No. 3 Texas took sole possession of first-place in the Big 12 Saturday evening after claiming a 3-1 (25-17, 24-26, 25-20, 25-15) road victory at Kansas to improve to 5-0 in conference play.
Senior outside hitter Bailey Webster led the Longhorn charge with a match-high 20 kills in 44 attempts. Junior outside hitter Khat Bell’s 10 kills, sophomore middle blocker Molly McCage’s 10 blocks and freshman middle blocker Chiaka Ogbogu’s .500 hitting percentage also helped the Longhorns hand the Jayhawks (14-4, 4-1 Big 12) their first conference loss.
But it wasn’t all smiles for Texas. Three days after head coach Jerritt Elliott benched junior outside hitter Haley Eckerman against Texas Tech, the All-American struggled again. Eckerman was able to record just 11 kills in 35 swings while committing six hitting errors en route to a .143 hitting percentage.
While the Longhorns (12-2, 5-0 Big 12) can survive Big 12 play without her, Elliott knows that his team needs their best player if they hope to claim a second straight national title.
With Eckerman’s shaky play came inconsistent numbers. In two of the matches, the Longhorns hit more than .400, but they hit just .200 and .154 in the other two. But with the help of 17 blocks and 49 digs, the Longhorns held the Jayhawks to a .106 hitting percentage for the match, including a .030 and .000 to end the match.
The Longhorns return to action Saturday when they take on Iowa State in the annual Volley-for-a-Cure match at Gregory Gym.