Freshman Kat Brooks calmly bounced the ball a few times, then swiftly smacked it over the net, allowing Texas to come back from a 21-22 deficit in the fourth set against Baylor.
Brooks’ collected expression hid the fact that the Longhorns were battling for a win over Baylor after losing 25-20 in the second set. As Brooks served the ball in that final set, the Longhorns rallied for six straight points, resulting in their 11th straight win.
“It was a battle,” head coach Jerritt Elliott said. “We came out really well and played smooth in game 1, had [some] errors in game 2, had a great result in game 3.”
Set one was sparked by a kill by outside hitter Bailey Webster. Several consecutive Texas kills racked the score up to 7-2, and an explosive kill by Haley Eckerman, who had six in the set, made the score 10-6. A strong rally by the Longhorns brought the game to set point, allowing Texas to win it at 25-18.
The confident strides made in set one slumped in the second set, as the two teams battled for points, keeping the score close. Baylor tied it at 12-12 and a series of Longhorn errors allowed Baylor to sway the score in its favor. As Texas grappled for consistency, a streak of four straight Baylor points allowed the Bears to take the set, 25-20.
“I told them that we’ve got to be more consistent,” Elliott said. “We can’t be erratic and we can’t have nerves affect us. You’ve got to come back and play focused, and we did that.”
The Longhorns emerged from the locker room and energetically executed set three. Eckerman posted 14 kills, while Webster added eight. A block by Khat Bell early in the set led to five straight Texas points.Baylor whacked the ball out of bounds in the last play, allowing Texas to dominate the third set, 25-9.
Baylor’s initial lead in set four was followed closely by the Longhorns, who tailed behind for the majority of the set. A kill by Eckerman in the middle of the set brought the Longhorns closer at 17-15.Two kills by Webster narrowed Baylor’s lead, and Brooks stepped in to serve the final few points after a Texas timeout, concluding the last set.
“We don’t get nights off in Texas, and that’s the toughest challenge,” Elliott said. “I think it’s going to come down to us learning to be a little more patient, keeping balls in play, and we did that tonight.”
Printed on Thursday, October 25, 2012 as: Horns rally despite second set loss