No. 1 volleyball sweeps Oklahoma in Red River matchup

Katie Borchetta, Sports Reporter

The 4,343 fans who piled into Gregory Gym on Saturday night for a Red River volleyball showdown on the court were not disappointed as No. 1 Texas swept rival Oklahoma 3-0.

Texas leads the all-time series against the Sooners 59-4 and the Longhorns have won the last 16 matchups in a row.

While both teams experienced some struggles during the match, Texas kept up the dominance it has exhibited all season en route to a 10-0 record.

Both Texas and Oklahoma had a number of service errors and faulty first touches. However, the dynamic play of senior setter Saige Ka’aha’aina-Torres and Asjia O’Neal, redshirt senior middle blocker, solidified another Texas win. A backwards set from Ka-aha-aina-Torres leading into a powerful kill from O’Neal was Texas’ bread-and-butter throughout the match. O’Neal ended the game with a hitting percentage of .647 and 13 kills, with many coming off of Ka’aha’aina-Torres’ assists.

“We’re best friends,” O’Neal said after the game about her setter. “It’s nice having that good connection off the court and then when we’re on the court, I know I can trust her.”

Senior libero Zoe Fleck, two-time Pac 12 Defensive Player of the Week, was another reason for Texas’ success. Fleck had a multitude of digs and first touches that kept the Longhorns in the game, showcasing the skills that earned her the award twice.

Senior outside hitter Logan Eggleston also recorded her 184th career ace, bringing her within reach of the Longhorns’ all-time career record. Former Longhorn Mira Topic, who played at Texas from 2001-04, currently holds the record with 185.

The first set started out strong with a kill from sophomore outside hitter Madisen Skinner. Oklahoma struggled to keep its serves in the court, granting the Longhorns a multitude of free points as well. Oklahoma’s starting lineup was composed mostly of underclassmen, but age did not stop some Sooner players from giving the Longhorns a challenge. Freshman middle back Morgan Perkins and freshman outside hitter Taylor Preston accrued multiple kills for Oklahoma in the first set alone. Despite Oklahoma’s effort, Texas prevailed, ending the set with a kill by Eggleston 25-20.

The second set began with Oklahoma taking an early lead, but after a timeout by Texas, the Longhorns started to regain their momentum. The set consisted of many quick plays, errors on both sides of the court and several recoveries from Fleck. Texas ended the set 25-21.

The Longhorns were down for a majority of the first half of the final set. The set was more frantic than the previous two. A set by Ka’aha’aina-Torres and a kill from sophomore outside hitter Melanie Parra appeared to give Texas the final point it needed for the sweep until Oklahoma head coach Lindsey Gray-Walton, thinking the point was out of bounds, challenged the call. After echoing chants of “OU sucks” from the Gregory faithful-filled the gym, the official ruled that the call stood, granting Texas the victory.

During the game, the Longhorns hosted a celebration of the 10-year anniversary of the 2012 national championship team with members of the team present for the game. O’Neal commented on what their presence meant to her.

“When they won that game I remember watching it. I was like 12 years old,” O’Neal said. “I remember saying I want to be a Texas Longhorn.”

The undefeated Longhorns will take on Texas Tech in their next matchup Sunday in Lubbock.