No. 3 Texas Sweeps Wichita State to Advance in NCAA Tourney
AUSTIN, Texas - The third-ranked Texas Volleyball team used a 12-kill, .429 hitting performance by junior All-America opposite hitter Ashley Engle to sweep No. 13 Wichita State in the NCAA Second Round. The Longhorns' victory advanced UT to the NCAA Austin Regional semifinals, marking the third straight season Texas has earned a trip to the semis. Texas' win moved the Longhorns to 27-3 on the season and the Shockers finished their season with a 30-2 mark.
In the first set, Wichita State grabbed an early 7-5 lead, but Texas answered with a 5-0 run capped by an ace from senior All-America middle blocker Lauren Paolini. The Longhorns widened the margin to 17-10 with a 5-0 run fueled by a pair of block assists from Engle and sophomore middle blocker Jennifer Doris. The Shockers narrowed the gap to five (19-14), but UT ran off six straight points powered by three Paolini kills to close out the frame, 25-14.
Texas led early in the second set before a kill by Wichita State's Lindsey Eckenrode moved the tally to 7-6. The Horns responded with a 4-1 run highlighted by a block and two kills from Engle that expanded the UT edge to 14-9. The Shockers battled back to close the margin to four (18-14), but Doris and the Longhorns came on strong down the stretch, siding-out at 94-percent for the set and winning the stanza, 25-18.
The Longhorns led early in the third and maintained their lead for the duration, pushing their lead to 11-6 on an Engle kill and maintaining their edge on a kill by Paolini at the 16-11 mark. Texas then pieced together a 4-1 run capped by a service ace from junior All-America outside hitter Destinee Hooker that increased the UT lead to 21-15. Hooker, Paolini and sophomore All-America outside hitter Juliann Faucette each tallied a kill late in the frame and closed out the set, 25-20.
Hooker led the Longhorns with a match-best 13 kills, while Engle connected for 12 kills, nine digs, five blocks and a service ace. Paolini added nine kills and Doris hammered out eight kills on .778 hitting. Wichita State's Emily Stockman and Sarah McGee paced the Shockers with seven kills each.
Texas returns to action when it hosts the winner of the UCLA/Duke second round match on Friday, Dec. 12 in the NCAA Austin Regional. First serve of the Texas match is set for 6:30 p.m. or 30 minutes following the first semifinal.
Article courtesy of Texas athletics.