COLLEGE STATION, Texas -- The University of Texas volleyball team dropped itsfinal regular season match to Texas A&M, 1-3 (30-23, 25-30, 29-31, 27-30)with 1,765 fans attending the match at G. Rollie White Coliseum on Wednesdaynight.
Texas (22-8, 13-7 Big 12) hit for .303 for the match while Texas A&M (19-9,11-8 Big 12) had a .280 hitting percentage. It marks the first match of theseason in which the Longhorns hit over .300 and lost the match.
Despite the loss, it was a good night for the Longhorns. Sophomore Mira Topic(Kastela Kambelovac, Croatia/Vladimir Nazor) crossed over the 1,000 careerkill plateau with 21 kills tonight while fellow sophomore Kathy Hahn(Leander, Texas/Leander) set career highs for kills and fewest attackingerrors in a match. Hahn's previous high was 25 against Kansas State on Nov.4, 2000 and finished the evening with 27 kills on 38 attempts with one errorfor a .684 hitting percentage. Topic added 15 kills for her 11thdouble-double of the year and 29th of her career. Junior libero StacyMillichap (Woodside, Calif./UCLA) tied her career high of 20 digs for thefourth time this season. Freshman Caron Blotch (Franklin, Ind./Franklin) had66 assists for the match, breaking her career-high of 60 she set againstMissouri on Oct. 26.
Sophomore Bethany Howden (Austin, Texas/Westlake) was the other Longhorn with double-figures in the kills column with 14. Sophomore LaTonya Coates (Bangor, Mich./Bangor Public) tallied 10 digs.
"I was happy with our performance in game one," said Texas head coach JerrittElliott. "Now it is time for our team to regroup and focus. We had a goodseason at 22-8, but everyone starts at 0-0 in the NCAA Tournament. I thoughtthat Kathy Hahn had a phenomenal performance and looked like a first-teamAll-American tonight."
Texas fought with the Aggies point by point in game one before pulling awaywith a 30-24 win. The Longhorns hit .400 for the game with Hahn and Topictallying six kills each. Hahn was a perfect six for six in attacks whileCoates also did not make an error in her five attempts. The first game saw 13 ties and eight lead changes. Texas grabbed the lead for good at 15-14 off ofan ace by Coates.
Texas hit .279 compared to A&M's .423 hitting percentage in the second gameas A&M won the game, 30-25. UT pulled out to an early 3-1 lead before theAggies came back to take the lead at 12-6. The Horns rallied back and closedthe gap to 18-20. Texas A&M scored the last eight of ten points off of kills. Hahn continued to be flawless on the attack, putting down five kills on eight attempts.
After the break, the Aggies hurried out to a 3-8 lead before Texas attemptedto come back in game three. The Longhorns caught up at 18-all and expandedtheir lead to 27-23 at one point. A&M came back using a combination of Aggiekills and Longhorn errors to the final tie of 29-29. Back to back attackingerrors sealed the Longhorn fate, falling in game three 31-29.
The Aggies carried the momentum from the come from behind win in game threeto take game four, 30-27, by taking the lead early and not letting go. Texascame within a point at 21-22 on a kill by Hahn. A&M responded with a kill bysenior A.D. Achilefu, who played her final home match tonight. Texas made tw o costly service errors in the final nine points of the match.
Texas will wait to receive its bid to the 2002 NCAA Tournament. Selectionswill be announced on Sunday, Dec. 1 at 8 p.m. Central and fans can watch theselection show on ESPNEWS. The ESPNEWS selection announcement can be found on DirecTV at channel 207 and on Dish Network at channel 142. In addition, somecable systems carry the ESPNEWS signal. Tournament brackets will be madeavailable after the announcement at www.ncaasports.com.