In final game of historic regular season, Texas volleyball caps off with sweep at TCU, finishes 23–1

Maya Martinez

The Texas volleyball team battled through the COVID-19 pandemic and posted one of their best seasons to date — over 20 wins, several career-high individual performances and a spot in the NCAA Tournament.

On Friday afternoon, the historic season culminated with a 3-0 sweep of TCU.

The Texas outside hitters controlled the match in Fort Worth. Junior outside hitter Logan Eggleston improved on Thursday’s 14-kill performance with 17 kills and 21 total points, including two aces in a well-crafted Texas run to take the second set 25-17.

Outside hitter Adhu Malual, a freshman out of Rome, Italy, helped to maintain the Texas defense with six blocks and set up a crucial assist to Eggleston to put Texas at match point in the second set.

Despite the sweep, it wasn’t always an easy ride. TCU kept things close in the first set, with Texas just barely snatching the victory at 25-23. The Longhorns then consistently trailed by two to three points during the third set. 

Texas prides itself on not tolerating come-from-behind upsets, but the Longhorns were down 16-19 in the third set with TCU looking to keep the match alive. Needing a spark, the Longhorns capitalized on a TCU error with an ace that brought them within striking distance.

It was all downhill from there for TCU as Texas kicked into high gear.

First, it was two kills by sophomore middle blocker Molly Phillips. Then a block by Eggleston and Phillips. Then another block by Phillips and Malual. In the blink of an eye, Texas was up two.

The Longhorns crafted a beastly 8-0 run before it was ended by a TCU kill. It was too little too late for the Horned Frogs, however, as Texas was up 23-20. Once again, the Longhorns looked to their middle blockers to put the game away, and they delivered.

An assist by junior setter Jhenna Gabriel put the ball right into Phillips’ orbit, and Phillips put a shot right in the middle of TCU territory. 

Then Phillips headed to the service line, but the ball never reached TCU’s side, hitting the net and bringing the Horned Frogs closer. 

Gabriel once again put it up in the air, this time for junior middle blocker Brionne Butler, who swung right into the weak side of TCU’s defense for the game-sealing kill. The burnt orange-adorned fans in the arena went wild as Texas swept the match, and with it, the season series.

Texas finished the regular season ranked No. 5 nationally, with a solid 23–1 overall record and a 16–0 conference record. On Sunday, the Longhorns get their ranking and matchup for the first round of the NCAA Tournament in Omaha, Nebraska, where all the action begins on April 14.