Longhorns look to rebound at home versus No. 2 Stanford

Wills Layton

In a matchup of top five teams, the higher ranked squad came away with the win. Unfortunately, for the No. 3 ranked Longhorns, they weren’t the higher seed.

The game was a rematch of the 2016 NCAA Championship game, in which Stanford beat Texas 3-1, winning the first two sets before putting the match away in the fourth. Stanford also ended the Longhorns’ streak of five-straight Final Four appearances with a sweep in the regional final.

Stanford swept Texas again on Tuesday, the first sweep of the season for the Longhorns. The team faced several issues in the game, including both blocking and serving. The team will need to improve upon those problems before the team hosts Stanford this Friday in Austin.

“Our blocking has got to be a little bit better,” head coach Jerritt Elliott said. “And our serving. Those things are important factors in what we do. We’re working on it, and that’ll come. It’s a process. If we shut those issues down, then our game will get significantly better.”

There were some bright spots for the team in their match as the freshmen were big contributors on the floor. Freshman Brionne Butler led the team with eleven kills, while fellow freshman Logan Eggleston finished with seven kills and two aces.

The freshmen have been showing up in big spots for Texas the entire season and will be a focal point moving forward as the team continues to contend with the best teams in the country.

“I definitely think we bring a lot of energy,” Butler said. “Also, a lot of new personalities is good to add to the team. That’s what the freshmen bring to the table.”

Additionally, senior Yaasmeen Bedart-Ghani continued her resurgence, as her seven kills came on ten swings, giving her a season-high .700 hitting percentage.

After not appearing in the first three matches of the season for Texas, she has now played in two of the last three matches, and looks to continue to be a factor in games for the Longhorns.

“I feel like I’m just kind of in this process,” Bedart-Ghani said. “I communicate with the coaches every day just trying to make myself better each day. That’s been my mindset.”

While the Longhorns lost the first set 15-25, the rest of the sets were much closer, including a marathon 30-32 final set. While there are plenty of things to work on, many positive signs came out of Palo Alto.

“I really like our defense right now,” Elliott said. “Our touches tonight were up and down, and we were getting good swings. We were battling and covering and taking care of each other.”

Playing at home could play a major role in the rematch, as the Longhorns are undefeated at home this season. The match begins at 8 p.m. on Friday at Gregory Gymnasium and is the Longhorns’ chance to get some revenge in front of the home crowd.