The 3–1 Longhorns headed to Wichita for the Shocker Volleyball Classic to take on the 5–1 BYU Cougars.
Friday was an opportunity for Texas to refresh after suffering their first loss on the road in a heartbreaker against Stanford. It was also a chance to avenge another defeat as the Longhorns fell to the Cougars in the regional final last year. Each team being ranked in the AVCA, Texas at No. 3, and BYU at No. 13, raised the profile of the match.
The first set didn’t go as planned for Texas.
The Longhorns fell 25 to 23. The Cougars took advantage when senior outside hitter McKenna Miller started rolling. Miller entered the game when Texas was leading 10-9 and proceeded to turn the momentum of the match with five kills.
“We knew they were going to come out with a lot of energy in the first set,” sophomore outside hitter Logan Eggleston said. “We came back during the rest of the game because we had to be stronger.”
The tide would turn towards the Longhorns in the second set as freshman opposite hitter Skylar Fields and senior outside hitter Micaya White recorded back to back kills, giving Texas a three-point lead.
“They were playing with a smaller setter,” White said. “So we just took advantage of our height and physicality, and it worked.
Although the Cougars didn’t completely crumble, they never captured the lead — falling 25 to 22.
Texas’ confidence grew in the third set as it jumped out to an early 16-11 lead. Eggleston dominated the early part of the third set with five kills and a service ace.
BYU tried to call a timeout to slow the Longhorns, but it didn’t have the success they wanted.
The Cougars started to spark behind kills by Miller along with junior and sophomore middle blockers Kennedy Eschenberg and Heather Gneiting.
Yet Texas fought back as Micaya White recorded a pair of kills building a 21-16 lead — letting the air out of the Cougars proverbial rally balloon. The Longhorns claimed the third set 25-19, which gave them a 2-1 lead overall.
The fourth set started in an exciting fashion as Texas and BYU went back and forth for each point. However, the clash came to a halt after BYU couldn’t convert on multiple opportunities. The Cougars were only down one and had four chances to minimize the deficit. Four times they recorded a service error. The Longhorn lead built to five and was enough to start to pull away to a 25-18 fourth set victory.
Players White and Eggleston showed why they’re regarded as an offensive power combination. White recorded 21 total kills, alongside 14 digs, on a hitting percentage of .347. Meanwhile, her partner Eggleston, had a career night.
Eggleston totaled 25 kills on a .367 hitting percentage — adding 11 digs as well.
“Right now I’m just trying to focus on my passing and staying in for all six rotations,” Eggleston said.
Texas maintaining an offensive flow will be crucial for the rest of the weekend. The Longhorns have to face Wichita State on Saturday. For now, Texas will enjoy their third victory against a ranked opponent and prepare for the next match.