There’s nothing quite like a powerful duo, and senior outside hitter Micaya White and sophomore outside hitter Logan Eggleston fit this bill perfectly Saturday, as Texas volleyball handily swept Wichita State 3-0; 25-13, 25-9, 25-15 to close out the Shocker Volleyball Classic with two wins.
In what was a display of utter dominance by the Longhorns, White was the best player on the floor Saturday night. She recorded 13 kills on just 23 attempts, good for an astounding .565 clip, and led the way offensively for Texas. Her performance earned White the well-deserved distinction of the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player.
Eggleston put down a team-high 14 kills on a percentage of .478 and also notched two service aces. She has shown vast improvements, already as a sophomore, cementing her spot as the hitter opposite of White.
“Both of our outsides did an amazing job this weekend,” sophomore libero Jhenna Gabriel said. “They put a big emphasis on pass-first, and that made it a lot easier for us to run the offense and get them better looks … Just opened up the offense not only for them, but our other hitters as well.”
Those other players stepped up to the plate when called upon against Wichita State. Freshman middle blocker Asjia O’Neal had one of her best games to date, recording seven kills on just nine attempts to put her at a .778 percentage for the day. Freshman opposite hitter Skylar Fields — another key piece in this young, productive Texas offensive unit — had seven kills to go along with four blocks on the day.
And while it was the tall Texas hitters stealing the show, 5-foot-8-inch Gabriel was the one running it. She was the juice that kept the offense flowing, recording 39 of Texas’ 44 kill assists. As the centerpiece of the Longhorn attack, Gabriel was key in righting the ship after a loss to Stanford a week ago.
The win over the Shockers completed a bounce-back weekend for the Longhorns that could not have come at a better time. Texas was coming fresh off a heartbreaking five-set loss to the Stanford Cardinal last Sunday, but this weekend saw the attack getting back in business with a win over Wichita State and a win over BYU on Friday.
“We’re just looking forward to feeding off the momentum we have right now,” Gabriel said. “Coming back and kind of getting that redemption against BYU obviously from last year, that definitely felt good.”
Saturday’s win was more than just a blowout win over a lesser opponent. It was just the second true road game for the Longhorns, and it turned into the first true road victory of the season. It’s never easy playing in a true road environment, but Texas passed this test with flying colors. As tougher competition looms and the pressure increases, games like these serve as the perfect preparation.
“Carried into today, we knew that Wichita State was going to come out strong, and they did, but we did a really good job of responding to it,” Gabriel said. “We just kind of want to take that mentality into our next few games against Rice and (Texas) A&M.”