Press Box Observations: Volleyball

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Here are three observations from Texas’ three set sweep of Texas Tech.

Hannah Allison is a key part of this team

Allison had 15 assists in the first set. She was all over the floor and did not give up on the ball throughout the night. She even had two service aces in the second set. Without Allison, Texas would not have had such a successful night both offensively and defensively. Rachael Adams finished the game with a .600 hitting percentage. In the first set, she had 15 assists and in the second set, she had two serving aces. She finished the game with 36 assists and five digs. She’s taken on a leadership role with her improved play and team attitude.

Sha’Dare McNeal is back

In her first start since opening night against Pepperdine on Sept. 26, McNeal made her presence known on the court — and it wasn’t because of her knee brace.

She had an incredible down the line kill that made the score 23-17 in the third.

“I figured that Rachael’s hitting numbers would go up 100 to 150 points with Sha’Dare next to her because she pulls a blocker with her and makes it a lot more challenging with that,” said head coach Jerritt Elliott. “With the numbers that Sha’Dare is able to put up and Rachael to go up for big numbers and get good balance, it was really nice to see.”

McNeal said that she is learning to trust her knee again.

“It’s been kind of a challenge,” she said. “But everyday [I’m] getting in the practice room and I’m working to get where I was.”

Low on Blocks, High on Digs

Elliott expected that McNeal’s return would lead to an increased amount of blocks for Texas.

But Texas had 43 digs and three team blocks. Amber Roberson had nine digs while libero Sydney Yogi and McNeal both had eight. The team’s defense has continued to get better and better this season.

Although blocks weren’t necessarily the team’s strong suit tonight, the team still dominated.

“We’ve got so much velocity and we’re digging balls far off the net and making it challenging,” Elliott said. “I would have thought we would have won the blocking game tonight, but we didn’t.”

He was impressed with how the team was able to slow down balls by getting touch blocks and soft blocks .

“There wasn’t a lot of balls hit to the wood and when that happens, we’re pretty successful,” Elliott said.