The Texas volleyball team swept the Oklahoma Sooners in a straight-set match in Norman, Oklahoma, to open its 2020 season Thursday night.
The Longhorns made their return in a near-empty McCasland Field House, but one could still hear the screams from Sooners fans as Texas volleyball players wound up for their serves. Although Texas struggled with service errors, they were able to pull off a win during the three-set match thanks to strong offensive performances.
“I was pleased (with tonight’s match),” head coach Jerritt Elliott said. “I expected it not to be completely smooth with our first competition and seeing the different style of game with no crowd, but I thought we did a really nice job staying on course.”
Texas’ opening lineup was stacked with Big 12 postseason honorees in junior middle blocker Brionne Butler, junior outside hitter Logan Eggleston and sophomore opposite hitter Skylar Fields. The trio would end up finishing with 35 of Texas’ 48 kills, with Eggleston leading the pack with 17, followed by Fields with 13 and Butler with five.
“I think we did a good job coming out there and playing as a team,” Fields said, “I think I did a good job going out there for the first match.”
Eggleston started off strong with the first two Longhorn kills of the game. A steady back-and-forth ensued between the opponents until the Sooners took a 15-14 lead. Texas’ momentum started building when Butler equalized the score with a kill, catapulting the Longhorns to win 10 of the 13 remaining points, winning the set 25-18.
The Longhorns struggled with service errors throughout the game, giving up a total of 13 points. These issues were most evident in the second set, when Texas committed seven service errors. However, the Longhorns’ 16 kills helped edge them over the Sooners in a 25-16 win.
Down 2-0, Oklahoma attempted to come back in the third set. After Texas pulled away and led 19-13, the Sooners went on a five-point streak, which included three attack errors from the Longhorns. Texas came back to score two more points, taking a 21-18 lead that would be interrupted by a three-point streak from the Sooners. Those would be Oklahoma’s last points. Texas regained its footing and ended the game with a service ace from Eggleston.
The Red River Rivalry has never been a greatly contested one. Texas dominates the series 53–4 and has won each of its 11 meetings with Oklahoma since 2014.
Texas will have a chance to start their season 2–0 Friday, when they are set to play Oklahoma again at 6 p.m. in Norman.