Longhorns overcome errors to defeat Jayhawks

Nick Castillo

After No. 2 Texas swept Iowa State on Wednesday, head coach Jerritt Elliott worried the errors Texas made against the Cyclones would resurface and prevent the team from beating Kansas.

“Kansas is a big-time match for us,” Elliott said. “They’re playing at the highest level along with Kansas State, so we’re going to have to play better than we did tonight to come out with a ‘W.’”

The Longhorns looked like they received Elliott’s message loud and clear Sunday, as they opened up against Kansas in dominant form and won, 3-1, despite some mid-game hiccups.

Texas performed well in the first set, starting off with a 13-4 lead. Kansas tried to rally, but nine combined kills from senior outside hitter Haley Eckerman and senior middle blocker and outside hitter Khat Bell were too much for the Jayhawks to overcome. The Longhorns claimed the first set, 25-14.

Kansas presented a much more difficult challenge in the second set. The Longhorns and Jayhawks battled back and forth, posting nine ties and four lead changes, but Texas took control of the set after the game was tied at 14. The Longhorns won the set, 25-20, and took a commanding 2-0 match lead.

But the errors Elliott worried about after the Iowa State game presented themselves in the third set as the Longhorns looked out of sorts. Texas opened up the set with a lead, but the Jayhawks were able to tie the game at four and took a lead they wouldn’t relinquish. The Longhorns lost the third set, 25-20, and committed 11 errors in the set.

Kansas carried the momentum it had gained in the third set to open up a 4-0 lead over Texas in the fourth. But, the Longhorns fought their way back into the match and tied the set at seven. From there, Texas carried the attack and didn’t look back, winning the set, 25-20, and the match, 3-1.  

With the victory, Texas remains undefeated this season and extended its Big 12 winning streak to 19 games — a streak that has continued since last season.

Bell posted a season-high 15 kills, five blocks and a .565 hitting percentage. Eckerman recorded nine kills, seven digs and four blocks. Junior outside hitter Amy Neal had eight kills and 15 digs, and junior middle blocker Molly McCage led the team with eight blocks.

Texas will look to continue to eliminate its errors at home this week. The Longhorns will take on Baylor (10-7, 1-2 Big 12) Tuesday at 7 p.m. and Texas Tech (14-2, 2-2) at 7 p.m. Thursday.