Huskers Fall at Texas
Austin, Texas - Despite a team-high 10 kills from Lindsey Licht, the eighth-ranked Nebraska volleyball team lost to second-ranked Texas, 3-0 (25-22, 26-24, 25-19) Friday evening in Gregory Gymnasium.
Licht led Nebraska (16-6, 9-4 Big 12) with 10 kills on .316 hitting, but Texas' Destinee Hooker was too much on the night with a match-high 19 kills on .400 hitting and 10 digs, as Texas remained unbeaten with a 18-0 mark (13-0 Big 12).
Nebraska racked up six aces, including two each from Hannah Werth, Gina Mancuso and Tara Mueller, but Texas hit .326 on the night and totaled 42 digs, compared to only .168 hitting and 33 digs by the Huskers.
Mueller and Werth had seven kills apiece in the losing effort, while Kayla Banwarth collected 11 digs, going over 1,000 in her career. Banwarth is just the third Husker to reach 1,000 digs before her senior season, joining All-Americans Jordan Larson and Jennifer Saleaumua.
Nebraska battled throughout the opening set, but Texas closed the opening set on a 5-2 run to pull out a 25-22 victory. The Longhorns hit .371 as a team with Hooker coming up with six kills, while Ashley Engle had 13 assists and three kills. Licht led Nebraska with four kills on .500 hitting, as NU hit .211 in the set. The teams traded points early, as the Huskers forged a two-point lead at 7-5 after an Anderson kill. Texas came back with three straight points, taking 8-7 lead on a block from Bailey Webster and Rachel Adams. The Huskers trailed 13-10 before regrouping, as a pair of Licht kills helped NU win three of the next four rallies to pull even at 14 on a Texas error. The Longhorns would come right back, winning three straight points to take a 17-14 lead on a Webster kill, but the Huskers would respond. Nebraska went on a 5-1 spurt, taking the lead at 19-18 after back-to-back kills from Werth and tied the score at 20 after Anderson's third kill of the set. Webster then put Texas ahead with a kill before a Sydney Yogi ace and a block by Adams and Engle put Texas up 23-20 and forced a Husker timeout. The Huskers pulled to within two twice, the last at 24-22 after a Licht kill, but Hooker's sixth kill of the set ended NU's comeback bid.
In the second set, the Huskers had a chance to take the set, but an unfortunate call didn't go Nebraska's way as Texas took a 26-24 victory. Licht came up big with five kills on .625 hitting, but Hooker and Juliann Faucette combined for 10 kills as Texas hit .290 in the set. After trading points early, the Huskers trailed 8-7 before Licht came through with three straight kills, putting Nebraska up 10-8 and forcing a Texas timeout. NU eventually led 13-11 after a Mancuso ace and took a 14-12 lead after an attack error. Texas came right back, running off three straight points to take a 15-14 lead and force a Husker timeout. UT led 16-14 before Nebraska used kills by Werth and Anderson to begin a 4-0 spurt, taking an 18-16 lead and forcing Texas to use its second timeout. The Huskers eventually built a 20-18 lead after a block by Cooper and Werth, but Texas came back with three straight kills to regain the lead at 21-10. NU continued to fight, as kills from Cooper and Licht and a solo block by Cooper gave the Huskers a 23-21 advantage. Hooker came back with two straight kills to tied the score at 23, but a Cooper kill gave NU a chance to take the set. Leading 24-23, Mueller hit a shot that looked and sounded like it hit a Longhorn hand, but the ball was ruled out, tying the score at 24. UT would take advantage, as a blocking error on NU and a Hooker kill sent Texas to the locker room up 2-0.
In the third set, Nebraska used strong serving to take an early lead, but Hooker took over late, as the Longhorns completed the sweep with a 25-19 win. Hooker totaled seven kills and a block in the set, as six of the kills coming after the Huskers took an 18-17 lead. Nebraska raced off the first straight points off the serve of Werth, as her second ace of the night gave NU a quick 4-0 lead and forced a timeout. NU continued to apply pressure with its serve, as two straight aces from Mueller highlighted a 6-1 run that helped Nebraska build a 10-4 cushion. The Longhorns would chip away at the lead, using a 9-3 spurt to tie the score at 13 a kill from Sha'Dare McNeal, but Nebraska kept fighting, as a Mueller kill and a block from Licht and Delano pushed the lead back to two points. NU eventually forged ahead 17-14 lead on a Mancuso ace, but Texas ran off five of the next six points to take a 19-18 after a pair of Hooker kills. Nebraska pulled to within 20-19 after a Delano kill, but Hooker rattled off four kills in a 5-0 run to end the match.
The Huskers will return to action on Wednesday, Nov. 4, when they host the Missouri Tigers. First serve is set for 7 p.m. and the match will be carried on the Husker Sports Network and on Huskers.com. In addition, the match will be televised live on NET Television on NET-1 and NET-HD.
Nebraska Head Coach John Cook
Opening Statement: We had some opportunities to win all three games, but Texas has got some great players and they're a great team. Destinee Hooker is a special player and she took over at the end of those games, and we just couldn't match it.
On tonight's match: One of the things our team has to understand is, our team doesn't have Destinee Hooker on it. You have to play great as a team, especially at the end of games and especially on the road. Destinee just took over. She did it in one game with jump-serving, she did it in another with a couple of kills. We certainly had opportunities. Our team competed hard. We did a really good job of following our game plan we had coming into this match, but Destinee is a once-in-a-lifetime type recruit, and you can do everything right and she will still get kills.
On if he thought they had Texas in the third set: We started off that game and had them on their heels. I was really pleased with how our team came out, still aggressive, in serving especially. But we didn't side out, we couldn't answer back. We started giving up runs and making errors. You just felt the momentum shift about midway through that game, it just felt like Texas had all the momentum, and we just couldn't do anything right.
On the positives from tonight's match: As a coach, I have to keep in perspective where Texas is as a team right now and where we are as a team right now. There are a lot of positive for us to take from this. We are learning what we're going to have to do to be successful at the end of November. I think there are a lot of positives that come out of this, and how our players handle the disappointment, knowing they had some shots at this match. I know there is great disappointment there, which is encouraging that this is important to them and they realized that too. I think this match was great relief for Texas and great motivation for Nebraska.
Freshman outside hitter Hannah Werth
On the match: Like Coach Cook said, Destinee Hooker is a phenomenal athlete and they answered back very strongly. Every time we gave them a free ball, and we didn't take advantage of our opportunities. I think that we learned from that. We just have to convert.
I think tonight we can take away a lot of good things that we did. We had moments of greatness. We just have to be consistent with them. I think this is the hardest we have fought all year. I could feel it.
Junior opposite hitter Lindsey Licht
On what went wrong in tonight's match: We just have to come out and play Nebraska volleyball there were opportunities, like Hannah and coach said, that we didn't take. We have to figure out how to play Nebraska volleyball. I know we can do it, I've seen it in practice, we see it in matches, and we saw glimpses of it tonight. We just have to find a way to pull together and show everybody.
On the attitude going into tonight's match: I don't think we were thinking about revenge. Maybe for some people, but I think it was more of a "how can we come out and beat Texas?" It was just one match. Texas and Nebraska have always been rivals. Since I got here, it has always been a big deal. There is always that little bit of energy, everybody wants to play. I don't think there was a "since they beat us at home, we've got to beat them tonight" attitude. Two great teams were playing, and we've got to come out and play.