For the No. 1 seeded Longhorns, the season has ended too early. The seniors on this squad have been accustomed to finishing among the final four while playing at Texas and hoped to end their time in burnt orange with a national title. But, UCLA ended Texas’ season at the Elite Eight in Kentucky.
The 3-1 loss ended the Longhorn’s impressive season with a 25-5 record. Rachael Adams’ play made it apparent that she wanted to finish her career at Texas with a national championship ring. With a career high of 19 kills and a team best .412, her final match as a Longhorn was an impressive effort. She ended her college career with 20 career post season matches played, which ties the all-time Texas record.
With multiple errors and net violations, the Longhorns let this match slip out of their hands. In the first set, the team hit .517 percent, but that dropped all the way to .222 in the fourth. Elliott tells the team to have about three errors per set, but the team had 22 errors overall — an uncharacteristically high number.
The Longhorns went down 11-8 in the first set, but a timeout called by Jerritt Elliott was exactly what the team needed and they went on a 14-4 run to win the set, 25-19.
In the second set, Texas went down early again, but rallied to tie the score at 21. But, the Bruins won the set 25-22. Slow starts plagued the Longhorns in this match, but they rallied to claim a 15-14 lead off of a kill from Sha’Dare McNeal in the third. But a 4-1 run by UCLA at the end of the set finished it 25-22.
Texas started off stronger in the fourth, but UCLA’s Rachael Kidder’s two kills at the end of the set sealed the Longhorns fate, with a 25-21 loss. Elliott subbed in senior setter Michelle Kocher for sophomore Hannah Allison in an attempt to change the momentum and keep the team alive, but it wasn’t enough.
A trip to the Final Four in San Antonio was what the Longhorns were expecting for this post season, but they were not their usual offensive powerhouse in the match and their defense wasn’t where it needed to be, either. The team has a consistently high hitting percentage, but they could not find their rhythm against a powerful UCLA squad.
Seniors Adams, Kocher, Amber Roberson and Sydney Yogi are ending their time at Texas as one of the winningest classes in Texas volleyball history. But, their efforts were not enough.