The top-ranked Texas volleyball team completed a thrilling five-set victory over No. 3 Baylor on Thursday night to remain undefeated.
The Longhorns were on the verge of losing at home to Baylor for the first time ever after dropping the first two sets, but they rebounded by taking a close third set 25-23 before running away with the final two sets.
“I told (the team) after Game 2, ‘All we need is a little bit of life,’” head coach Jerritt Elliott said after the match. “Let’s win Game 3, and then we’ll roll this thing.”
Baylor boasts reigning AVCA National Player of the Year senior outside hitter Yossiana Pressley. The star player notched double-digit kills in just the first set.
“She’s an amazing player,” junior outside hitter Logan Eggleston said. “I look up to her as a player, honestly. It’s definitely really fun to compete against her head-to-head and come out on top.”
The scene in the Frank Erwin Center was noticeably different from the last time these two teams met in Gregory Gym in front of a sold-out crowd. Despite the limited seating, the crowd tonight gave the team a little bit of extra energy when the match got tight, Eggleston said.
“Our crowd is great,” Eggleston said. “I’m glad we were able to have some fans here tonight because it was definitely helping us in those tight situations.”
Graduate libero Morgan O’Brien was unavailable for tonight’s match after testing positive for COVID-19 last week, according to a statement on her Twitter account. In her absence, freshman liberos Nalani Iosia and Reilly Heinrich stepped up and logged major minutes for Texas.
“The freshmen did amazing tonight,” Eggleston said. “They didn’t act like freshmen. I think they did a really good job of just coming out and playing their game and not getting frazzled.”
Elliott said he likes his team to face adversity because the team learns to take the next step in stressful situations.
“The reality is, you have to put yourself in situations that are stressful and you have to learn how to win,” Elliott said. “We were down 7-3 in Game 3. We could’ve folded the tents and quit on it. We found ways to come back, the team stuck together, and they gave themselves some light.”
Texas will face off against Baylor again tomorrow night at 7. Expect another tightly contested match between the two highly skilled opponents.