The Longhorn volleyball program is used to winning.
Regular trips to the Final Four, countless wins and ten Big 12 Championships make up one of the most successful volleyball programs in the country.
Fast forward to the 2018, almost a month since losing a match, Texas came into Wednesday’s contest riding five straight wins to start Big 12 play. But the Longhorns’ trip to Lawrence, Kansas, didn’t end the way they wanted it to.
After falling behind early, No. 4 Texas wasn’t able to recover and fell to a pesky Kansas team in four sets (18-25, 26-28, 25-20, 23-25).
The first set was sloppy, with Kansas pulling away early. The Jayhawks didn’t allow Texas to get within five points for a majority of the set. The Longhorns looked out of rhythm and as a result, went down a set early in the match.
Kansas, who received votes in this week’s AVCA Coaches’ Poll, has largely been considered as one of the toughest teams in the Big 12, and they played like it in the first set. While the Longhorns did their best, they could not overcome several serving and attack errors, dropping the set 18-25. Service errors have been an issue all season, and tonight’s game was no different.
“It’s an ongoing process that we’re working on,” head coach Jerritt Elliott said previously during a media availability. “I mean serving is a little bit like free throws, it’s not something you can go back and sprinkle some magic dust on and it’s all fixed. We are spending a lot of time on it in practice.”
The second set was similar to the first, with the Longhorns jumping out to an early lead followed by a complete defensive lapse featuring four straight Kansas kills to take a 10-6 lead.
Texas fought back late in the set to tie it up at 24 after staving off five straight set points. The final burst of energy was not enough to push the Longhorns over the finish line of the set, however, as they would go on to lose 26-28 in the second frame. The Longhorns haven't come back from an 0-2 hole all season and doing so on the road proved to be no easy task.
The Longhorns found their rhythm in the third set, as the team won 25-20 to eliminate the possibility of being swept. Strong performances across the board kept Texas’ chances of victory alive.
The fourth set was the closest one of the game, with the Longhorns pushing the Jayhawks to the limit in hopes of forcing a decisive fifth set. However, the team was unable to pull off the win, losing a nail-biter 23-25.
The loss brings the Longhorns’ record to 10–4 with a 5–1 record in the Big 12. The team will hit the road again to face off against Oklahoma in the volleyball edition of the Red River Rivalry. First serve is set for 7 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 13.