Red Raiders present road challenge for Texas volleyball

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Senior middle blocker Khat Bell (1) and Texas suffered their first loss of 2014 against Oklahoma on Oct. 25, but they are looking to rebound against Texas Tech on Wednesday.
Photo Credit: Ethan Oblak | Daily Texan Staff

No. 5 Texas volleyball (16-1, 8-1 Big 12) is looking to create a new Big 12 winning streak when it takes on Texas Tech on Wednesday.

After Oklahoma snapped the Longhorns’ 23-game winning streak, Texas is back to working on its goal of winning a Big 12 title and a national championship.

“From now on, we are focusing on doing well in the conference,” sophomore outside hitter Paulina Prieto Cerame said. “Our main goal is to win the national championship, but we also want to win our conference. Because we have a loss, that puts a little more pressure on our backs.”

Within the conference, No. 22 Kansas State and No. 24 Oklahoma are both only one game back from Texas. Head coach Jerritt Elliott said the team needs to step up for the
remainder of the season.

“[After the Oklahoma game] we went back and had some meetings, watched some film and, ultimately, we have to get back and be motivated,” Elliott said. “I think it’s the toughest time of the year, where there are a lot of upsets based on the season being so long. Hopefully, we will see a much different team.”

Since losing to Oklahoma, Texas got its first Big 12 test against Iowa State on Sunday. The Longhorns came out a little rusty but ended up claiming a 3-1 victory.

However, the Longhorns now face another challenge as they travel to Lubbock to play Texas Tech. 

Texas has already defeated Texas Tech once this season — a sweep on Oct. 9 that saw senior middle blocker Khat Bell lead the Longhorns with 10 kills, while senior outside hitter Haley Eckerman and Prieto Cerame added an additional nine kills apiece. Prieto Cerame also led the team with five blocks, and freshman libero Cat McCoy had 14 digs.

While the Longhorns had an easy time getting past the Red Raiders earlier this season, Elliott knows playing on the road is always a test.

“Some teams are different, but I think it’s a 3- or 4-point difference when you’re on the road per game,” Elliott said. “There’s an urgency. It [was] a very tough road test at Iowa State. Then we will come back [and play on the road against] Texas Tech.”

Although playing on the road is tough, Prieto Cerame said that if the Longhorns can get back to their normal routines, they’ll have no problem beating the Red Raiders and accomplishing their long-term goals.

“I think maybe we weren’t doing some of our typical routines when we played Oklahoma, and I think what we were doing before was good for us,” Prieto Cerame said. “We just need to keep our focus and play hard.”