The Longhorns improve to a perfect 11-0 in Big 12 Conference matches for the second-consecutive season. (photo: University of Texas Athletics)
AUSTIN, Texas -- Behind a season-high 25 kills from junior All-American Haley Eckerman, No. 1 Texas Volleyball downed No. 24 Kansas, 3-1 (25-16, 15-25, 25-22, 25-21) Saturday afternoon at Gregory Gym. The win extends the Longhorns’ streak to 14-straight matches, including a perfect 11-0 start in Big 12 Conference contests.
Eckerman added 13 digs for her second-straight double-double and 13th of her career. Senior All-American Bailey Webster also recorded double-digit kills with 16, while senior setter Hannah Allison notched a team-high 40 kills and senior libero Sarah Palmer led the Horns with 14 digs.
Texas (18-2, 11-0 Big 12) never trailed in the opening set and cruised to a 9-3 lead before Kansas (19-6, 9-3 Big 12) called its first timeout. The Jayhawks used a 6-2 rally to close the gap to two points, but the Longhorns answered back with a powerful 14-7 run to take the first game. Webster led Texas with five kills while the Longhorns outhit the Jayhawks .481-.081.
Game two was a reversal of the first as Kansas stormed ahead to a quick 10-4 lead and never allowed Texas within more than five points. The Longhorns recorded just seven kills on 39 attempts (.051) as the Jayhawks evened the match.
In a back-and-forth third game that saw 11 ties and four lead changes, Texas utilized a late 6-3 run for a come-from-behind win. Down 12-15, the Longhorns took advantage of three-straight Jayhawk hitting errors and a trio of kills by Eckerman and Webster to climb ahead 18-16. Kansas tied the match at both 19- and 20-all before Texas broke away for the 25-22 win.
Game four mirrored the third with 12 ties and two lead changes before Texas took a late 19-17 lead on back-to-back kills by Eckerman and Allison en route to clinching the match.
Catherine Carmichael led the Jayhawks with 13 kills, while Sara McClinton, Caroline Jarmoc and Tayler Soucie added 11 apiece.
Following another midweek bye, Texas returns to action in one week when it travels to Texas Tech for aSaturday afternoon contest in Lubbock.
- Texas has won 46 consecutive home Big 12 Conference matches in Gregory Gym.
- The Longhorns have won 11 consecutive conference matches this season as part of a 14-match winning streak.
- Texas has won 56 of its last 58 conference matches.
- Texas improved to 35-4 all-time against Kansas … the Longhorns have won 20-consecutive matches against the Jayhawks.
- The Longhorns are 6-1 against ranked opponents.
- Texas’ 15 points in game two were its fewest since a 13-point production in the fourth set against then-No. 1 Penn State (Sept. 7).
- Texas totaled 13 blocks, marking the third-straight match with 12 or more blocks.
- The Longhorns had 54 kills on the night, their third-highest total of the season.
- Haley Eckerman led the Longhorns in kills for the 11th time with a season-high 25.
- Khat Bell led the Longhorns in blocks for the ninth time and second consecutive match with a season-high seven.
- Sarah Palmer led the Longhorns in digs for the 17th time this season with 14.
Texas Head Coach Jerritt Elliott
Opening Statement: It was obviously a very hard fought match for us, a very big match for us to win at home. In terms of the conference race it does a lot for us. I thought game one was one of our best performances of the year. We got challenged after game two and were in a fight the rest of the way. We did a better job after the break. We’ve just got to continue to be able to respond. We struggled obviously in our ball control game today, therefor we had to rely on these two (senior Bailey Webster and junior Haley Eckerman) so much. We’ll go back and address it, get better, and continue to grow emotionally as well.
Senior OH Bailey Webster
On the possibility of going undefeated in conference play: It would be a great accomplishment to go undefeated, but like he (Coach Elliot) said, it hasn’t really crossed our minds because I think we’re just focused on one game at a time, and although it would be great, it’s more important learning as a team. There are a lot of things that are more important that we’ve got to experience together.
Junior OH Haley Eckerman
On being able to come together as a team: The biggest thing is just making sure we’re communicating. We’re able to have a player-only meeting if something is going on, and we’re able to take that advice and go with it and not take offense to it. That’s just the biggest thing, we know what we all want so we’re just trying to work together for it.