Texas takes care of business against Mountaineers

Michael Shapiro

No. 5 Texas could have succumbed to a lack of focus against unranked West Virginia on Thursday. The Mountaineers came into the match at the bottom of the Big 12 in addition to never beating the Longhorns in four contests.

Those figures held after match as the Longhorns (20-2, 10-1 Big 12) decimated West Virginia in straight sets at Gregory Gym. It was a high-quality performance for the Longhorns throughout and one the team needed to see after a disappointing 3-0 loss to TCU on Oct. 28.

“We just tried to get back in a rhythm and get ready to play at a high level before next week,” head coach Jerritt Elliott said.

Texas’ firepower was in full force against the Mountaineers, with four players compiling double-digit kills. The Longhorns consistently attacked the Mountaineers — their 45 kills came with just four errors on the evening.  

“It’s absolutely great,” junior setter Chloe Collins said. “Knowing you have hitters who can go up and terminate the ball, it’s
pretty awesome.”

After claiming the first set by a score of 25–14, Texas scuffled out of the gate in the second set, falling behind 15-13. But following a timeout by Elliott, Texas rebounded with a 12-5 run en-route to a 25-20 second set victory.

“For us it was just communicating,” senior middle blocker Molly McCage said. “It was getting good touches for our defense and getting everyone on the same page.”

The match’s third frame was more of the same as the Longhorns took care of business, winning the set 25-9, and the match 3-0. Thursday’s victory was Texas’ 10th conference win of the year and its 16th sweep of the season.

The Longhorns will travel to Lawrence, Kansas on Nov. 11 to face No. 8 Kansas in a match that will most likely decide the Big 12 champion. In what looks to be the biggest match of the Longhorns’ season, Elliott knows his team will need to bring a stellar effort if it wants to come away with a stronghold of the conference.

“[We need] some mental toughness,” Elliott said. “There’s urgency for every practice and every match, and now we need to go and win in their house.”