Despite a No. 2 preseason ranking, the Longhorns failed to begin their 2016 campaign with the signature win they hoped for.
Texas went 1-1 in its opening weekend, defeating Oregon 3-1, but losing to No. 1 Nebraska — the reigning NCAA champions — in a sweep.
The Longhorns made avoidable mistakes and failed to show cohesion throughout the showdown of the nation’s top-2 teams.
However, Texas showed flashes of promise when it was able to stick to fundamentals.
Junior outside hitter Ebony Nwanebu made a strong return from a back injury suffered last September, racking up 33 total kills in Texas’ two matches this weekend.
Senior outside hitter Paulina Prieto-Cerame and freshman outside hitter Micaya White had strong performances during the Oregon match with 16 and 14 kills, respectively, but failed to replicate the dominance around the net against the Cornhuskers.
Texas lost the blocks battle in both matches against Oregon and Nebraska. With all of Texas’ outside hitters standing taller than six feet, the team has potential to cause chaos for the opposition around the net.
But faulty passes were the ultimate downfall for the Longhorns against the reigning national champs. Passing woes forced the Longhorns to scramble, denying them chances to set up their offense.
Nebraska showed its championship form with a dominant defensive performance against the Longhorns. If Texas wants to amp up its momentum, it must follow suit and limit mistakes on both offense and defense.