No. 2 women’s volleyball wins Big 12 Championship with sweep against Texas Tech


Jordan Mitchell

The No. 2 Texas Longhorns are Big 12 champions for the fifth consecutive year.

In a dominant showing at the United Supermarkets Arena, Texas kept Texas Tech to a .111 hitting percentage in their 3-0 sweep to cap off the regular season.

In the absence of redshirt-junior Asjia O’Neal, outside hitter and serving specialist Melanie Parra stepped up to aid the Longhorns in their conference-clinching win. On Saturday night, she recorded a couple of personal career-highs with nine kills and three blocks, while also adding six digs and an assist. 

With Parra proving to be lethal from both the service line and the front row, the sophomore from Mexico will likely serve as a cornerstone player for Texas during the NCAA tournament. At her best, she can sink five aces in a match and record double-digit kills and digs. However, her tough serving yields a higher margin of error, occasionally resulting in a plethora of service errors. 

To find success in the upcoming tournament, Texas must continue to serve hard and accurately. When the Longhorns are serving well, they send opponents frantic and scrambling out of system, setting up easy points and swift ends to matches.

“I think if we continue to get ourselves over the net and are super aggressive, we’re gonna do really great things this year,” junior Logan Eggleston said following the loss to Baylor. “Offense is going to be the biggest thing that sets us apart.”

While Texas offense is a nightmare for many Division I volleyball teams across the country, the Longhorns have also drawn eyes to the impenetrable defense that emerged in the second half of the season. Led by senior Brionne Butler, the Horns amassed 209.5 total blocks for 2.6 blocks per set on the season. 

The dominant Longhorn defense was no different in Saturday’s match versus Texas Tech. In the win, Texas blocked eight times and edged out the competitive Red Raiders 37 to 35 in digs. Butler had another stellar night at the net, contributing six blocks to the effort and sinking six kills that sent the opposing back line scrambling. 

In the third set, there was a small hiccup in Texas’ road to the conference title faltering with an attack error early on. However, Texas quickly recovered to run away with the win off a couple of Parra’s cross-court kills. The match point was won by senior defensive specialist Sydney Petersen, who smashed her second ace of the night off the hands of a couple of Red Raiders. 

In the conference-clinching win, Texas not only secured home-court advantage in the NCAA tournament, but also took away the Big 12 title from bitter rival Baylor. If the Longhorns dropped their final match of the year in Lubbock, they would have shared the title with the same team that handed them their only loss of the season. 

“You don’t want to share your toys,” setter Jhenna Gabriel said to ESPN after the match. “I don’t want to share a Big 12 title, so it’s definitely a big motivator for us.”

Texas is expected to participate in the first round of the NCAA tournament at Gregory Gym from Dec. 2-4 and will find out its seed Sunday at the NCAA selection show on ESPNU at 7:30 p.m.