Longhorns avoid upset in five sets against Texas Tech

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Senior outside hitter Paulina Prieto Cerame posted a career-high 24 kills in Texas’ victory against Texas Tech.
Photo Credit: Joshua Guerra | Daily Texan Staff

Texas Tech (10–13, 0–8 Big 12) had lost six matches in a row without winning a single set until Friday’s matchup with No. 2 Texas (16–2, 8–0 Big 12).

But the Longhorns still knew the Red Raiders would push them — Texas head coach Jerritt Elliott likened the game to a “national championship” for Texas Tech. And the Red Raiders pushed Texas, forcing five sets.

Still, Texas came out with a road victory to stay undefeated in the conference.

Texas struggled with service and attack errors in the first set. The Red Raiders had a four-point lead over the Longhorns six different times throughout the set before winning 21–25.

Freshman defensive specialist Claire Hahn picked up the pace for the Longhorns in the second set. Hahn racked up more digs within the first two sets than she had in the past five matches.

“[Assistant coach Erik Sullivan] has been working with me more than just watching film and just helping me be in the right position,” Hahn said, “He’s been reiterating the entire week that every contact that we have we should be focused and make ourselves better every time.”

The Longhorns dominated with two large runs to secure the third set 25-16.

But Texas took a step back in set four after winning two straight sets. The Longhorns tied the Red Raiders 13 times before giving up the set, 28–26. The team had two opportunities to close out the set at 24-22, but a kill by senior middle blocker Lauren Douglass kept the Red Raiders alive. After a tie at 26–26, Texas Tech picked up two straight points to send the match to a fifth set.

“We didn’t want to be in that situation,” Hahn said. “But when we were there we had to take advantage of it like Jerritt [Elliott] told us. We don’t go to five very much, so we really need to work on this, and probably later in the tournament we will be facing five-setters.”

Texas took control in the final set behind Hahn’s defensive rhythm and kills from senior outside hitter Paulina Prieto Cerame. The Longhorns won the final set 15–7 to remain undefeated in the Big 12.

Prieto Cerame finished the game with a career-high 24 kills.

“We weren’t scared we were going to lose that,” Hahn said. “Every single player on the court kind of looked at each other and said, ‘We are winning
this match.’”

The Longhorns return to Gregory Gym on Wednesday to take on the Oklahoma Sooners.