Longhorns sluggish in road victory

Wills Layton

While the Longhorn volleyball team successfully extended its winning streak to three against Iowa State on Wednesday, the signs of fatigue were very apparent.

Texas limped through the first set, with several errors and porous defense allowing the Cyclones to hang with the No. 8 ranked squad. Texas would go on to win the set 25-19.

“One of the things we try to focus on is where we are at emotionally,” head coach Jerritt Elliott said after the win. “We’re just exhausted. What fans don’t realize is that we were on the road for three out of the first four weekends, and then we’ve had six out of our first nine Big 12 matches on the road. It’s just been a lot.”

While the freshmen have been a crucial part of the team thus far, the wear and tear of constant traveling across the country has started to take its toll. For a team that has only played six games at home this season, playing well on the road is incredibly important.

“Our freshmen haven’t been to a lot of the places we’ve been before, and so they have to feel out the atmosphere,” senior outside hitter Yaasmeen Bedart-Ghani said. “We only get one practice there, so it’s kind of like flying by the seat of your pants when you’re on the road.”

Freshmen such as libero Sydney Peterson and outside hitter Logan Eggleston, who both graduated from high school a semester early to join the Longhorns, face new kinds of challenges at Texas, including constant traveling and keeping up with school. As the season goes on, the challenge continues to grow.

“It’s not only the physical side, it’s the emotional side of it as well,” Elliott said. “It’s not being fresh, and there’s midterms getting ready to go on. The freshmen’s high school season is usually getting done now, and they haven’t learned how to sustain that for prolonged periods of time.”

The team won the second set in a very similar way to the first, with a tired performance and an inability to prevent Iowa State from matching the Longhorns’ production. However, Texas was finally able to pull away and would go on to win the set, 25-19.

While the Longhorns completed the sweep in the third set in a more dominant fashion, winning the set and match, 25-14, the struggles on the road to have a complete effort continue to be an issue. Luckily for Texas, the next four games will all be in Austin.

“I think teams obviously play better at home,” Elliott said. “We’ve let some games get away, and we’ve had too many blocking errors and service errors. I think Iowa State is playing really, really good, and they have the personality to be
really good.”

Texas will have a quick turnaround as it looks to complete a sweep of archrival Oklahoma on Saturday, Oct. 27. First serve is set for 3 p.m.