No. 10 Texas took down Texas A&M in three sets at Gregory Gym in a game that proved Texas’ ability to play as a team and defend.
The Longhorns, specifically freshman outside hitter Haley Eckerman, dominated the first set. Eckerman had a .556 hitting percentage and had six kills in the set.
A kill by Eckerman gave the Longhorns a 9-4 lead. A couple of key blocks by sophomore Hannah Allison helped give the Longhorns a 19-14 lead. The Aggies couldn’t come back and blocks by sophomore outside hitter Bailey Webster and Eckerman helped finish the set 25-15.
The Longhorns took an early 5-4 lead in the second set, but the Aggies came back and tied the score 8-8. A strong run by the Longhorns and an ace by junior Sha’Dare McNeal gave the Longhorns a 14-8 lead. The Longhorns didn’t look back and a kill by freshman outside hitter Khat Bell ended the set 25-19. Bell had a .611 hitting percentage and 12 kills in the game.
The third set was much closer than the previous two and was tied 13-13. But the Longhorns fought back and kills by Bell and senior outside hitter Rachael Adams brought the score to 20-18. The Longhorns eventually won the set 25-23.
“Overall, I thought we played really well in games one and two,” said head coach Jerritt Elliott. “We just kind of let them back in with some errors, but it was nice to see us kind of be tested in game three and see how we respond.”
The team’s blocking and defense was very strong throughout the game, especially in the first set. Allison said Texas studied A&M very well and the Longhorns knew what needed to be done to stop them.
“It’s almost like when you play great defense it gets you in a rhythm,” Allison said. “It’s making a great play defensively to make them change what their doing which helps us get in a rhythm.”
Elliott said there were too many errors in the game, but he is happy with how the team is playing.
“We’ve got a lot of new players out there,” Elliott said. “We don’t have any pin players that have a lot of experiences. Ultimately, the players are improving.”
Printed on October 6, 2011 as: Eckerman, Allison instrumental as Longhorns sweep Aggies