No. 3 Texas Clinches Share of the Big 12 Title with Sweep of Colorado
AUSTIN, Texas - Texas senior All-America middle blocker Lauren Paolini posted 13 kills on senior night to lead the third-ranked Longhorns to a 3-0 victory over Colorado and a share of the Big 12 Conference title. The 25-21, 25-13, 25-17 win pushed the Horns season mark to 25-3 overall and 18-2 in the Big 12, while the Buffaloes fell to 13-16 and 7-13 in league action.
After trailing to start the first set, Texas claimed a 6-5 lead on a kill by junior All-America outside hitter Destinee Hooker. Texas then went on a 6-2 run capped by a Hooker kill that moved the tally to 14-10 before a block by Paolini and freshman setter Michelle Kocher increased the margin to 19-14. Colorado rallied down the stretch to shrink the lead to three (23-20), but kills from freshman middle blocker Jennifer Doris and Paolini sealed the game, 25-21.
In the second frame, Texas blew the set open with a 6-0 run paced by three kills from junior All-America opposite hitter Ashley Engle that put UT ahead, 16-8. A second 6-0 UT run aided by a Kocher solo block moved the Longhorns' advantage to 23-10. Paolini then closed out her second straight set with a kill, ending the stanza 25-13.
Paolini came on strong again in the third set, registering six kills on .857 hitting in her final regular season set at Gregory Gym. With the score knotted at seven, Paolini headlined a 10-1 run with five kills that advanced the Texas lead to 16-7. Colorado battled back to narrow the lead to five (19-14), but two late kills by freshman middle blocker Rachael Adams and a set-ending kill by Paolini closed out the set, 25-17.
Paolini registered her eighth error-free hitting performance in Big 12 play with 13 kills on 15 swings and an .867 attack mark. Engle and Hooker each added 11 kills and 11 digs in the victory.
Texas now awaits its NCAA Tournament fate, which will be announced on the NCAA selection show at 9 p.m. Central on Sunday, Nov. 30 on ESPNU.
Article courtesy of Texas athletics.