Texas fights off Kansas State, 3-2

Justin Martinez

Texas found itself in unknown territory on Wednesday night in Manhattan, Kansas.

Kansas State (9–15, 2–9) entered its showdown with No. 3 Texas as losers of seven of its last eight matches. The Wildcats hadn’t bested the Longhorns in their past 28 tries, dating all the way back to 2003. 

But Kansas State didn’t back down in front of its home crowd at Ahearn Field House, forcing the Longhorns to rally for a hard-earned 3-2 win.

The Wildcats pounced on the Longhorns in the first set, blindsiding Texas with a quick 16-10 lead. The Longhorns couldn’t recover from the opening blow, and a powerful kill by Kansas State outside hitter Kylee Zumach gave her team the 25-21 win. 

Kansas State piled it on in the second set, this time claiming a 19-12 lead. Sophomore outside hitter Micaya White tried to spark some life into her team, recording five kills in the set. But Kansas State held its ground for a tight 26-24 victory. 

Whether it was a diving one-handed dig or a powerful kill, the Wildcats always seemed to have an answer.

The Longhorns found themselves in survival mode in the third set, something they have been used to seeing this season. Junior outside hitter Yaasmeen Bedart-Ghani led the charge, recording five kills as Texas trounced Kansas State, 25-18.

The set win lifted a burden off Texas’ shoulders as the team returned to normalcy, laughing on the sideline and communicating freely on the court. Senior middle blocker Chiaka Ogbogu broke out in the fourth set, shutting down the Kansas State offense with five blocks as the Longhorns rolled, 25-15.

The Wildcats regained their swagger in the final set, though, determined to finish what they started. Kansas State clung to an 8-5 lead, but the Longhorns had no intentions of falling short in their comeback bid. Freshman outside hitter Lexi Sun posted three key kills in the final set, lifting Texas to the 15-11 victory and avoiding the upset.

White finished with a team-high 17 kills in the win, and freshman setter Ashley Shook recorded a career-high 55 assists. Senior libero Cat McCoy also made history, passing Demetria Sance’s 1998 record for most digs in Texas volleyball history (1,614).

The win keeps Texas perfect in Big 12 conference play (10–0) as it reaches the home stretch of the regular season. Next up for the Longhorns is a home match on Saturday against Texas Tech. First serve is set for 2 p.m. at Gregory Gym.