Texas’ match against Baylor on Tuesday night could be summed up with one stat: hitting percentage.
The Longhorns came out swinging and finished with a .473 hitting percentage while Baylor only managed a .047 hitting percentage.
In the end, Texas breezed past Baylor with a 3-0 win, with neither set being closer than 25-17.
“We’re pleased with what we did and the things we talked about with our routines and the level of play that we’ve got to maintain,” head coach Jerritt Elliott said. “We hit that mark.”
The match started as well as the Longhorns could have hoped for, with Amy Neal, junior outside hitter and libero, opening up the first set on a 6-0 run that included a service ace and two blocks from sophomore middle blocker Chiaka Ogbogu.
From there, it was all Texas. The Longhorns went on a pair of runs of 4-0 and a 5-0 run to take the first set 25-12, with the majority of the Bears’ points coming from mental errors.
“[If]what we’re crying about is a couple of reception errors, then we’re in pretty good shape,” Elliott said.
The second set began much tighter, as the Bears seemed to shake off the nerves that plagued them to start the match. Baylor managed to keep the deficit as close as 6-5, but then Neal stepped to the line. Like they did in the first set, the Longhorns took full advantage of Neal at the service line, going on a 9-0 run — with another ace and two kills each from Ogbogu and senior outside hitter Haley Eckerman — to win the second set 25-13.
The third set was the toughest for Texas to get through. After back-to-back aces from Neal to open the set, Baylor fought back with a 6-4 run to level the set at six. But, with a 9-8 lead, the Longhorns, again behind the serve of Neal, went on a 4-0 run that provided the separation they needed to win the set 25-17.
In total, Texas finished the match with 11 service aces and only three service errors, with Neal accounting for four of those aces. Sophomore setter Chloe Collins, who hit three aces, said success starts with routine.
“You just have to make sure you’re doing the same things over and over again, and then that transfers over to the match,” Collins said.
The Longhorn defense also had a huge hand in the blowout win, getting 11 blocks and forcing the Bears to hit 25 attack errors. Texas also held Baylor junior outside hitter Andie Malloy, who came into the match second in the Big 12 in kills, to just four kills and a -.118 hitting percentage. Elliott chalked up the great defense to a good scouting report.
“I think the team came out and executed it,” Elliott said. “They had some tendencies and we were keyed on that, and our block has been getting better.”
The Longhorns return to action Thursday against Texas Tech. While Elliott said he hasn’t been able to watch film on the Red Raiders, he said this is an opportunity for Texas to string together some good games in conference.
“I told the team today at some point we have to take accountability for not only getting though an entire match, but we’ve got to put some matches together,” Elliott said.