After a two-match skid, Longhorns beat Gophers 3-1


Nathan Goldsmith

Sarah Palmer celebrates with her teammates after a score. Texas beat Minnesota in four sets in rematch Friday.

Rachel Thompson

Twenty-four hours after having their 33-match home win streak snapped by No. 14 Minnesota, No 4. Texas returned to defeat Minnesota in a 3-1 victory and gave the Golden Gophers their first loss of the season.

“We were just trying to get momentum,” sophomore outside hitter Haley Eckerman said.

“We knew that it wasn’t going to take just one play for us to win the whole thing and we kept thinking just one point at a time, one point at a time. We just needed to do the basics that we watched in film like Coach Elliott said and make sure what we were doing as individuals.”

Their mindset paid off as the Longhorns used 6.5 team blocks to take the first set 25-20, ending it on a kill by outside hitter/setter Nicole Dalton.

Texas held Minnesota to a .037 hitting percentage during the set. Ten Texas hitting errors in the second set allowed Minnesota a win with three consecutive points, setting the stage for a battle after halftime.

Texas entered the third set with a quick 5-1 lead, aided by seven kills and two blocks by Eckerman and 14 kills by junior outside hitter Bailey Webster throughout the match.

The Longhorns posted seven unanswered points, and while Minnesota crawled back with a 9-1 run, Eckerman’s final two kills on the set swung the advantage toward Texas.

The fourth set was carried along by freshman middle blocker Molly McCage, allowing Texas to jump ahead.

Eckerman rallied four points to hand the victory to the Longhorns.

“I was just really pleased at the way we went about our business tonight,” head coach Jerritt Elliott said.

“I thought we were relaxed, I thought we were going to have a nice pass and serve, and we just came to the game ready to play. We just played it steady. I thought we fought hard and it showed me a lot about this team and how they resolved and fought back.”

Up next is the Time Warner Cable Texas Invitational Friday and Saturday in Gregory Gym.

Cincinnati, Illinois and UCF will all take part in the tournament, allowing the Longhorns another opportunity to rein in a win at home.