Despite being the Longhorns’ third matchup against a top 15 team, No. 4 Texas finished the weekend with a 3-0 sweep of No. 14 Colorado State on Sunday afternoon.
The final match of the Texas Classic was a rematch of the 2014 NCAA Tournament Regional Semifinal, which Texas also won in straight sets. It marked the second time this season Texas has achieved three straight sweeps.
“We had some good balance on our team,” head coach Jerritt Elliott said. “We hit for a high kill percentage and a good error percentage, so when you’re in that situation, you’re going to win a lot of games.”
Colorado State started the first set well, with blocking that kept the Texas defense scrambling. The Rams jumped out to a 13-9 lead, but Texas settled down after a timeout and went on to win the set, 25-20. Seniors outside hitter Amy Neal and middle blocker Molly McCage led the Texas offense with three kills each. Texas and Colorado State were evenly matched in set one — the Longhorns hit .300 and the Rams .242, and both teams registered two blocks.
But Texas dominated set two. The Longhorns jumped out to an early 7-3 lead and continued to control the set from that point on until they won, 25-18. Texas’ passing was efficient in the set, led by five digs apiece from sophomore libero Cat McCoy and Neal. Freshman defensive specialist Lauren Beard added four digs and helped Texas’ side out percentage improve from 55 in set one to 68 in set two. Offensively, junior middle blocker Chiaka Ogbogu and junior outside hitter Paulina Prieto Cerame each notched four kills.
“We were a little bit slow in the warm up, and that affected our start,” Prieto Cerame said. “I think we did a pretty good job of picking it up. We’re still working on being consistent and not being slow in the beginning.”
Texas came out of the intermission and played as it did in the previous set. Prieto Cerame continued to swing well and led the Longhorns with a career-high 14 kills. McCoy finished with 11 digs and Collins recorded 33 assists.
The Longhorns were locked in on the serving side of the match, registering nine service aces highlighted by Neal’s career-high of five. Neal served four-straight aces late in set three to give the Longhorns a comfortable lead.
“Great teams serve well,” Elliott said. “That was the difference in set three. You’ve got to be aggressive from the service line.”
Texas’ next game will be in Tucson, Arizona, for the Wildcat Classic Friday and Saturday.