Texas downs Florida in four sets

Nick Castillo

Led by sophomore middle blocker Chiaka Ogbogu and freshman libero Cat McCoy, No. 3 Texas took down No. 11 Florida 3-1 in Gainesville, Florida, on Saturday.

“I’m pleased with our performance,” Texas head coach Jerritt Elliott said. “It’s great to be in a chaotic environment and play a quality opponent like Florida.”

Ogbogu and McCoy both had career-high performances against the Gators. Ogbogu had 11 kills and a career-high nine blocks while McCoy led the Longhorns with 20 digs.

“I embraced the competition tonight,” Ogbogu said. “It was loud in there, but we were all engaged, and it helped me play well.”

Texas started the game strong, taking the first set 25-16, but Florida evened it out in the second set with a 28-26 win.

The third set was close until Amy Neal, junior outside hitter and libero, gave the Longhorns a 20-16 advantage with two consecutive kills. Texas eventually took the set 25-17.

The Longhorns opened up an early 6-1 lead in the fourth set, but the Gators rallied to get within one before Texas won the set 25-16 and the game match 3-1.

Texas played a balanced game throughout, as senior outside hitter Haley Eckerman had seven kills, five digs and one ace. Neal finished with eight kills, five digs and two blocks. Junior middle blockers Molly McCage and Sara Hattis combined for 14 blocks and 11 kills.

“We played steadily throughout the entire match and made good adjustments,” Elliott said. “It’s great when you have so many new faces on the floor in different positions. We like what we saw tonight.”

The Longhorns play their first home game in the 26 West Longhorn Classic on Friday against No. 23 Arizona at 7 p.m.