Defense carries Texas past Iowa State in straight set

Claire Cruz

No. 5 Texas defeated Iowa State in straight sets (25-19, 25-18, 25-21) Saturday night to earn its second road victory this week. An impressive defensive outing carried Texas past the resilient Cyclones.

“We’re feeling good about ourselves,” head coach Jerritt Elliott said. “Our numbers were good all night long. We slowed down their outside hitters. That was the difference to really give us some opportunities.”

The two teams started the match started by swapping points and service errors. Consecutive Iowa State mishaps and a big kill from junior middle blocker Chiaka Ogbogu helped Texas pull away from an 8-8 tie and take control of the set. Four Longhorn blocks kept the Cyclones to a .065 hitting percentage as Texas recorded the win, 25-19.

Set two started in similar fashion with both teams going on scoring runs to keep the game close. Consecutive kills and a block from Ogbogu sparked a 5-0 Texas run late in the set that ultimately led to a 25-18 Longhorn win.

Iowa State got the third set started with a 4-0 run, and Texas answered with one of its own. From there, the blocks from both teams started taking over. Five Texas blocks to three for Iowa State carried the Longhorns to a 25-21 win to cap off the sweep.

Ogbogu and senior middle blocker Molly McCage finished the match with five blocks a piece. Sophomore libero Cat McCoy anchored the back row defense with 16 digs.

“Defense is huge,” McCage said. “Our offense is great, but defense wins titles in all sports.”

Senior outside hitter Amy Neal led Texas’ offense with 12 kills, followed by Ogbogu’s 11 and junior outside hitter Paulina Prieto Cerame’s nine. Junior setter Chloe Collins tabbed 31 assists.

Texas returns to action on Wednesday to face Baylor at Gregory Gym in Austin.