No. 1 Texas volleyball asserts dominance in 3rd straight sweep

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Photo Credit: Nicolas Banda | Daily Texan Staff

The Texas volleyball team made quick work of Texas Tech on Friday night, sweeping the Red Raiders again to improve to 10–0 on the season.

The Longhorns were dominant throughout, getting out to early leads and not looking back en route to their third straight 3-0 victory.

Head coach Jerritt Elliott said he credits junior setter Jhenna Gabriel’s passing and relationship with middle blockers junior Brionne Butler and redshirt sophomore Asjia O’Neal as important factors in the team’s development.

“They’re building a trust,” Elliott said. “It’s kind of like a quarterback and a receiver. They know when to throw it and when not to. When you have middles that perform like that, it’s a nightmare for the other team.”

Gabriel said her connection with Butler and O’Neal is the best it’s ever been. She said getting on the same page has been a priority for them this season, and offensively everyone was getting good opportunities to swing at the ball.

“It felt seamless tonight,” Gabriel said. “Everyone came out really ready to play and really fired up to be out on the court. It’s kind of one of those days where you feel like, ‘OK, it’s game day, let’s go out and kill it.’”

 

Freshman Nalani Iosia put on the libero jersey for the first time tonight after a big vote of confidence from Elliott.

“She’s just a baller,” Elliott said. “Nothing phases her. She came in and wasn’t nervous in the libero jersey, which is a big step (for a freshman).”

Iosia finished the match with five service aces and 14 digs. She said she was nervous about the switch to libero but began to feel more comfortable as the match went on.

“I just went up there and was like, ‘I’m just going to rip it like I normally am,’” Iosia said. 

The Longhorns got out early to big runs in the second and third sets that proved too much for the Red Raiders to respond to. Iosia said it was fun to get going so quickly.

“We just came in with the mentality that they’re going to come back stronger, so don’t let up or don’t think little of them in any way,” Iosia said. “We just put our foot on the gas and went with it.”

With Texas’ upcoming matches against TCU postponed, the Longhorns now shift their focus to the matchups with No. 2 Baylor in two weeks.

“This gives us a little bit better prep,” Elliott said. “It gives us a little bit better rhythm going into it. We’ll see what kind of a rhythm we have early on, but I imagine they’ll be pretty good.”