Sustained success is nothing new for the top-ranked Texas volleyball team. The team has won seven of the last eight Big 12 regular season titles, and extended its win streak to 13 straight after sweeping Kansas State at Gregory Gym Wednesday night.
Kansas State opened with an excellent effort in both offensive and defensive phases of the game, forcing No. 1 Texas to adjust quickly. Freshman middle blocker Molly Phillips earned Texas an early lead with a kill, and would continue to contribute throughout the first set.
The team was focusing on keeping things loose on the sidelines as the Texas sideline began to high-five one another and started to dance after that first kill. Momentum stayed with the Longhorns even as the Wildcats were clawing to get back into the match.
Phillips would end the set with a kill straight down the middle of the court, putting a stamp on her strong hitting performance and clinching the 25-18 set victory.
“I just like to take advantage of every opportunity I get on the court,” Phillips said. “The energy was great, so that helps with everyone’s performance.”
The Longhorns’ good fortune would continue in the second set as Phillips continued her dominant performance, adding two more kills early in the set to help establish an early lead.
The Wildcats were forced to play from behind constantly and struggled with maneuvering around the Longhorns’ impressive defense. While the team was able to put together a three-point run, they could not capitalize, suffering two service errors before Texas senior outside hitter Micaya White had an ace of her own.
“It was definitely one of my best serving games this season,” White said. “The reason my serving has improved this year is that I moved from the right side to the left side.”
White would record another service ace that put the Longhorns up by six, causing the crowd to roar as they began to anticipate another set victory. This anticipation would turn into reality, with Phillips once again dealing the final blow in the 25-16 set victory.
The energy in Gregory Gymnasium propelled the Longhorns through the third set. The team was able to surge out of the gate with a six-point run. Kansas State tried to change up their approach, but could not get anything going on offense. Instead, they set the stage for another White performance.
White would add five kills and a pair of services aces during the third set. Sophomore outside hitter Logan Eggleston joined in on the attack with four kills of her own. A thirteenth consecutive victory was imminent, as the Longhorns continued to push with everything they had.
“I thought we managed our game at a pretty high level,” Texas head coach Jerritt Elliott said. “It’s nice when you have this kind of talent and people can step in and play.”
Texas won the third set 25-17, sweeping their tenth opponent in their last 11 matches. With an 18-2 record and only four games left until the end of the season, the Longhorns are in prime position to gain favorable seeding in the NCAA tournament.