Longhorns take down Sooners, extend road streak

Steve Helwick

Texas exited Norman, Oklahoma on Wednesday night hoisting a 10-game winning streak in conference play.

The No. 5 Longhorns overcame an early deficit to slide past the Oklahoma 3-1 on the road. The unranked Sooners fought close throughout, keeping the point differential within five points in each of the
four sets. 

Freshman outside hitter Micaya White led the way for the Longhorns with a game-high 26 kills. She ranks No. 1 on the team in kills and points on the season, and continued her impressive freshman year on Wednesday. Defensively, the Longhorns held their ground, totaling 57 digs in the victory. 

The Sooners utilized a late 6-0 run to overwhelm the Longhorns in the opening set. The two teams traded points throughout the frame, as the largest Sooner lead was four. Junior Marion Hazelwood starred for the Sooners, recording eight of her 19 kills in the match during Oklahoma’s momentum-shifting run.

Hazelwood has been the Sooners leader throughout the year. The junior from Beach City, Texas, was top on the team in blocks heading into Wednesday and No. 4 in kills. She was named to the All-Big 12 First Team as a sophomore in 2015 as well as the AVCA All-Southwest First Team.

Set two replicated the close nature of the first, but produced a different result. Down 23-22, Texas flipped the script of the match to win 25-23 after a series of opportune kills by White.

Texas stole the lead during the third set, utilizing a 6-0 run after the teams were deadlocked at 18. Once again, White’s dominant play at the net pushed the Longhorns to victory. She was responsible for the final three points scored for Texas in the 25-20 set, the Longhorns’ most lopsided win of the match. 

Despite Oklahoma’s strong play, the Longhorns ended the match by winning three straight sets. The Sooners held a three-point lead early in the fourth frame, but Texas responded with a narrow 25-22 victory to finish the night. 

The Longhorns relied on their senior leadership in the final set. Outside hitter Paulina Prieto Cerame notched five kills in the final set, including a streak of three in a row. Prieto Cerame positioned herself on the left side of the court throughout the match, ready to rise above the net and pounce whenever the ball came back onto Texas’ side.

The match concluded on a challenge from the Sooners’ sideline. Oklahoma believed Texas touched the ball before it exited the court, but no evidence altered the referee’s decision. The call stood, securing Texas’ sixth 3-1 victory of the season. 

With the victory, the Longhorns continue to remain undefeated in true road games in 2016. Texas hasn’t lost a road match since falling to TCU in October of 2015.  

The Longhorns continue their road journey on Saturday when they take on Kansas State in Manhattan, Kansas. First serve is scheduled for 7 p.m.