No. 4 Texas made easy work of its three opponents in the Texas Classic this weekend, going 3-0 while winning all nine sets it played.
For the Longhorns, the weekend’s tournament was an opportunity to return to form after dropping a match during the VERT Challenge to No. 2 Florida on Sept. 5. The loss against the Gators may have stagnated the progress of some teams, but head coach Jerritt Elliott said the loss was an opportunity to improve his team’s strategy and play.
“We talked about preparing, and they were focused on what they wanted to do.” Elliott said. “It’s just when you’re not passing the ball on first contact it makes things seem a little bit more chaotic. So that was a challenge and tried to clean that up a little bit.”
The tournament began Friday with a day-night doubleheader for the Longhorns, with Texas facing off against UTSA and Santa Clara. Both matches provided Texas an opportunity to hone its skills as a unit, as neither team pushed their respective matches past three sets.
The match against UTSA proved to be the closer of Friday’s two matches, specifically in the first set, as the Longhorns were forced to extend the set to a nail-biting 31–29 victory. Despite the first set struggles, Texas quickly settled in, winning the match’s next two sets by a score of 25-21 and 25-14 respectively. Junior setter Chloe Collins led the Longhorns to victory with a team-high 41 assists in the match.
“We just came out being mentally focused and prepared.” Collins said. “UTSA came to play at the beginning of the match, and it just took us a while to get in our rhythm and be focused.”
After taking care of Santa Clara in three sets, the weekend’s marquee match was Sunday when Texas took on No. 14 Colorado State. But the match against the Rams was more of the same for the Longhorns on the weekend, as they made short order of CSU en route to a 3-0 win. Texas defeated the Rams in all stat categories during the match, most notably in service aces with the Longhorn’s finishing with a 9-3 advantage. Senior outside hitter Amy Neal registered five aces on the afternoon, including a stretch in the third with four consecutive aces past the Rams defense.
After playing in Austin for the past three tournaments, the now 7-1 Longhorns will travel to Tuscon, Arizona, for the Wildcat Classic beginning Sept. 18. Texas will square off against Savannah State and No. 13 Arizona on Friday and wrap up against New Mexico State