Longhorns take down Red Raiders in Big 12 match

Michael Shapiro

After a surprising takedown at the hands of unranked TCU on Wednesday, No. 2 Texas (19-2, 9-1 Big 12) got back on track Friday as they swept unranked Texas Tech in Lubbock.

“It really came down to better preparation,” head coach Jerritt Elliott said. “We had a conversation after Wednesday’s match about what we needed to do, and it worked out tonight.”

For the Longhorns, Friday evening’s match was a return to form for a team that has prided itself on solid passing and team defense through the season. Texas’ defense dominated the entirety of the match, holding Texas Tech to a .071 hitting percentage while forcing 24 Texas Tech errors.

“We really got back to our defensive principles,” Elliott said. “We were focused tonight on doing the right things on the defensive end, and it came through for us.”

Texas took the lead early into the match and held it throughout the night. Texas took 12-8 and 20-17 leads in the first set before closing out the set, 25-19. For the Longhorns, the match’s opening set framed  the entire evening, as they claimed the next two sets, 25-18 and 25-19, respectively.

“Our team was really focused on getting out to a good start,” Elliott said. “We didn’t want to have another night where we didn’t focus, and I was happy with our effort from the start.”

The star of the evening for the Longhorns was junior outside hitter Paulina Prieto Cerame. Cerame compiled 12 kills Friday while recording a kill percentage of .385. The match with TCU marked another step in the right direction for Cerame, who has been increasingly involved in the offense in the past few weeks.

“It’s felt really good to have a lot of scoring opportunities,” Cerame said. “Give a lot of credit to our setters — they set us up really well tonight.”

With the victory against the Red Raiders, Texas has repositioned themselves as the preeminent power in the Big 12. However, at 9-1 in the conference with six Big 12 matches remaining, the Longhorns must continue to string together victories.

Texas’ next match will come against unranked West Virginia on Thursday, Nov. 5, at 7 p.m. in Austin.