The Longhorns took a giant step forward and a small step back over the weekend in the Nike Big Four Classic.
On Saturday, No. 10 Texas (3-3) was finally able to clear a big hurdle against No. 2 Penn State, winning 3-2 (25-23, 25-20, 19-25, 14-25, 15-10). The Nittany Lions knocked the Longhorns out of the previous two NCAA tournaments.
Freshman outside hitter Haley Eckerman headlined the team’s performance with 13 kills, helping to earn her a place on the all-tournament team. Her opposite side hitter, sophomore Bailey Webster, had a strong showing as well with 10 kills and a .500 hitting percentage.
However Texas’ weekend wasn’t perfect: The Longhorns fell to No. 7 Florida in five sets on Friday (22-25, 25-20, 13-25, 25-21, 12-15).
Despite that defeat, there are lots of positives to take out of the weekend, such as Texas’ ability to push the best teams in the country to five sets. But the biggest boost in confidence comes from the fact that the Longhorns finally beat Penn State.