Texas ties record, sweeps No. 16 Kansas State

Rachel Thompson

Facing the third-ranked team in the Big 12, Texas blocked, killed and dug its way to a close victory over Kansas State in front of an energetic and enthusiastic crowd of Longhorn supporters Friday.

The No. 16 Wildcats found themselves swept by the No. 7 Longhorns in what was Texas’s 14th consecutive win this season.

And while the victory marks a tie for the most successful start in conference play under its head coach, Jerritt Elliott was quick to credit his talented roster in face of a tough opponent.

“Kansas State is very well coached,” Elliott said. “They are disciplined, they don’t make a whole lot of errors and they make you be good.  We, again, are just staying steady with our game.”

Haley Eckerman’s serve jump-started the first set, launching five straight points for the Longhorns. Throughout the set, Eckerman added five kills, while freshman Molly McCage posted four of her own, allowing Texas to take the set, 25-18.

Set two was a constant battle between both teams with frequent ties sprinkled throughout. As the set drew closer to match point, Texas found itself down one point until Eckerman powered two kills and Khat Bell launched a service ace, closing the set at an uncomfortably close 25-22.

After an early rally by Kansas State in the third, Texas trailed shortly behind until Webster tied up the score with two consecutive kills. After falling behind once more in the middle of the set, Texas’ streak of four points effectively ended Kansas State’s hope of winning the match. McCage topped it off with a kill at match point, completing the sweep for the Longhorns.

McCage’s conclusion of the third set has been one of many highlights in her first season as a Longhorn.

“It is different than anything I have experienced,” she said of the team’s success thus far. “Just coming into a great team that has been really welcoming and getting comfortable with my teammates has been a big part of where we are at right now.”

With a 20-3 record and a top ranking in the Big 12, Elliott said the dedication of the team and its returning members has shined throughout the season.

“I think it is a great testament to the players that have been in the program, that have come here and bought into this and want to be a part of it,” he said. “We are excited about the development of our team and where we are headed right now.”

Printed on Monday, November 5, 2012 as: Texas ties record, wins 15th straight match