Horns down hand signs flew up in the air Saturday as the Jayhawks stormed the court.
No. 6 Kansas had just defeated No. 2 Texas, which came into the match undefeated in Big 12 play. The Longhorns and Jayhawks traded blows during the five-set match, but Texas ultimately fell to Kansas for its first loss since Sept. 18.
“I think a lot of us have realized we need to give more on the court,” senior outside hitter Paulina Prieto Cerame said.
Texas’ outside hitters dominated the game in the opening of the match. Prieto Cerame kicked off the first set with two-straight kills. Freshman outside hitter Micaya White added three more kills to the count while Prieto Cerame continued her groove to give the Longhorns a 12-8 lead. The Jayhawks closed the gap to 18-16, but the Longhorns ran away with the set, 25-17.
But the second set was different. The Jayhawks claimed an early 6-3 lead and continued to extend it after multiple Longhorn service and attack errors. Texas fell into a seven-point deficit at 12–5 and struggled to climb within reach for the remainder of the set. The Longhorns had a stretch of four-straight errors during the set, enabling the Jayhawks to secure a 25-11 victory.
The most hard-fought battle came in the third set. The Longhorns trailed the Jayhawks by four points at three separate times during the set, but kills from the outside kept them within reach. An ace and a kill from White eventually brought Texas ahead 21–19, but several errors cost the Longhorns, allowing the Jayhawks to win 27-25.
Texas held Kansas to a negative hitting percentage in the fourth set. White — who had a game-high 25 kills — led the Longhorns to an early 5-0 lead. Texas didn’t look back, going on to score a 25-12 win in the fourth set.
But mistakes cost Texas yet again in the fifth set. Junior outside hitter Kelsie Payne took control for the Jayhawks, capitalizing to form an early 8-5 lead. Six errors and Kansas defense sank Texas as Kansas took the final set 15-10.
Despite the loss, the Longhorns still have high aspirations for the rest of the season.
“I just want to win the Big 12,” senior setter Chloe Collins said. “That’s a team goal for us. I think there’s pressure with it, but I think it’s just how we handle it and just knowing what we’re capable of.”
The two teams are now tied for first place in the Big 12. Texas takes the court to battle TCU at 7 p.m. Wednesday in Fort Worth.