Thanks once again to TempestHorn for this Gazelles preview. --PB--
The Texas/OU Volleyball series took on a different complexion last year when the Sooners knocked off the 'Horns in Norman in a five game thriller. They then followed that up by taking the Horns to 5 games in Austin before eventually losing. This year I was worried about the match in Norman, as OU was clearly becoming the masters of the 5 game match in the early part of the Big 12 season. However, this year’s Texas team has a new mindset and it’s paying dividends in the form of sweeps at A&M, at OU and at MU. Wednesday night The Suck that is OU will come to Austin for a Fright Night match. And yes my friends, OU should be very afraid!
Outside/Opposite Hitters: Juliann Faucette, Destinee Hooker and Ashley Engle for Texas; Sarah Weiland, Bridget Laplante and Mariana Blum for OU.
Advantage: Texas. Weiland had a good game against Texas in Norman. I fully expect Coach Elliott will have his blockers ready to shut her down for the rubber match. Remember the hitter matchups have 6’4", 6’3", and 6’2" for Texas going up against 6’0", 6’0", and 5’10". Unless you are a Sooner football player, you are more than capable of doing the math.
Middle Blockers: Lauren Paolini & Brandy Magee for Texas; Anna Stadel & Francie Ekwerekwu for OU.
Advantage: Texas. Last time in Norman, Pao hit at a .733 clip with no errors and Magee hit at a .556 clip with one error. For non-volleyball experts, those percentages are comparable to baseball hitting percentages. (Yes they are hitting that well!) I’d wish OU good luck stopping a middle blocker who is 6’5" like Pao, but I wouldn’t really mean it.
Defensive Specialist: Kisner for UT and Barnes for OU
Advantage: Texas. No one lays out for that critical get like Heather Kisner. On a side note, Heather is also the most attentive player to my niece when I’ve brought her up to Gregory for the kid’s clinic the past two years. So she’s aces in my book if for no other reason than that.
Setter: Michelle Moriarity for Texas and Julie Chester for OU.
Advantage: Texas. Michelle is the best setter in the Big 12. She proved that by besting Holloway last week. Her talent is amazing but when you also factor in her arsenal of hitters, it’s just not fair. I’d feel sorry for OU, but I wouldn’t really mean it.
Libero: Alyson Jennings for Texas and Hannah Sharp for OU.
Advantage: Texas. First off, I need to be whacked upside the head with a Destinee Hooker spike for suggesting the Libero battle was "even" last week against NU. This week I’m clearly capable of getting it right because last time Alyson had 12 digs and Sharp had 3. In case there are any Sooner fans trying to read this, that’s FOUR times as many digs.
You know how at the amusement parks, they have those signs on the big rides that say "You must be at least this tall to ride this ride?" That sign is the one I think needs to be posted on the door of the visitors’ locker room this Wednesday at Gregory. There’s no reason to break this down any further: OU sucks, they’re short and we’re going to beat the hell outta ‘em again.
I hope those of you who enjoyed yourselves attending or watching on TV last week will show up this Wednesday. I know it’s Halloween but the 6:30 start will allow you to be out around 8. A lot of people show up in costume, which is always fun. Children under 14 wearing a costume get in free and the players are giving out candy after the match.
The match is on TSTV which is Channel 77 on Time Warner Cable in Austin.
The Gazelles are also in action Friday night at 6pm (before the men’s basketball exhibition) against Florida A&M. Next week’s home match is Friday night at 6:30 pm versus A&M. The A&M match typically draws well and it would be awesome to sell out again, since they had a record crowd for us when we went to College Station