Longhorns survive blown lead in road victory at TCU

Wills Layton

Texas fans sat on the edges of their seats as No. 4 Texas found itself in a decisive fifth set against an unranked TCU team on the road.

After blowing a two-match lead, the Longhorns clawed their way back from a 12-10 deficit in the fifth set. With a 14-12 lead over the Horned Frogs, freshman outside hitter Logan Eggleston spiked the ball right through the heart of the TCU defense. The game point allowed the Longhorns to escape Fort Worth with a four-game win streak and undefeated conference record in tact.

The Longhorns continued their strong play, utilizing the five-set win to improve to 3–0 in Big 12 and 9–3 overall. While Eggleston put the game on ice, Texas’ win featured a plethora of impressive performances by the team’s freshman core and its veteran leaders.

“We’ve been playing three or four freshman at a time and that’s a lot of youth,” head coach Jerritt Elliott said during a player availability last week. “They have come in and been a really good group in terms of their composure in the way they interact and compete. They’ve given the upperclassmen a lot of confidence.”

During the opening set, the Longhorns quickly jumped out to an early lead, but the Horned Frogs responded late by mounting a comeback of six straight points to tie the score at 23. Texas wasn’t fazed, though, putting the first set away, 25-23.

The second match was close from the start, as both teams were giving their all between the net. TCU tried to climb back into the match, grabbing a quick 13-9 lead, while Texas had other plans. The Longhorns fought back from the early deficit and took the
set, 25-22.

The third set was a disappointing one for Texas and one that would change the course of the match. The Longhorns found themselves trailing early and could not rally from behind. They would drop the set, 25-20, still needing one more set to clinch
the victory.

Texas played strong during the fourth set, but failed to close out the win once again as TCU took a lead early and never let go. After dropping two sets in a row, Texas would need to pull out all the stops in order to return home with a victory.

The Longhorns saved their best for last, though. In the final set, Texas made a late rally to secure its fourth Big 12 conference win of the season. This also represented the third five-set victory of the season, and the second in the last four matches
for Texas.

“We just sat ourselves down and decided that we needed to come out the way we did in the first two sets,” Eggleston said after the game. “It’s great that we talked about it, then executed it as well.”

The Longhorns now return to the 40 Acres where they prepare to put their undefeated conference record on the line at home against Iowa State on Oct. 6.