Wednesday’s win at Gregory Gym wasn’t just commemorated with “The Eyes of Texas.”
This time a glass trophy was held as the team members chatted excitedly and fans cheered for the victory that not only swept Texas Tech but also crowned the Longhorns as Big 12 champions.
“It’s a great honor,” head coach Jerritt Elliott said of the title, his fifth in six years. “It’s something that we cherish, and it’s something that our players have worked really hard for. It’s attributed to them and the players before them that created to this tradition.”
Returning home to Gregory Gym after a victory in Kansas, the Longhorns had clenched at least a share of the Big 12 title, but the remainder of it rested on this game.
Texas started strong in the first set as Haley Eckerman pounded eight kills and scored 10 points. Back-to-back kills by Eckerman and Bailey Webster followed by another explosive kill by Eckerman and a service ace upped the score to 18-10. Molly McCage blocked the ball with ease as the crowd rose for set point, and Eckerman slapped the ball over the net to close the set, 25-16.
Set two was punctuated by 13 tie scores as the two teams battled point by point. Eckerman tipped the ball over the net to tie it up at 9-9, while Webster’s explosive kill tied it again at 13-13. A kill by Sara Hattis allowed the Longhorns to pull the score up to 16-13 before Texas Tech slowly crept back up. Webster’s kill concluded the close set at 25-20.
Much like the second set, the beginning of set three was marked by close scores as the Longhorns held onto the lead. Webster’s kill made the score 14-12 as Tech trailed closely behind. Another kill by Eckerman allowed Texas to start creeping away from Texas Tech. Texas kept it entertaining, too. Hannah Allison rolled on the ground and still managed to hit the ball over the net, while Khat Bell popped the ball over the net for an explosive kill. It was Webster’s kill that concluded the set, 25-17.
“We didn’t want to wait,” Allison said about obtaining the Big 12 title. “It was just point by point, and we just wanted to win against whoever was on the other side of the court. I think we’ve gotten even more patient with our game. We can show up in a match and find a way to win.”
Elliott said the way the team went about the win made this one stand out.
“We have some fairly new captains, and this group has probably done a better job of any team I’ve had so far,” he said. “We haven’t had a lot of let downs or anxiety, and a lot of that is due to our captains. It’s fun to go about this and watch players grow and understand the responsibility that it takes to be successful.”
Printed on November 16, 2012 as: Horns claim Big 12 title