While most of us will be shivering at DKR or glued to our TV sets bemoaning the ridiculously under-qualified TBS announcers on Saturday night, the Texas volleyball team will be heading up I-35 to take on the Baylor Bears in hopes of adding to their 10-game win streak over the Bruins.
This looks to be a tough match for the Horns. Texas barely hung on to beat Baylor 27-30, 30-26, 30-26, 31-33, 15-10 at Gregory in early October. The Horns are also dinged up - Dariam's hip, Ashley's ankle, Heather's hamstring. However, Destinee has had a series of monster games that have contributed to the current 4-game win streak, and Ashley has been solid in every one, in spite of the ankle. Two subs have also stepped up big in the past two games - Lauren Paolini and Jen Christian were both highly-touted recruits who have taken a back seat all season to the fab freshmen. Pao and JC each had 10 kills in a sweep of Kansas on Wednesday. The Horns also rely on senior leadership from Jen Todd, who quietly posts double-digit kills in nearly every game.
The Bears are led by senior OH Nicole LeBlanc, who averages 3.56 kills and 3.21 digs per game and senior MB Desiree Guilliard-Young, who ranks fifth in the Big 12 conference with a .359 hitting percentage, averages 2.93 kills per game and ranks second in the league with 1.54 blocks per game. Compare that to the top 3 Texas hitters (Ashley Engle, 3.71 kills per game, Dariam Acevedo, 3.46 kills per game, and Destinee Hooker, 3.44 kills per game) and the Horns have a big advantage on offense. Their other weak spot is at setter, where they start a freshman.
The stat of the match will likely be the blocks. In the first match, Texas edged Baylor 12-11 in total team blocks. Texas has been focusing on their blocking schemes in practice of late, and it has paid off with a big advantage in team blocks in the 4-game win streak. If we can continue to dominate the net, and Destinee gets her 20 kills, then Texas should win this one in 4.
Texas is home all week next week, hosting the Aggies on Wednesday night and Missouri on Saturday. Both of these games should be entertaining, and are just about the last chance you BON'ers will get to see the Gregory Gazelles until the post-season.