After starting off their season with a mistake-ridden loss against No. 1 Nebraska, the No. 3 Longhorns are starting to find their form.
Texas (5–1) swept the Miami Hurricanes 3–0 on Saturday for its fourth straight win, sealing a sweep of the American Campus Classic.
“We’ve been getting a little bit more comfortable,” head coach Jerritt Elliott said. “Because our season is so fast and we’ve just had two weeks of practice, it takes a little bit of time. ”
The Longhorns got off to a rough start, committing eight service errors early in the first set. But senior outside hitter Paulina Prieto Cerame jump-started the winning effort with four kills in the middle of the set. Texas dominated the rest of the set defensively — they didn’t let Miami score three consecutive points — before freshman outside hitter Micaya White sealed the set, 25-17.
“[The errors] were not good,” Elliott said. “We talked about it in the routines. We had a couple players miss a few serves in a row, so something we’ve got to clean up for sure.”
Miami took their first lead in the second set, 4-3. But Texas quickly matched the score at 5-5, beginning a set filled with ties — the teams tied six times. The Hurricanes came back late in the game, bringing the score to 17-14 for their longest streak of the match. In the end, an ace from Collins followed by a kill from White closed out the set, 25-19.
Texas’ home crowd helped the Longhorns’ momentum boil over in the third set. The Longhorns’ defense took control while keeping the Hurricanes from reaching 10 points until their match point. The burnt orange sealed the 25-10 set victory on the next point to cement the sweep.
Prieto Cerame said the Texas’ early struggles against Nebraska on opening weekend helped the team find its identity; it has now won four straight games.
“I think Nebraska was a good wake-up call,” Prieto Cerame said. “I’ve been trying to work with the seniors and the rest of the team and just try to find the right identity and see what it is we need to fix to get better.”
The Longhorns showed off their accuracy in the win, recording 50 kills on 89 swings. The outside hitters controlled the contest; White led the team with 14 kills, with Prieto Cerame and junior Ebony Nwanebu right behind with 11 and 12 kills respectively.
Defensively, junior libero Cat McCoy led the team with 10 digs while sophomore Morgan Johnson recorded five of the team’s nine blocks. However, Elliott said the team needs to improve defensively, as mistakes on defense kept chances for kills away from other hitters.
“We’ve got to work on giving the middles more opportunities to swing,” Elliot said.
The Longhorns will head to Fort Collins, Colo., for the Rams Volleyball Classic on Friday. The team will take on Colorado State at 8 p.m.