Texas beats Oklahoma again to close out Red River Rivalry weekend

Claire Cruz

No. 2 Texas beat Oklahoma 3-1 on Sunday afternoon at Gregory Gym to close out Red River Rivalry weekend.

The last time the Sooners came to Austin, they ruined Texas’ perfect season with a straight-set victory. With that game in mind and their eyes set on a fifth-straight Big 12 title, this year’s Longhorns avoided a repeat.

“Last year, when Oklahoma beat us at home, that was bad,” senior outside hitter Amy Neal said. “We know we need to take care of business, because we always get everyone’s best game.”

Both teams displayed powerful swings early in the first set. Short rallies alternated as both defenses got adjusted. Once they did, the pace of play picked up. Junior middle blocker Chiaka Ogbogu kept Oklahoma’s defense scrambling with her tip kill, but late Texas errors helped the Sooners come out victorious 25-22. It was the first set Texas lost in conference play this season.

Texas came out fast in the second set to take an early 4-point lead, but Oklahoma adjusted well. Texas’ passing improved through the match, yielding more efficient attacks. Junior outside hitter Paulina Prieto Cerame heated up and helped Ogbogu and Neal lead a scoring run to a 25-20 victory. Late-set errors plagued Texas again and allowed the Sooners to close in with a 5-point scoring run. Texas propelled big swings to clinch the win.

“Set 1 we didn’t have any opportunities — they were lights-out defensively,” head coach Jerritt Elliott said. “We have to get defensive touches so we can score in transition.”

Defense was the story line for Texas in Set 3. Ogbogu and freshman middle blocker Morgan Johnson led a dominant Longhorn block, and senior defensive specialist Kat Brooks had a solid performance in the back row. Passing efficiency from both teams led to deep rallies with hard hits, but Texas’ offense dominated down the stretch. The Longhorns finished with a .478 team hitting percentage and a 25-13 win.

Oklahoma played well in Set 4 and kept the match interesting, but Texas’ defense stepped up again to wrap the four-set victory 25-18. Brooks led the back row with a career-high 15 digs, and Ogbogu recorded a season-high 10 blocks. Despite a slow start, Neal led Texas with 20 kills, and junior setter Chloe Collins notched 43 assists.

“They’re a great team, and we expected them to play hard,” Brooks said. “We made some great adjustments that we needed to play better.”