Volleyball sweeps Army, Miami to close out American Campus Classic

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Senior outside hitter Paulina Prieto Cerame leaps in the air for a high-hit ball against Miami on Saturday. She and her fellow outside hitters combined for 76 kills this weekend.
Photo Credit: Gabriel Lopez | Daily Texan Staff

No. 3 Texas is starting to find its identity.

After getting swept by No. 1 Nebraska on opening weekend, the Longhorns (5-1) regained their form this weekend in the American Campus Classic while sweeping three of four opponents — including both Army and Miami.

“I think we’re really starting to gel,” sophomore outside hitter Yaasmeen Bedart-Ghani said. “We’ve just been coming together more and more.”

Coming off back-to-back home wins over Lipscomb and UTSA on Thursday, the Longhorns started their weekend with a 3-0 victory over the Black Knights (2-4) at Gregory Gym on Friday. 

Texas exhibited sound fundamentals throughout the contest. The Longhorn defense — which tallied 49 digs — found a rhythm through senior setter Chloe Collins, who consistently set the team up for points. She totaled 40 assists in the win.

“Chloe’s been putting up some really good balls for me,” Bedart-Ghani said. “I’ve been able to drive to it and make contact.”

Texas’ outside hitters also dominated net play throughout the match. Bedart-Ghani, freshman Micaya White and senior Paulina Prieto Cerame — all above six feet tall — combined for 39 kills. 

“We’ve got arguably the best pins in the country,” head coach Jerritt Elliott said. “We can be overwhelming because we can play high. We’ve got great arms, and we’ve got great range.”

Texas followed suit with a sweep over Miami (3-3) on Saturday. 

The Longhorns got off to a rough start in the match, committing eight service errors early in the first set. But senior Prieto Cerame jump-started the winning effort with four kills in the middle of the game. 

The team fended off the Hurricanes again in the second set before dominating the third set, 25-10. Texas showed off its accuracy in the win, recording 50 kills on 89 swings. The outside hitters once again controlled the contest, with White, junior Ebony Nwanebu and Prieto Cerame combining for 37 kills.

Prieto Cerame said the Nebraska loss helped prepare Texas for the four-game weekend. She emphasized how the early season defeat helped them work out kinks.

“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.”

Texas returns to the court Friday in Fort Collins, Colorado, for the Rams Volleyball Classic. The Longhorns take on Colorado State on Friday at 8 p.m. and Wichita State on Saturday at 1 p.m..