Texas looks to secure Big 12 title against Sooners

Michael Shapiro

No. 3 Texas secured a share of the Big 12 title with a home win over Kansas State on Saturday, but the Longhorns aren’t done yet.

The Longhorns control their destiny in the Big 12, as a win over unranked Oklahoma on Friday will guarantee them a solo spot atop the conference. Texas currently leads No. 9 Kansas by 1.5 games after sweeping the Jayhawks in two matchups this season.

“We have to go into Oklahoma knowing that they’re going to play really well,” senior outside hitter Amy Neal said. “OU always plays a high level against us, and we need to finish out the season strong.”

The Longhorns will face the Sooners having won six straight games and 20 of their last 21. Head coach Jerritt Elliott said this year’s team is one of his best, despite having coached one national champion and five Final Four squads.

“I’m as confident with this group as any group I’ve had,” Elliott said. “They have a really unique chemistry, and they fight well together. When they click as a team, they’re really tough to play.”

The trip to Norman will be the Longhorns’ last time on the road for over two weeks. Texas hosts one of the NCAA regional matchups this year and will play at Gregory Gym until they potentially reach the Final Four. Elliott said being at home for an extended period gives the Longhorns a strong advantage, but it’s not something Texas can take for granted.

“We’re pretty comfortable at home,” Elliott said. “But we’ve gotta make sure we keep pushing at practice and know that we’ll have to overcome some adversity, even in our building.”

The Sooners currently sit at sixth place in the Big 12 with a record of 10-15 and should serve as a tuneup prior to the NCAA tournament. Aside from senior outside hitter Kierra Holst, the co-Big 12 Preseason Player of the Year, the Sooners trot out an inexperienced roster that has often been inconsistent in 2015.

First serve from McCasland Field House will be at 3 p.m. The match will be televised on Fox Sports Southwest.