No. 1 volleyball completes reverse sweep of Kansas on road to remain unbeaten

Tori Garcia, Sports reporter

In its first conference matchup of the season, No. 1 Texas volleyball needed all five sets to claim victory, clawing back after dropping the first two sets to beat the Kansas Jayhawks at Horejsi Family Volleyball Arena on Wednesday. 

The Longhorns faced their first true test of the season after dropping sets one and two for the first time this year. But the Longhorns rallied back by going on a three-set run to advance their undefeated record to 9–0.

The Longhorns relied heavily on sophomore outside hitter Madisen Skinner and senior outside hitter Logan Eggleston, which proved to cause difficulties for the team early on. Skinner ended with 19 kills on the night and Eggleston finished with 29. But once Texas started controlling the serve, the Longhorns found their groove.  

The Longhorns got off to a quick start in the match, and once behind 12-8, Kansas was forced to take a timeout.

After the timeout, Skinner continued to make good decisions with her off speed shots and senior libero Zoe Fleck, two-time Big 12 Defensive Player of the Week, showed her physicality in defense. The Longhorns created opportunities and made defensive plays that allowed them to stay in rallies while the Jayhawks had trouble receiving Texas’ serves.  

After a few key challenges, Kansas eventually tied the set at 22-22 behind its strategic serving and two-blocker scheme. The Jayhawks mounted a comeback from a previous 6-point deficit and took the first set 25-23.   

A run of four consecutive points for Kansas to start the second set caused head coach Jerritt Elliott to call a timeout. Elliott made a mid-set substitution of sophomore outside hitter Melanie Parra to swing on the left in hopes of reversing the outcome of the first set.

Four uncharacteristic service errors from Texas later in the set were easy points for the Jayhawks. After a Texas timeout at 17-11 with Kansas in the lead, Texas appeared to regain its momentum and eventually took the set lead at 19-18. However, the Jayhawks’ blocking was relentless and Kansas took set two 25-23.  

At the beginning of the third set, the Jayhawks took an early lead. The Jayhawks positioned themselves well on defense, allowing them to easily read where Texas would go with the ball. But with Parra at the service line, Texas went on a 5-point run. Recording kill after kill, Eggleston heated up and proved to be a threat. Texas gained separation with Parra at the service line and took the third set 25-18.  

Texas controlled the fourth set with consistency on both defense and offense. The Jayhawks struggled to find an offensive rhythm. Riding their patience at net, the Longhorns took a highly contested fourth set 25-22, forcing a decisive fifth set.  

With Skinner and Eggleston in the front row to start the final set, the Longhorns had complete confidence. Kills from Skinner, Eggleston and Parra caused Kansas to take its first timeout at 5-3. Texas had consistent block deflections followed by kills, which proved to be too much for the Jayhawks. A Kansas service error allowed Texas to take the set 15-9, completing the reverse sweep.

Still undefeated, the Longhorns will travel back to Austin for their next match against Oklahoma on Saturday at Gregory Gym.