Texas freshman Lexi Sun (#11) spikes the ball against Texas A&M-Corpus Christi at the Gregory Gym on Sept. 7, 2017. RICARDO B. BRAZZIELL / AMERICAN-STATESMAN

Volleyball

Texas volleyball beats Baylor behind freshman duo of Ashley Shook, Lexi Sun

Posted September 27th, 2017

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Barely a month into their college careers, Ashley Shook and Lexi Sun are already developing into a dynamic duo.

The Texas freshmen shined in Wednesday night’s 25-19, 28-26, 25-17 sweep of Baylor at Gregory Gym. Shook picked up the sixth double-double of her career and set up Sun for 11 kills. Sun was the country’s No. 1-rated high school recruit last year and Shook was No. 6.

“We’ve bonded a lot,” Sun said. “Our (dorm) rooms are one room away, so we’re basically neighbors.”

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The chemistry showed.

Shook had  31 assists and led the team with 15 digs. Even when the attack struggled to a .171 hitting percentage in the first set, she provided a defensive spark with six of Texas’ 20 digs in the opening frame.

“We had focused a lot this week on being relentless on defense and a lot of communication,” Shook said. “Tonight it was all communication-based, that’s why we played so good.”

RELATED: Freshman setter Ashley Shook provides Texas volleyball with a new look

Texas freshman Brionne Butler (10) looks to block classmate Ashley Shook (9) during an intrasquad scrimmage at Gregory Gym on Aug. 19, 2017. (Stephen Spillman / for American-Statesman)

The 6-1 setter found her groove in the second set, spraying passes to a number of different targets. Micaya White shared the team high in kills with Sun while Ebony Nwanebu had eight, Morgan Johnson seven and Chiaka Ogbogu six. Shook had 13 assists in the second set alone.

“It’s my dream come true,” she said. “I’ve never had all these hitters. I can can go anywhere and anyone can get the kill.”

The Longhorns (10-2, 2-0 Big 12) survived a scare in the second set as Baylor (12-4, 2-1) rallied to take a late lead and had two set points that could have leveled the match. But trailing 24-23, Johnson had a kill followed by Nwanebu and Ogbogu stuffing the Bears’ Katie Staiger. Then Baylor, up 26-25, committed back-to-back errors before Shook set up White for the set winner.

“I was very proud of them,” Texas coach Jarrett Elliott said. “At that point it’s a lot of execution. … We did a nice job of slowing some balls down and got some great transition swings.”

Sun had six of her kills in the second set, all of them assisted by Shook.

“(Shook) is a really hard worker,” Sun said. “She stays calm and gets feedback really well and doesn’t take it personally. She really works hard at getting you the perfect ball.”

Texas cruised to a 25-17 victory in the final set.

Staiger, who came in leading the league at 5.29 kills per set, was limited to 12 kills after laying down 11 in the first two sets.

Texas has now won four straight matches since its 3-1 loss to then- No. 1 Minnesota on Sept. 8. The Longhorns host Kansas State at 1 p.m. Saturday.

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