Faucette dominates in Texas victory

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If the Longhorns are any indication, then winning certainly is contagious.

Texas rolled to its 12th-straight victory Wednesday night, sweeping the visiting Missouri Tigers.
The No. 8 Longhorns breezed through the match as senior outside hitter Juliann Faucette continued her dominant play of late, by far her best stretch of the season, as she carried Texas (20-5; 15-2 Big 12) with 16 kills. The All-American also added 10 digs for her 19th career double-double.

“Tonight we were playing some of the best ‘system volleyball’ that we’ve played all year,” head coach Jerritt Elliott said. “Overall, the performance and fight of the team continues to grow and I like where we are headed.”

The Longhorns used a balanced attack to down the Tigers (19-9; 11-7) for the second time this year. Texas has defeated Missouri in nine-straight meetings.

Junior middle blocker Rachael Adams and outside hitter Amber Roberson rounded out the Longhorns’ attack with 11 and nine kills, respectively.

Adams was devastatingly effective with a .714 attack percentage and looked like she was finding a consistent rhythm with junior setter Michelle Kocher — something the two have been building game-by-game.

“We’ve been working all this week on her tempo and me consistently driving so it makes it easier for her to find me and give me a great ball,” Adams said.

It was only fitting that Faucette, who had at least 24 kills in each of her last three matches and was the conference player of the week, ended the night on a blistering strike that glanced off a Tiger and into the stands for the game’s final point.

Texas came out of the locker room for the third set but was a step slow as the Tigers leapt out to a quick 10-6 advantage. But the Longhorns answered as they have all year, and put together a balanced 5-0 run to pull back in front for good.

After a sluggish start, the Longhorns flipped the switch in the first set and steadily pulled away from the Tigers. With the set knotted at five, Texas reeled off eight straight points as Faucette and Roberson led the way, finishing the set with five kills apiece.

The Tigers hung tight in the second set, keeping within a few points of the Longhorns from start to finish before Doris and Faucette had back-to-back kills to end the frame. Adams added four kills and teamed with Doris to set up shop in the middle of the net — combining for three blocks. Faucette continued her top-notch play, racking up another six kills in the set.

But the Longhorns won’t have long to rest on this one as they take the court again Friday at 6:30 p.m. when the Kansas Jayhawks make their annual visit to Austin.

It may be a quirky schedule, but it’s one Texas will have to get used to come tournament time in two weeks.

“It kind of mirrors the NCAA Tournament and that’s what we are preparing for as conference [play] ends,” Faucette said.