There will be a battle between two prominent defensive teams when Texas Tech comes to Gregory Gym to face No. 2 Texas on Saturday evening.
Texas (15-1, 5-0 Big 12) enters on an 11-game win streak and has only dropped one set in five conference games. The Red Raiders (13-7, 2-4) recently broke a four-game losing streak with a sweep of West Virginia. Texas Tech brings a solid defense into this matchup, which the Longhorns will counter with a slew of powerful hitters.
“When you have a great hitter coming at you, you don’t really know where they’re going to hit the ball,” senior defensive specialist Kat Brooks said. “They have so many different shots that as a defender you really have to be ready for anything. Having [hitters] like that is really great for us.”
Texas’ .307 hitting percentage ranks fourth in the nation. Senior outside hitter Amy Neal leads the Texas attack with 224 kills, assisted by three Longhorns who boast over 100 kills this season.
“It’s really important to play well on defense,” said Texas Tech head coach Don Flora after a Red Raider win earlier this season. “To out-dig a team means a lot.”
The Red Raiders will rely on their back row to challenge the Texas offense. Senior libero Carlie Foust leads Texas Tech’s defense with 337 digs. Texas Tech tends to out-dig its opponents, so the Longhorns will need to make good contact on hits.
Head coach Jerritt Elliott has stressed the importance of Texas’ passing. Brooks impressed with a career performance against Oklahoma over the weekend and sophomore libero Cat McCoy has performed well all season.
“We’re pretty steady and disciplined in a lot of areas,” Elliott said. “We’re getting more defense and more opportunities to control the ball. We have to keep improving from one point to the next.”