Texas Volleyball Thumps Pepperdine In Home Opener

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The fourth-ranked Texas Volleyball team used a pair of standout performances by freshmen Khat Bell and Haley Eckerman to down Pepperdine 3-1 in its 2011 season opener at Gregory Gymnasium. A raucous crowd of 3,163 were on hand to witness the Horns’ 26-24, 21-25, 25-16, 25-22 victory on opening night of the Longhorn Network.

Bell led all Horns with 16 kills and added 17 digs and six total blocks to her stat line, while Eckerman notched 12 kills and chipped in four digs. Senior All-America middle blocker Rachael Adams joined them in double-digits with 10 kills on .412 hitting and bolstered Texas’ 20-block effort with seven total blocks.

Texas won a see-saw battle in a first set that saw 13 ties and five lead changes, rallying from a 22-21 deficit to close the frame on a 5-2 run. A kill by Adams put the Horns in front 23-22 and a Pepperdine service error forced set point at the 24-23 mark. The Waves evened the tally at 24 before UT used a Bell kill and a Pepperdine error to end the set, 26-24.

The second stanza marked another back-and-forth struggle for the first half of the set until Pepperdine went on a 6-1 run to forge ahead 17-14. The Waves widened the margin to 23-18 before a three-point UT rally cut the edge to two. Pepperdine responded and closed out the stanza 25-21 on two kills.

The Longhorns bounced back in the third, opening the set on an 8-2 run, and they did not look back. Adams notched four of the team’s 7.5 blocks in the frame. They stretched the margin to 18-8 courtesy of a 4-1 run fueled by two block assists by sophomore setter Hannah Allison. Bell and Eckerman helped UT close the door with two kills apiece down the stretch to end the set, 25-16.

In the fourth, Texas leapt out to an early 12-4 edge following a kill and two solo blocks by Allison. The Waves rallied to narrow the margin to two at the 21-19 mark and down to one at the 23-22 mark, but the Horns used a kill by Adams and a Pepperdine miscue to end the set 25-22.

Texas returns to action at the Burnt Orange Classic on today, Aug. 27 when it plays host to Ole Miss at 11:30 a.m. Central and the Israel National Team at 5 p.m. Central.

POST-MATCH NOTES

• Texas improved to 32-6 all-time in season openers and 9-2 under Jerritt Elliott.

• Texas moved its all-time record against Pepperdine to 12-4 and 6-1 in Austin.

• Khat Bell notched a kill/dig double-double in her collegiate debut.

• The Horns out-blocked the Waves, 20.0-to-6.0 in the win. The 20 blocks marked the most for Texas since it posted 20 against Florida A&M on Sept. 2, 2010.

 

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