After a nine-day break, Texas’ outside hitters — senior Haley Eckerman, senior Khat Bell and junior Amy Neal — led the No. 2 Longhorns in a sweep of No. 25 Kansas State (25-19, 25-22, 25-12).
Bell, Eckerman and Neal gave Texas 33 of its 50 kills against the Wildcats. As a team, the Longhorns averaged a .406 hitting percentage for the match, their third time hitting an average of .400 or better this season.
Before the game, head coach Jerritt Elliott looked forward to matching the Wildcats, who were riding a four-game winning streak entering the match.
“[Kansas State] is very steady. Their numbers have been very good,” Elliott said. “They are very well-disciplined and obviously they’ve gone on a hot winning streak right now. They’re playing at home, so it’s a tough environment, but we need to be in these environments to be tested.”
Despite the challenging road environment of 3,927 Wildcat fans, the Longhorns eased their way past the Wildcats without issue, using their depth and balance to their advantage. Kansas State was able to keep the first set close, but Texas went on a string of runs and claimed the set, 25-19.
Kansas State gave the Longhorns the most trouble in the second set, as the two teams battled back and forth throughout. Despite 14 ties and four different lead changes, Texas squeaked past the Wildcats, 25-22.
With momentum on their side, the Longhorns dominated the third set with an 8-4 run to take a 12-5 lead. Continuing to produce, Texas closed out the match with a 25-12 win.
“I thought tonight’s match was a great environment for us to play in and a good test for our team,” Elliott said. “We responded very well.”
The victory extended the Longhorns’ Big 12 winning streak to 22 games and marked its fourth win over a ranked opponent. The win was also its 22nd straight win over Kansas State.
Sophomore setter Chloe Collins led the team in assists with 23, followed by sophomore utility player Nicole Dalton with 19. Junior middle blocker Molly McCage and sophomore outside hitter Paulina Prieto Cerame led the Longhorns in blocks with three apiece. Freshman libero Cat McCoy recorded a team-high 10 digs.
“We were as efficient as we’ve been all season,” Elliott said. “[We] played with great balance and had a great mentality.”
Texas (14-0, 6-0 Big 12) returns home to play four-straight home games, starting with TCU (12-9, 2-5 Big 12) at 7 p.m. Wednesday, which will be televised on the Longhorn Network.