Longhorns easily sweep Oklahoma, 3-0

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Senior utility player Sha’Dare McNeal records a kill Saturday night against Oklahoma in the Longhorn’s Big 12 season home opener. McNeal had a career-high nine blocks and nine kills.

Photo Credit: Elisabeth Dillon | Daily Texan Staff

It was almost too easy. The No. 9 Longhorns blew past Oklahoma effortlessly in three sets during their first home Big 12 match of the season Saturday night at Gregory Gym. The Longhorns, who extended their record over Oklahoma to 39-3, used the energy of the crowd during their 3-0 win (25-18, 25-14, 25-10).

With the win, the Longhorns improved to 9-3 on the season and 2-0 in Big 12 conference play. The win firmly cemented the Longhorns atop the Big 12 conference. They maintain a one game lead over Kansas, TCU and Iowa State who are tied for second with one win apiece.

The crowd showed up loud and proud and in droves Saturday night for the match, which also featured the Texas Traditions spotlight. The showing was more than twice that of the previous weekend. Texas head coach Jerritt Elliott praised the crowd for their spirit against rival Oklahoma and commented that the energetic audience played a huge part in the victory.

“First and foremost, I want to take the time to thank the fans for coming out,” Elliott said after the match. “It was a great environment for our team, made them feel real special, and it is nice to have that kind of support behind us in a big match.”

The team turned in a combined hitting average of .365 while committing only 10 errors. The low error count was a sharp improvement from last weekend’s error riddled performance in the Time Warner Cable Texas Invitational.

The team broke the .400 hitting mark during the last two sets, turning in averages of .406 and .419. The Longhorns held the Sooners to a hitting average of .037 throughout the match. In the final set, the Sooners turned in their highest average of the night of .056.

Sophomore All-American outside hitter Haley Eckerman led the Longhorns Saturday night with 14 kills while hitting .345. She also turned in two service aces, a season high two assists and five digs.

Sha’Dare McNeal also had a good outing against Oklahoma. The senior utility player turned in a career performance with nine blocks, nine kills and 13 digs. Junior outside hitter Bailey Webster posted 12 kills and three solo blocks.

Keila Rodriguez led the Sooners with eight digs and nine kills. The loss brought the Sooner’s record to 12-4 on the season and 1-1 in Big 12 conference play. The Longhorns snapped the Sooner’s six game win streak which featured a 3-0 sweep over No. 11 Kansas State.

The Longhorns held the Sooners to 42 combined points, the fewest allowed by Texas in the series since 2001.

“We were most focused on doing our job, playing as a team, and being consistent,” Webster said of their dominant play over Oklahoma. “This does feel good to win, but we need to move forward, look ahead and get better day by day because we still have a lot to work on.” 

Printed on Monday, September 24, 2012 as: Horns easily sweep Oklahoma