As the crowd filed out of Gregory Gym before the ceremonial singing of the “The Eyes of Texas” on Saturday afternoon, it stopped to acknowledge a moment almost four years in the making.
Senior libero Cat McCoy, who broke Texas’ all-time digs record earlier in the week against Kansas State, was honored at center court in front of the home faithful.
McCoy received a standing ovation in what amounted to Texas’ brightest moment of the day, according to head coach Jerritt Elliott.
“I thought we were very sloppy today,” Elliott said. “Our touches weren’t good, and it became contagious.”
Texas started off Saturday’s match playing level with the Red Raiders, but a late run gave them a 20-15 lead. Strong defensive play at the net saw Texas through with a 25-19 win in the first frame.
The second frame was much more contested, as the set saw 14 instances in which the score was tied. However, a tenacious attack from Texas Tech resulted in a 5-2 run to end the set and a 25-20 win.
“It was definitely a lot of our side (of the net),” freshman outside hitter Lexi Sun said. “(We weren’t able to) control what we could do.”
Texas stormed out of the gates in the third set and quickly grabbed a 6-1 lead. The Longhorns didn’t look back and took the third set 25-21 powered by nine kills from freshman outside hitter Lexi Sun.
Sun’s effort on Saturday marked the best game of her short career at Texas, tying her career-high of 21 kills and adding four blocks as well. Sun wasn’t the only one to reach a career mark, though. Senior middle blocker Chiaka Ogbogu set the mark for career block assists.
The fourth set proved to be more of the same, and the Longhorns cruised to a 25-12 win to claim the match. However, Elliott wasn’t happy with his team’s effort despite the final box score. The victory gives the Longhorns (19–2, 11–0 Big 12) their 13th-straight win.
“We’ve got to figure out how we’re coming out in game one,” Elliott said. “We’re playing with fire right now in terms of how we’re playing as a team.”
With the Longhorns now well into the second half of conference play and the NCAA tournament right around the corner, they seem to be finding their identity as a team. And with matchups coming up against ranked teams, Texas knows it’s time to step up.
“We don’t have a lot of time to get better,” Elliott said. “We have to find that fire again.”
The Longhorns will return to action at Gregory Gym this Wednesday as they take on TCU. First serve is set for 7 p.m.