No. 1 Texas outlasts Kansas to remain undefeated in Big 12 play

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With five conference games remaining until the Big 12 tournament, the Longhorns remain undefeated after a four-set win against Kansas on Saturday.

Top-ranked Texas (18-2, 11-0 Big 12) notched its 14th-straight victory this season against Kansas (19-6, 9-3 Big 12), outhitting the Jayhawks .293-.191 in a win that was closer than the score would indicate.

“We’ve just got to continue to be able to respond,” head coach Jerritt Elliott said. “We struggled obviously in our ball control game today, therefore we had to rely on these two [senior Bailey Webster and junior Haley Eckerman] so much. We’ll go back and address it, get better and continue to grow emotionally as well.”

After dominating Kansas 25-15 in the opening set behind five kills from Webster and a .481 attack percentage as a team, the Longhorns were beat up in the second frame. Kansas jumped out to a 10-4 lead and never looked back, holding Texas to just a .051 kill percentage on 39 attempts.

The third set was a back-and-forth battle of attrition with four lead changes, but the Longhorns found a way to outlast the Jayhawks for a 25-22 win. Game four played out the same as the third, with Texas finding the advantage late for a 25-21 win.

Eckerman led the Longhorns with a season-high 25 kills while junior Khat Bell led the team in blocks with seven.

The Longhorns will resume conference play in their quest to remain undefeated Saturday against Texas Tech.

“It would be a great accomplishment to go undefeated, but like he [Coach Elliot] said, it hasn’t really crossed our minds because I think we’re just focused on one game at a time, and, although it would be great, it’s more important learning as a team,” Webster said. “There are a lot of things that are more important that we’ve got to experience together.”