The No. 4 Longhorns head to Kansas State this weekend, looking to stay perfect in the Big 12 and nab their 11th straight win.
The Wildcats entered their season as the No. 23 team in the nation but have recently fallen off the map in the national rankings. But despite the drop, the team still fields a lot of talent ranking in the top three in the Big 12 in kills, blocks, assists, aces and opponent hitting percentage.
Kansas State relies on senior setter Katie Brand, who ranks No. 2 in the Big 12 in assists behind Texas senior setter Chloe Collins. The battle between the setters highlights the conference matchup.
“[Collins] always gives me a look to tell me, ‘Let’s go,’” freshman outside hitter Micaya White said.
Led by senior libero Kersten Kober, the Wildcats also excel on defense, especially in blocks and digs. However, defense has regained a struggle for the Longhorns, who sit near the bottom of the Big 12 with 13.15 digs per set.
Both teams also sit within the top five in blocks per set, with Kansas at No. 2 with 2.48 and Texas at No. 4 with 2.43.
“That’s something that we’ve been working on,” head coach Jerritt Elliott said. “We’re really spending some time doing a lot of blocking and making sure we’re lined right and working kind of in those areas.”
Texas has remained a primarily offensive team with the top hitting percentage in the Big 12 at .307. However, Kansas State isn’t far behind, ranking third in the conference with a .254 hitting percentage.
The Longhorns look to secure their sixth-straight Big 12 title, and a win over the Wildcats would help boost the team’s momentum as they return home next week.
Texas and Kansas State begin play at 7 p.m. on Saturday.