Texas was kept on its toes against Iowa State Wednesday night, claiming a burnt orange-tainted victory despite two initial strong sets for the Cyclones.
The Longhorns crawled out of an early rut to win a 10th straight match this season, marking the first time the team has won after a two-set deficit since its 2009 season opener.
“Our defense was really struggling early on,” head coach Jerritt Elliott said. “Getting [Haley] Eckerman back into the match and the passers doing a great job led up to the better efficiency. We got a lot calmer and stayed consistent.”
Eckerman, an outside hitter, had six kills and a block in the first set, while junior setter Hannah Allison pitched in 12 assists. An early 10-4 lead handed Iowa State an initial advantage, but senior utility Sha’Dare McNeal added several kills, allowing Texas to gain its first lead in the set, 20-19. A UT hitting error allowed Iowa State to claim the first set.
An early Texas lead in the second set was overpowered by five consecutive points by the Cyclones. Despite Allison’s seven assists, the Cyclones launched another 8-1 run to gain a 2-0 lead in the match.
Strong performances by McNeal shifted the momentum of the match in the third set, as McNeal contributed three kills, two blocks and two assists. Allison tacked on 13 assists and two aces, bringing the score up in Texas’ favor. The Longhorns closed the set at 25-17, segueing into a fourth set.
Strong Texas performances punctuated the fourth set, as junior outside hitter Bailey Webster added four kills and three blocks, while McNeal pitched in three kills and two blocks. Allison continued her roll of assists, adding 14. A back row kill by Eckerman allowed Texas to gain a significant lead and force a fifth set.
Webster and Iowa State’s Victoria Hurtt battled in the fifth set, but a block by McNeal moved the set along in Texas’s favor. Freshman Molly McCage jumped the score to 9-6, and a Webster kill sparked a 5-1 run to conclude the set.
“Anytime you go undefeated in the Big 12 is huge,” Elliott said. “There are still a lot of things we can do and points we can touch on to get more proficient in terms of our touches but we have time before the next match.”
That next match will take place in one week, as the Longhorns take on the Baylor Bears next Wednesday in Gregory Gym.
Printed on Thursday, October 18, 2012 as: Longhorns claim tenth straight win against ISU