With Texas putting the finishing touches on a home sweep of West Virginia, Logan Eggleston sent Longhorn fans into a frenzy.
In a play that was emblematic of the outrageous all-around day from the sophomore outside hitter, Eggleston helped make a ridiculous save to keep the ball alive for the Longhorns that drew gasps from the Longhorn faithful. When the ball came back over, she pounded a kill into the court to put Texas up 22-14 — Gregory Gymnasium went bezerk as the Longhorns dominated in their first home game of the season as the No. 1 team in the nation.
Eggleston turned in one of the best performances of her career Sunday. She recorded a team-high 14 digs, two block assists and – the kicker – 13 kills on a .722 hitting percentage, a number that even Eggleston was taken aback by when she heard it.
“I think our defense played a really big part in it,” Eggleston said. “They’re just getting really good balls up to (setter Jhenna Gabriel) so she can give us great sets. That’s one of the things we’ve been focusing on in the gym, is getting good touches, getting the ball high.”
Whatever it was, Eggleston was at her best Sunday. She has played a large part in Texas’ climb to No. 1 in the rankings. Eggleston, with 227 kills, is second on the team only to senior outside hitter Micaya White, who has 243 kills.
As the Longhorns have come to reach their full potential, Eggleston has done so as well. Sunday, she and the Texas offense were picking their spots, throwing in a mix of slide hits and powerful kills to keep the West Virginia block on its toes.
“I think Jhenna’s doing a really good job evenly distributing the balls as well, so the block doesn’t really know who it’s going to,” freshman middle blocker Asjia O’Neal said.
Led by Eggleston, Sunday’s sweep was a show in offensive consistency. Texas slowly pounded away the win against West Virginia after finding its offensive rhythm early. Save a stretch of mistakes in the
Consistency has helped lift the Longhorns to nine consecutive sweeps and 11 consecutive wins overall. Texas has lost just one set in Big 12 play. The key to the string of success has come not from big scoring stretches, but from slowly grinding out wins with solid play from the offense and defense.
“You start seeing the consistency,” Texas head coach Jerritt Elliott said. “Obviously the offensive numbers we’ve been putting up throughout the season, we keep getting a little better and better, but defensively we’ve gotten better … We’re trying to put pressure on teams on all three facets of the game, the serve, the defense and the side-out hitting.”
While the Longhorns have now won 13 of their last 14 matches, they’re in new territory as they enter the second week as the nation’s No. 1 team. But if their first home game at the top spot was any indication — the roaring crowd, the new expectations, getting “every team’s 100%” as Eggleston put it — none of this will make a difference.
“When there’s a Longhorn on your shirt, that’s your target right there,” Elliott said. “The No. 1 doesn’t do anything else.”