Texas Volleyball tops TCU, stays perfect in conference


Aaron Berecka

Despite shaky play Wednesday night, the Longhorns battled to knock off TCU and remain undefeated in the Big 12 this season.

Evan Berkowitz

TCU took its first ever game from No. 1 Texas in its program history. 

But a fight was all they could give the struggling Longhorns, as Texas escaped with a 3-1 (25-14, 20-25, 25-15, 25-23) win powered by a season-high 24 kills from junior outside hitter Haley Eckerman.

“TCU competed very well,” junior middle blocker Khat Bell said. “They fought a lot.”

The first game saw the Longhorns (16-2, 9-0 Big 12) get off to a slow start, falling behind 7-5 early. After the slow start TCU (13-10, 2-7 Big 12) began to gain confidence.

Eckerman had other ideas, though. She dominated the set the rest of the way recording eight kills to lead a 20-7 game-ending run. Texas took advantage of TCU’s poor defensive positioning, shaky passing and almost non-existent block to shoot .382 while siding out 78 percent of the time.

“Early on we got tooled five or six times,” head coach Jerritt Elliott said. “I called timeout and we went on a run. [Eckerman] played a critical role for us.”

TCU didn’t quit in game two as it came back strong, taking an early lead once again. After the Horned Frogs opened up a four-point lead at 10-6, Texas began its run. After five consecutive points, it looked as if Texas was going on a big run just like in the first game.

But TCU went point-for-point with the Longhorns before a late-run and ultimately took the game 25-20.

“They were scrappy,” Eckerman said. “The ball was coming over when we didn’t think it would and caused chaos.”

Freshman setter Chloe Collins, named the starter by Elliott, shook off a few jitters early to record 18 assists in the first game including a few spectacular sets to stay out of the net on tight passes. But she struggled in the third, prompting Elliott to go to senior setter Hannah Allison.

With Allison in the lineup, the Longhorns scored three straight points to grab control of the set and didn’t look back, grabbing their 45th-straight home Big 12 win.

“When one is not playing well we have the option to go the bench,” Elliott said. “Chloe struggled a bit with location at times, so we brought in Hannah.”

In game four, the Longhorns, once again, got off to a slow start. TCU took four consecutive points to start the match, prompting a timeout from Elliott. Texas made a run behind Eckerman to tie the score before a series of trading points until a 23-23 deadlock.

Two TCU errors ended the game and match, as Texas escaped a less talented TCU team despite shooting .250 or lower in three of the four games.

“We were a little bit inconsistent in how we managed our game,” Elliott said. But we fought. It’s good to see how our team reacted.”