Longhorns beat Kansas State for Elliott’s 400th win

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Senior outside hitter Paulina Prieto Cerame hits the ball on Saturday during Texas’ 3-1 win against Kansas State.
Photo Credit: Joshua Guerra | Daily Texan Staff

Head coach Jerritt Elliott walked off the court Saturday with 400 career wins.

The Longhorns’ 3-1 win over Kansas State earned Elliott the milestone.  

“It’s another game,” Elliott said. “I don’t really care about the wins for me, personally. It’s more about developing the team and trying to do what we need to do, but it’s always nice and I hope I get a couple hundred more here at Texas.”

Texas (21–4, 13–2 Big 12) found its edge from early in the first set. The Wildcats struggled on the attack as Texas claimed an early lead 12-6. Seemingly nothing could pass the net as the Longhorns collected four total blocks in the set. The lead grew to 18-10 and the Wildcats’ 10th point proved to be their last of the set as the Longhorns grabbed the win, 25-10. 

“Our coaches are constantly on us about taking care of our individual jobs and staying on each other,” senior outside hitter Paulina Prieto Cerame said. “Staying focused has been the biggest thing in us being able to do that.”

Not much was different in the second set. The Wildcats acquired 11 kills, more than the seven they posted in the previous set, but the scoreboard didn’t show a difference. 

Texas’ outside-hitting scheme was stronger than ever in the second, with freshman Micaya White, Prieto Cerame and junior Ebony Nwanebu each rattling off seven kills. Nwanebu showed off her accuracy with a .625 percent kill efficiency. The Longhorns closed out with a joint block by White and sophomore Morgan Johnson, taking the set 25-15. 

The Wildcats came out aggressive in the third, taking their first lead of the set at 8-7. Points went back and forth, but Kansas State outside hitter Brooke Sassin stepped up and racked up seven kills in the set to seal a 25-20 victory for the Wildcats. 

“We start noticing at practices where we’re not having that urgency,” senior setter Chloe Collins said. “We need to just put more priority on every touch that we have, especially going into the tournament. We just need to make sure we’re focused and bring that into the game.”

After a tie at 7-7 in the fourth set, the Longhorns regained control. An eight-point run helped Texas jump out to a 20-10 lead. The Wildcats held on for three match points, but the Longhorns finished the match strong, 25-17.

“I think we’re playing our best volleyball right now in these last two matches,” Elliott said. “I think the team’s energy is good, I think their chemistry is good, I think their self-talk and looking to each other is a lot better right now. I think we’re starting to play some really good defense, and I like what I’m seeing right now.”

Texas returns to Gregory Gym on Saturday to take on West Virginia at 1 p.m.