Texas downs Wildcats to extend winning streak to 13

Michael Shapiro

The 2015 season is coming together for No. 2 Texas. After a three set victory over Kansas State Wednesday night, the Longhorns (17–1, 7–0 Big 12) have won 13 straight games, 10 of them in straight sets. With a veteran roster and significant tournament experience, Texas has found a groove in recent weeks, dismantling opponents with ease as it rolls through the Big 12. 

“We’ve really been managing the game well,” head coach Jerritt Elliott said. “I like the way we’ve been coming out with high intensity and keeping it up as the match goes on.”

Senior outside hitter Amy Neal led the way for the Longhorns. Neal came into Wednesday’s match as the Big 12 Offensive Player of the Week after leading the conference in both kills per set and points per set. Wednesday was more of the same for Neal, as she totaled 13 kills in the Longhorns rout.  

“I’ve been really concentrating on my block and my positioning,” Neal said. “Chloe [Collins] has been setting the ball up nicely for me, and we’ve been in position to convert a lot of points.”

The Longhorns sprinted out to a 2-0 lead Wednesday, claiming the first set 25-16, and the second 25-21. The Texas defense held Kansas State to a kill
percentage of .089 and forced 14 attack errors that served as a catalyst for the strong performance through two frames. While the Longhorns are defined by their renowned hitters in Neal and junior middle blocker Chiaka Ogbogu, their defense has been key in many of the team’s victories. 

“Defense has been a big focus for us in practice the past few weeks,” Elliott said. “Our defense is so important to the way we want to play, and it puts us in position when we need it.”

After falling behind 5-1 in the match’s third frame, Texas found its rhythm and took down Kansas State to win the final set 25-16 and clinch the match. The Longhorns next test will come Friday against No. 7 Kansas in a battle between the top two teams in the Big 12. First serve will be 8 p.m. in Gregory Gym.