Photo Credit: Elisabeth Dillon | Daily Texan Staff

Some might say sophomore setter Hannah Allison and senior outside hitter Amber Roberson have a genetic advantage on the court.

Both girls were born into athletic families.

Allison’s mom Kelly played basketball at Baylor and her sister, Sarah, is a senior middle blocker at Oklahoma Baptist University. And her dad played high school basketball, baseball and football.

Allison followed in her mother’s footsteps and played basketball all throughout high school until her senior year, when she graduated early and came to Texas in the spring. But her mom was not upset when she chose volleyball. Although she grew up playing basketball and still loves it, volleyball won her over.

“I loved both sports but I think I was just better at volleyball than I was basketball,” Allison said. “I knew volleyball would take me farther than basketball and the more I played it, the more I fell in love with it.”

She said growing up in such a competitive household shaped her personality and gave her a competitive spirit.

“My sister and I weren’t ever allowed to keep score in any games we played so that we didn’t fight,” Allison said. “It was definitely competitive all the time.”

Everything was a competition between the two siblings. Allison and her sister would race down the stairs or attempt to walk to the store faster than the other. In high school, the sisters played on the same team during Sarah’s senior year and Hannah’s freshman year.

“Luckily we’ve been on the same team, because it would be a lot more competitive, obviously, if we had been on separate teams,” Allison said.

She believes that the competition between the two of them helped make them both better volleyball players.

“I think competition transfers to your work ethic and how good you want to be and how high you set your goals,” Allison said. “Watching my sister grow up and be in front of me and how hard she worked, I learned from her work ethic. My mom is the hardest working person I know and even though I didn’t watch her play sports, it’s just the way that she is. It’s the way both of my parents are.”

Roberson, who has four sisters and two brothers, also has a very athletic family.

Her father played basketball at New Mexico State and professionally overseas. Her mom played volleyball at New Mexico State. Her sister Ashlee played for the Texas Tech women’s basketball team and her brother plays basketball at Colorado.

Although Roberson played basketball in high school and earned all-district, all-city, all-region and all-state honors her senior season at Wagner High in San Antonio, she decided to go with her mom’s roots and play volleyball in college.

“Volleyball fit my personality a lot better,” Roberson said. “I feel like volleyball is more me, especially with all the cheering and how exciting it is.”

She said that when she was younger, her and her older sister were passed around in the stands while her mom played volleyball.

“I guess we had a feel for it naturally,” Roberson said.

Her father was also very happy when she decided to come to Texas and play volleyball.

“My dad supports my decision no matter what I go with,” Roberson said. “He would have loved it if I played basketball as well, but volleyball was a good choice.”

Like Allison, Roberson and her siblings have some healthy competition in their house.

“We aren’t as competitive as we were when we were little, but we definitely are competitive,” Roberson said.

Allison, Roberson and the Longhorns are hoping to improve their 2-1 Big 12 conference record tonight as they face Texas A&M at Gregory Gym. 

Printed on Wednesday, October 5, 2011 as: ''Skills are in the genes for Allison, Roberson''

With 2010 firmly in the rearview, it may be too early for the Longhorns to shake off their crushing exit from the Final Four, but one thing is for certain — Texas has plenty to look forward to in 2011.

Jerritt Elliott’s young team battled adversity during its run to the Final Four, and his talented squad returns seven players who often started for the Longhorns in 2010. Elliott will rely on middle blocker Rachael Adams and outside hitter Amber Roberson as the two roommates will return to lead the Longhorn team this fall.

Both Roberson and Adams will assume the leadership position left by the departing senior class, but the two juniors carefully watched this season’s seniors and are confident they can pick up where veterans Juliann Faucette and Jen Doris left off.

“Looking at them, you have to learn how to take control of a team at a certain time when there’s young players and they’re going to be looking up to you,” Roberson said. “You have to be the one to step up to that and be the one they can count on rather than you counting on them.”

Setter Michelle Kocher and libero Sydney Yogi will also be seniors in 2011 and will inherit a rather young but experienced team — one Elliott believes will find it’s way back to the Final Four once again.

“We’re going to keep getting back here and we’re close to cracking this,” Elliott said.

The Longhorns have been bounced from the Final Four in each of the past three years, coming within a point of the National Championship in 2009. This year’s group was quite younger than the one that made the semifinals in years past, which is something that excites Elliott looking ahead to next season.

“These younger kids have got a lot more matches in them with this NCAA tournament,” Elliott said. “They learned a lot from adversity and going through that. It’s something.”

Texas was hampered by injuries much of the season, with Yogi, sophomore outside hitter Bailey Webster and freshman outside hitter Ashley Bannister missing significant time. Their return will deepen an already loaded Longhorns’ bench, giving Elliott all the tools he needs to put together another run deep into the NCAA Tournament.

“Our program is very healthy, but again, that being said, we have new players and the culture will change dramatically each year doing that,” Elliott said. “We have to teach them, as a family, what it means to be a Texas Longhorn and represent this University, because there are standards and they all have to live by them in the same way.”

The incoming freshman class is one of the top-rated recruiting classes in the nation, and there has been a buzz brewing around the Longhorns for quite some time regarding their chances for a title in 2011. Look for Katherine Bell, Haley Eckerman and Madelyn Hutson — a trio of top-rated prospects — to contribute for the Longhorns from the get-go.

With a mix of talent young and old, a well-versed coaching staff and a recently impeccable track record, Texas could be the last team standing in 2011.

“They’re going to be very good next year, so I’m excited to watch them, and I’ll be one of those Longhorns texting Jerritt next year as they hopefully get back to the Final Four,” Faucette said. 

KANSAS CITY — With Texas losing its rematch to Penn State as well as seniors Juliann Faucette, Jennifer Doris and Lauren Dickson to graduation, with the former two being the winningest players in program history, Thursday's end to the season may feel unsatisfying to some fans.

Fortunately for the Longhorns, the future is filled with promise and potential.

Texas returns 12 members of this year’s Final Four team and welcomes three of the nation’s top recruits next fall. More importantly, the time off gives the slew of injured Longhorns time to heal and be ready for the 2011 season.

Outside hitter Amber Roberson, middle blocker Rachael Adams and setter Michelle Kocher will return for their senior years, with the trio having been to the Final Four every year in Austin. Freshmen setter Hannah Allison and libero Sarah Palmer both gained valuable experience on the big stage, not to mention sophomore utility player Sha’Dare McNeal, whose athleticism and development in the backcourt were crucial for the Longhorns.

Texas will also welcome back junior libero Sydeny Yogi, sophomore outside hitter Bailey Webster, freshman outside hitter Ashley Bannister and sophomore defensive specialist Cristina Arenas from injuries.

With the addition of incoming freshmen Haley Eckerman, Katherine Bell and Madelyn Hutson, head coach Jerritt Elliott will have plenty of depth — not to mention difficult coaching decisions.

Elliott implied Texas might opt for a 6-2 rotation next season, which was what the Longhorns used in their run to the 2009 national championship game. The 6-2 utilizes two setters and six hitters, while typically rotating out the backline with the libero and defensive specialists.

However, Texas will have to replace the leadership of Faucette and Doris. Faucette earned All-American honors in three of her years, including first-team this year, leaves with the fifth-most kills in program history. Doris finished in the top 15 in all-time block assists and total blocks, while garnering Big 12 Academic honors every year.

“Looking at them, you learn how to take control of a team at a certain time,” Roberson said. “There will be young players and they’ll be looking up to you, and you have to be ready to step to that.”

Considering Texas’ 5-4 start to the season, many doubted the ninth-seeded Longhorns could even make it this far.

“I’m proud of our team for getting to this point and they’re going to be very good next year so I’m excited to watch them,” Doris said. “I’ll be one of the Longhorns texting Jerritt 'good luck' as they hopefully get back to the Final Four.”

Despite the returning players, there is a lot of work to do.

“Every year it’s going back and rewriting the book, but every year, my management skills are less and less because of the quality of women they’ve been able to establish over the years,” Elliott said. “We’re going to get back here and we’re getting close to cracking this. We just need to keep getting back and keep getting the opportunities to do that."

"But again, with that being said, we have big players and the culture will change dramatically," he added, "and we have to teach them as a family what it means to be a Texas Longhorn and to represent this University."
 

Although outside hitter Amber Roberson missed a mere two games, she came out of the gate playing like she missed none while displaying an urgency of someone who had missed 20.

The 6-foot-2 junior from San Antonio notched five kills in the first set on perfect hitting while adding three digs in the process. She finished the match with nine kills to go along with seven digs and two blocks before heading to the bench in the third set to cheer on her teammates.

Roberson, the team’s second-leading scorer, put her offensive arsenal on full display, including signature spikes from the backcourt and carefully placed top-spinning kills that nick the opponent’s back line. Head coach Jerritt Elliott said Roberson’s return allows the team to maintain an offensive balance.

“[Opponents] can’t stack up on the players, and in terms of blocking schemes, it’s difficult [for them],” Elliott said. “We’re also able to use her out of the backcourt. She has great speed and velocity and she [puts] a lot of stress on the opponent.”

Perhaps the biggest beneficiary of Roberson’s return is senior outside hitter Juliann Faucette, who had shouldered much of the offensive burden in Roberson’s absence.

“She’s a great player and she did really well tonight, especially not having her for the last two matches,” Faucette said. “We just have a lot of weapons and that helps. Amber’s a weapon we can put out there and she can put up big numbers for us.”

In Roberson’s absence, senior outside hitter Lauren Dickson was asked to step in. Dickson played four years at the University of Virginia and came to Texas to pursue a masters in accounting from the McCombs School of Business. Because of an injury her sophomore year, the Westlake High School product was granted a medical redshirt and retained an extra year of eligibility.

Dickson’s back line defensive presence has been a big boon for the Longhorns through the last two games, as she has posted double digit digs in both matches. Dickson played as a serving specialist through most of Wednesday’s match, though playing extensively in the third set.

Elliott said Dickson’s role could change and said he was pleased with her ability to step up.

“Every day, any player’s role can change and that’s developed in the practice gym,” Elliott said. “She’s been playing really well and we’ve been utilizing her a little more and she’s been able to show us a little more during matches.”

“Fear the Faucette” may be the most appropriate saying to write on a sign for tonight as eighth-ranked Texas (19-5, 14-2 Big 12) faces off against Missouri (19-8, 11-6) at 6:30 p.m. inside Gregory Gym.

The senior outside hitter and team co-captain has been on a tear as the Longhorns’ season approaches its final lap. The San Diego native has strung together averages of 27.3 kills per match on .389 hitting, to go along with 9.67 digs and 1.67 blocks. On Monday, she earned Big 12 Player of the Week honors for the second time this season for her performances at Baylor and Texas Tech last week.

“[Juliann’s] been playing really well,” said head coach Jerritt Elliott. “It’s how she’s doing it. Her attack selection has really changed, her feet to the ball is a lot better, and her confidence is a lot better.”

Faucette, who is also on the Academic All-Big 12 second team, has stepped up in place of injured teammates with some great setting.

“[The situation] just calls for me to step up and [junior setter Michelle] Kocher’s setting great right now,” Faucette said. “It’s kind of just panning out that way. It’s definitely me wanting to go out there and win the game.”

Texas played its last two games without junior outside hitter Amber Roberson, the latest victim on a laundry list of injuries the team has faced through the season. With their second leading scorer out, Faucette shouldered a lot of the scoring burden, posting a career-high 30 kills against the Bears in an emotion-filled match that included plenty of jawing with the referees. Three nights later, she posted 24 kills against the Red Raiders in Lubbock.

Even with Faucette’s offensive showcase and Roberson’s injury, the team has managed to maintain the much-coveted offensive balance Elliott has preached about since the beginning of the year, as the team continues to get double digit kills from senior middle blocker Jennifer Doris, sophomore utility player Sha’Dare McNeal and junior middle blocker Rachael Adams.

“It’s all pretty much coming together full circle from the beginning of our season to now,” Faucette said. “With just the ups and downs we’ve had, everyone has seen our chemistry grow. Supporting each other and getting to know each other off the court is really showing on the court.”

With Roberson listed as day-to-day, senior outside hitter Lauren Dickson has stepped into the starting role. The University of Virginia transfer and Westlake High School graduate operated primarily as a serving specialist until these last two games. Dickson notched eight kills and 11 digs against Texas Tech on Saturday.

“She’s a great player,” Doris said. “She’s such a good contributor with her defense. It’s fun to play against her, but to see her get her shot and see her shine. We’re so happy for her.”

The Longhorns hope to extend their winning streak against a Missouri team that is boasting its own six-game tear. Texas has also dropped a set in each of its last three matches. Doris said that has more to do with the team’s own mishaps rather than being overmatched.

“It all boils down to taking care of our side of the net,” Doris said. “Our errors ultimately gave them the set. So as long as we take care of our own responsibility, we’ll be fine.”

Tall. Athletic. Agile. Versatile. Good passer. Great teammate. High IQ. Good court vision.
Left unlabeled, a recruiting profile with those characteristics could fall on the desk of either volleyball head coach Jerritt Elliott or women’s basketball head coach Gail Goestenkors.

Consequently, several Longhorns have illustrious memories on both courts from back in their high school days.

Junior middle blocker Rachael Adams was a dual-sport athlete at Mount Notre Dame High School in Cincinnati, Ohio. In her senior year, Adams not only led her team to a volleyball state
championship but notched a basketball one as well. “There’s a couple of [former basketball players] on the team,” Adams said. “They’re all tall. They should’ve all played basketball.”

Others on the team include freshman setter Hannah Allison, junior outside hitter Amber Roberson and sophomore outside hitter Bailey Webster. And while hard work and dedication have helped guide their success at this level, being blessed with natural height and athleticism takes a little luck in the genetic lottery, as many members of the team come from a ackground of basketball prowess in the family.

Webster was a four-year letterman on the St. Paul School for Girls’ basketball team in Baltimore, Md. and garnered all-county honors her junior year. Her father, Elton, played two years ofbasketball at Tulane while her mother, Cedrina, played four years at Xavier.

Adams’ father Rich starred at Illinois before being drafted in the fourth round of the 1978 NBA Draft by the San Antonio Spurs — which, coincidentally, was co-owned by current UT business school namesake Red McCombs at the time.

For Roberson, basketball is a full-blown family affair. Both of her parents attended New Mexico State, with her father, John, playing basketball and her mother, Lisa, a volleyball player. John’s sport seems to be winning the battle as most of Roberson’s six brothers and sisters chose basketball. Her older sister, Ashlee, played at Texas Tech and garnered Big 12 honors her senior year. Her brother, Andre, played his first game for Colorado last week, posting six points and 11 rebounds. And her sister, Arielle, is one of the most sought-after high school seniors in the nation, weighing offers from powerhouses including Texas.

Though ultimately choosing volleyball, Roberson was far from a shabby basketball player herself, leading Wagner High School in San Antonio to a state semifinal her senior year in lieu of garnering all-state honors. She said her childhood had its fair share of games of 21 and inter-family tournaments.

“We competed a lot,” Roberson said. “It was fun but sometimes there were tears. Usually, [my family is] talking about basketball 24/7, maybe volleyball one percent of the time. They’re still all supportive of me playing volleyball though, especially my mom.”

Allison was actually discouraged to continue playing basketball by her mom, Kelly, who starred at Baylor.

“My mom thought it’d be better I not play a contact sport for the rest of my life because I’m pretty competitive,” Allison said. “I try to keep them separate, but I love both of them. They’re just different.”

The easy-going Roberson said volleyball had always just been more fun.

“Honestly, a couple of us [on the team] have talked about basketball but nothing really drastic,” Roberson said. “Volleyball seemed my sport because it fits my personality.”

While Roberson chose the sport because it fit, Adams had her own reasons.

“I got to a point where the girls started getting bigger and sweatier, and I was like, I’m done,” Adams said.

Elliott said despite common skill sets, fewer athletes these days do both sports because of scheduling. Elliott tries to seek out athletes that will compete physically at the college level.

“The way it’s going now with sports is that you have to pick and choose at an early age because of AAU and club volleyball, and it’s hard to do both,” Elliott said. “We’re fortunate that a lot of these girls have picked volleyball but a lot of them stay with basketball too. It just shows that they’re multidimensional athletes.”

Senior outside hitter Juliann Faucette continued her hot streak Wednesday with a 30-kill performance as the seventh-ranked Longhorns beat Baylor 23-25, 25-19, 27-25, 25-17 to extend their winning streak to 10 games.

The team dropped the first set before fighting back to capture the next three and extended its current streak against the Bears to 18.

“I was really pleased with our team tonight,” said head coach Jerritt Elliott. “Baylor came out and played really well in the first set. They were steady and sided out at a high percentage. I have had so much fun with this group. They fight in the crunch time.”

Playing without junior Amber Roberson, Texas relied more heavily on its captain to provide the offensive firepower, and Faucette delivered a career-high performance to go along with 15 digs and two blocks assisted. The San Diego native had tied her previous career-high of 28 over the weekend against Oklahoma.

“I’m proud of her,” Elliott said. “She has been through some tough times, but she has always stuck with it and continued to build. We told her you are going to find your rhythm at some point during the season and when you do, we are going to be scary. She continues to work hard and her work ethic is a tribute to where she is now. When she plays like this, we are a great team.”

It was a night of career-highs as junior setter Michelle Kocher notched a personal best 59 assists and freshman libero Sarah Palmer tallied 26 digs. The team also got double-digit kills from its regulars, including sophomore utility player Sha’Dare McNeal, junior middle blocker Rachael Adams and senior middle blocker Jennifer Doris. Senior Lauren Dickson, who has made appearances mostly as a serving specialist, started in the place of Roberson and put together a four-kill, 15-dig performance.

After splitting the first two sets, Texas fell behind early against Baylor 2-8 and 10-19 and fought off four set points before taking the game itself.

“They keep finding ways to win,” Elliott said. “That shows you the kind of character this team has. It was a great team effort.”

The Longhorns hit the road again on Saturday, as they face Texas Tech in Lubbock.