Longhorns ready to erase bad memory versus Oklahoma against Kansas State

Jacob Martella

The last time the Longhorns played a Big 12 match in Gregory Gym, they left the game with a bad taste in their mouths.

After beating Oklahoma in every match in Austin since 2008, Texas finally fell 3-0 due in large part to unforced errors, including seven service errors.

“The girls were very upset about it, and the coaches thought about it and looked at a lot of film [to] evaluate everything,” head coach Jerritt Elliott said. “But at the end of the day, you get back and understand that losses are a part of college athletics.”

Since that loss, the Longhorns have won their past four matches, including games against Texas Tech and Iowa State on the road and the two exhibition matches against Zhejiang.

But Texas will now face its toughest Big 12 match since that loss when it goes up against No. 22 Kansas State at home Friday.

“That game against Oklahoma — we did not play our game at all, and we played a little intimidated, and we were just shaky,” freshman libero Cat McCoy said. “So we’re just going to come out and dominate and play how we normally play.”

Before the loss to Oklahoma, the Longhorns were undefeated and running through conference play with relative ease. Even at the start of the match, Texas had a 10-5 lead in the first set before it all went downhill with errors.

However, the Longhorns have rebounded well after the loss. Despite dropping a set, Texas took care of business against Iowa State, a team that has been difficult for them in the past. On Wednesday night, the Longhorns dominated every facet of the game in a clean sweep of Texas Tech in Lubbock.

In those two road games, Texas posted hitting percentages of .259 and .262 and combined for nine service errors and two reception errors — two things that hurt in the loss to Oklahoma.

“It just shows that we’re doing the simple things right,” McCoy said. “We’re executing at a high level right now, which is good.”

The going is about to get a little bit tougher with Kansas State coming into town. While the Wildcats will likely fall from their No. 22 ranking after losing to Iowa State on Wednesday, they remain a contender for the conference title if Texas were to stumble again down the road. Kansas State also ranks second in the conference in kills, assists and blocks per set.

Offensively, freshman outside hitter Kylee Zumach, who is third in the Big 12 with 325 kills and fourth with 355 points scored, leads the Wildcats. On the defensive end, senior middle blocker Natali Jones leads the conference with 114 blocks.

Still, Elliott said the team’s focus is on the Texas side of the net and being more consistent.

“We’ll have a game where we’ll hit .400 or .500 and then hit .200,” Elliott said. “So it’s coming out and managing our game.”