Sha’Dare McNeal leads the Texas Longhorns in last home regular season match


Ricky Llamas

Bailey Webster prepares to spike the ball during Texas’ 3-0 victory over West Virginia. The Longhorns won their 17th straight game, improving to 15-0 in Big 12 play.

Sara Beth Purdy

With so much on the line, including a perfect conference season and home court advantage for the NCAA tournament, the Longhorns were able to stay relaxed and maintain focus in order to come out with the sweep.

By the Numbers:
1: Number of games that stand between the Longhorns and their first perfect conference record since they joined the Big 12. Right now, the No. 3 Longhorns are sitting at 15-0 in conference play and 23-3 on the season. 
.455: Senior Sha’Dare McNeal’s hitting clip for her final regular season home game. 
8: Number of errors by the Longhorns compared to the 19 committed by the Mountaineers.

Set by Set:
Set 1: The Mountaineers kept it close at the beginning of the match, but an ace by McNeal followed by an 8-2 run put the Longhorns ahead 17-8. Texas brought a quick end to the match by hitting .583 as a team and wining 25-14. 
Set 2: The Longhorns started out fast, going up 5-1. The Mountaineers were able to bring the set to within one, but an 11-6 run by Texas destroyed any momentum for West Virginia. Texas won set two 25-17 on the efforts of sophomore Haley Eckerman who had six kills and a service ace.
Set 3: The only time the Longhorns trailed was during this set, and that was only briefly. After giving up the first point, the Mountaineers went up 3-3 before surrendering the lead on the next point. They were not able to come close again thanks to a nine-error performance that led to a -0.067 hitting clip. The Longhorns won the set 25-16 and the match 3-0. 

Senior Spotlight:
McNeal played her last regular season home game for the Longhorns on Saturday against West Virginia. The senior utility from San Diego, California had three service aces and seven kills. She is the only senior on this year’s squad. Against the Mountaineers, McNeal fittingly got the last kill of the match to put away the 3-0 win for the Longhorns. 
“She’s been a big part of this program,” said head coach Jerritt Elliott. “She’s been a great person to have in our program and she has developed into a leader.”

Up Next:
The Longhorns have one final regular season game left on Saturday in Ames, Iowa against the Iowa State Cyclones at 6:30 p.m. The Cyclones are currently sitting in second place in the Big 12 with a conference record of 11-3. They are 18-7 on the season and are currently riding a seven game win streak within the Big 12 conference.

Printed on Monday, November 19, 2012 as: McNeal shines on Senior Night