30 Nov

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Perfection: No. 1 Texas Volleyball Beats Baylor for its First Perfect Big 12 Season

The Longhorns extend their overall win streak to 19-straight matches and finished 16-0 in conference action. (Photo: University of Texas Athletics)

The Longhorns extend their overall win streak to 19-straight matches and finished 16-0 in conference action. (Photo: University of Texas Athletics)

AUSTIN, Texas -- No. 1 Texas downed the Baylor Bears 3-0 (25-20, 25-16, 25-14)Saturday afternoon to complete the first perfect Big 12 Conference season in program history. In front of 4,392 fans - the largest crowd ever in Gregory Gym’s current configuration - the Longhorns also improved their overall win streak to 19 consecutive matches. They now await Sunday's announcement of the 64-team NCAA Championship field.

Junior All-American Haley Eckerman led the Longhorns with 20 kills and zero errors, while senior setter Hannah Allison and senior libero Sarah Palmer added a match-high 34 assists and 11 digs, respectively.

UT is now the second conference member all-time and first since 2004 to post an undefeated Big 12 record. The Longhorns have now won 49 consecutive Big 12 Conference matches in Gregory Gym, a streak that dates back to 2008.

Texas (23-2, 16-0 Big 12) controlled a small lead for most of the first set after an early 3-3 tie. Baylor (12-20, 4-12 Big 12) kept it close, however, and was able to rally to tie the set again at 18. With the set tied, Eckerman gave UT the lead with one of her seven kills in the set. The powerful spike sparked a 4-0 Longhorn run and they never looked back. The Bears did not take another lead after their very first point, and the Longhorns took the first set 25-20.

Game two started with Texas taking an 8-3 lead. Baylor was never able to recover, as UT went on an 8-0 later in the set, and won 25-16.

Game three was more of the same for UT as they started with a 6-1 lead before BU called a timeout. The Longhorns only continued to extend their lead to 15-6 and eventually won 25-14. The Bears only lead on two points the entire match, both 1-0 leads in first two games.

Seniors Hannah Allison, Megan Futch, Sarah Palmer, and Bailey Webster were honored after the match.

Texas will now take its winning streak into the 2013 NCAA Women’s Volleyball Tournament. Tomorrow's Selection Show will be televised by ESPNU at 8:30 p.m.Central. Prior to that, the Longhorns will visit the UT Tower at approximately 6:30 p.m. in honor of their 2013 Big 12 Conference championship.

 

Post-match Notes

Team

- With the win, Texas posted its third straight undefeated conference home record.

- Texas' perfect Big 12 Conference record is the first in program history … it is the fifth time a league volleyball team has gone undefeated in conference play and first since 2004 … Nebraska achieved the feat four times with 20-0 league records … Texas went undefeated in the Southwest Conference nine times (1983, '85-90, '93, '95).

- Texas' 19-match win streak is it’s longest since compiling the same in 2010.

- The Longhorns’ .425 hitting percentage (27-5-58) was a season best.

 

Individual notes

- Haley Eckerman’s 20 kills marked her eighth consecutive match with double figures … it was her fourth 20+ performance in the last eight matches.

- Khat Bell matched her career-high of three service aces.

 

Post-match Quotes

Texas Head Coach Jerritt Elliott

Opening statement: What a great crowd we had tonight. Obviously it is very emotional and special night for us with our seniors and being able to honor them. Accomplished something that no other class before has ever accomplished. We went undefeated in the Big 12 and it is a major accomplishment for this team and this group and now we are excited to get on to the NCAA Tournament.

 

Senior S Hannah Allison

On what changed with the team after the close first set: Well, I think we made good adjustments on defense. They came out and played really well the first game and it took us too long to make adjustments but when we did about the beginning of the second game, you could tell and it resulted in more points for us.

 

Senior OH Bailey Webster

On the emotions in this match: Not as much because I had been to the past senior nights and I knew I didn’t want my emotions to overtake my playing in the game. Although I started to think about it in the beginning, I put it aside but now that the game is over I am starting to feel more emotional and thinking about things.

James Schleicher is the publisher of Horns Illustrated magazine. He's also a fifth generation Texan and lifelong Austinite. Follow @HornsIllus twitter to keep up with all things Horns Illustrated.