Sophomore outside hitter Payton Caffrey added another kill to her 21 of the night late in the third set on Saturday afternoon, helping the Mountaineers obtain a 2-1 lead.
But the Longhorns didn’t fold. They played out the last two sets like a team that embraced the mantra established by sophomore outside hitter Micaya White earlier in the week.
“It’s still 0-0 no matter what,” White said.
The No. 6 Longhorns (9–2, 1–0) claimed their first conference win of the season, taking down West Virginia (12–3, 1–1) in a 3-2 comeback victory.
Texas was pushed to the brink in the first set, due in part to attack and service errors, and found itself in a 25-25 deadlock towards the end of the first frame.
However, kills from White and freshman Lexi Sun gave the Longhorns an early 1-0 lead.
“The strength of our team is in the number of quality players (we have),” head coach Jerritt Elliott said. “When people are not playing the perfect match, then they can come in and be better.”
Sun posted yet another double-double, adding 13 kills and 11 digs to aid the Longhorn effort. Freshman Ashley Shook was also very much in the fold, dishing out a career-high 53 assists.
The Mountaineers used a 7-0 run early in the second set to establish some separation, but Texas clawed back to tie the game at 20 apiece. Despite the rally, Texas was unable to hold off the Mountaineers’ attack, caving in 25-23 in the second set.
The third set brought more of the same from the Mountaineers, as they dominated the Longhorns to claim their second set in a row.
“Definitely being behind, we’re not really trying to look at the score,” White said. “Just thinking more about what we can do this play, getting this pass, getting this set.”
The final frame saw the Mountaineers jump out to a 5-1 lead, but an 8-1 Texas run gave the Longhorns a 12-10 lead. After Texas pushed the set to match point, West Virginia ultimately did itself in with a match-sealing
An error may have gotten the Longhorns the win, but it was also what pushed them to a point where the game could have gone out of reach. Texas had 16 in the first three sets, and five in the final two.
“We know it’s a process,” Elliott said. “We have some time to figure things out, but there’s urgency obviously and hopefully we have no problems.”
Having covered both coasts of the country in the past month, the Longhorns will come back home for the first time in almost three weeks. Texas will take on Baylor at Gregory Gym on Sept. 27. First serve is slated for 7 p.m.