No. 2 volleyball snatches second consecutive win against No. 7 Ohio State in Columbus

Tori Garcia, Sports Reporter

On the back of a season-opening sweep of No. 7 Ohio State, the No. 2 Texas volleyball team beat the Buckeyes in four sets Saturday night, bringing the Longhorns’ record to 2-0 on the season.

The Longhorns proved to be resilient after dropping the first set—their first set loss of the season.  After getting behind early, the Longhorns fought back in sets two, three and four to secure the victory in Columbus, Ohio.

Texas started the match strong with an early 4-1 lead, beginning with a tip for the first point from Logan Eggleston, Volleyball Magazine’s 2021 National Player of the Year, along with a kill from Asjia O’Neal, redshirt senior middle blocker. The Buckeyes had some issues with the first touch towards the beginning of the set. However, Ohio State’s strong blocking along with Texas’ service errors, blocking issues and first touch struggles brought the Buckeyes into the lead at 6-5.   

The Buckeyes led the first set from there until a kill from sophomore outside hitter Madisen Skinner knotted the tally at 18 apiece. After Texas’ second timeout of the set, junior opposite hitter Molly Phillips finished a long rally, bringing Texas to a one-point deficit of 22-21. That was as close as the Longhorns got, however, dropping the first set 25-23.  

The Longhorns came out much stronger in the second set after falling behind. Although the first point from Eggleston was reversed via a challenge, Texas went on a 4-0 run later on, bringing the Longhorns to an 8-3 lead. The run featured two aces from Eggleston at the service line, and when the Longhorns’ advantage reached 20-12, the Buckeyes needed a timeout to regroup.  

Senior libero Zoe Fleck’s control of the passing game was a key factor in Texas holding the lead the entire set. The Longhorns dominated with an eight-point lead and a set score of 20-12. Texas was on its third match point, leading 24-18, but Phillips closed set two with a kill, evening the match at one set apiece.  

The Longhorns displayed their physicality at the beginning of the third set, blocking numerous shots to jump out to an early 7-2 lead. However, Ohio State refused to lose momentum and ended up reducing the point deficit to three points at 13-10. The Buckeyes tried to get Skinner out of rhythm, but her power tip was too difficult to defend.  

After an intense block from Ohio State, head coach Jerritt Elliott took a timeout, hoping to extend the Longhorns’ 20-17 lead. Two service errors from the Buckeyes, followed by missed defensive opportunities, set Texas up to win set three with Eggleston’s 15th kill of the night.  

Set four started out strong for the Longhorns with a 2-0 lead, including another kill from Eggleston. The Buckeyes struggled partly because of their dependence on junior outside hitter Emily Londot for the majority of their points. Ohio State maintained steady pressure on Texas with only a two or three point deficit until Texas elevated its level of play to a 15-10 lead.  

With Ohio State finding difficulty with consecutive points, a timeout was called in hopes of reducing Texas’ six-point lead at 17-11. A tip from Bella Bergmark, redshirt junior middle blocker, gave the Longhorns a 21-13 lead that seemed to be the defining play that set Texas up for a win in the fourth set. Freshman libero Emma Halter closed the game at the service line, allowing Texas to snatch set four 25-13.  

The Longhorns will hope to remain unbeaten on the young season when they play their first home game against No. 5 Minnesota on Wednesday at 7 p.m. in Gregory Gymnasium.