In front of a full and loud home crowd, the top-ranked Longhorns claimed the Big 12 championship outright Saturday afternoon with a sweep of Kansas State (25-20, 25-19, 25-15). It is Texas’ third straight Big 12 title, and its sixth in the last seven years.
“I was looking for the trophy while coach was talking to the crowd,” junior middle blocker Khat Bell joked.
Texas remains perfect in conference play with two games left next week to close out its schedule.
“We can win out and do something this program has never done before in the Big 12,” head coach Jerritt Elliott said about being the only program other than Nebraska to win every Big 12 game. “But winning the Big 12 outright is a special accomplishment and we don’t take it for granted.”
Bell paced the Longhorns with 13 kills on .667 hitting while junior outside hitter Haley Eckerman added 10 of her own. As a team, the Longhorns hit .379 while holding the Wildcats to .180.
The Longhorns took control from the get-go. Five different Longhorns accounted for the first seven points as they opened up a 7-2 lead. The Longhorns kept that comfortable cushion until a late 5-0 run for the Wildcats (17-10, 5-9) cut the lead to 24-20. But a service error by the Wildcats ended the game.
The second game was back and forth the whole way until a 6-0 Texas run took the lead to 24-19. In the third, Texas opened up a 3-0 lead and never looked back, winning by 10 points.
The Longhorns have now won 17 straight games and 11 straight sets.
“We are playing some of our best volleyball of the season,” Elliott said. “Our offense is getting better and we are beginning to manage our game better, too.”