No. 1 volleyball suffers first loss of season in five-set battle against Iowa State


Kara Hawley

Sophomore outside hitter Madisen Skinner goes up to hit the ball against Denver on Sept. 9, 2022. Texas won 3 sets and took the win.

Tori Garcia, Sports reporter

Top-ranked Texas volleyball suffered its first loss of the season to Iowa State, currently second on the Big 12 standings, in a five-set battle on Wednesday in Ames, Iowa. 

For the first time since 2016, the Cyclones defeated the Longhorns and caused Texas to drop to 14–1 on the season and 6–1 against Big 12 opponents. Texas faced its second true test of the season, with only its second five-set match this year. 

On Tuesday, senior outside hitter Logan Eggleston and redshirt senior middle blocker Asjia O’Neal were awarded with Big 12 weekly honors — Eggleston for offense and O’Neal for defense — and both contributed tremendously to the Longhorns’ recent wins against both Kansas State and No. 14 Baylor. 

Both Eggleston and O’Neal proved their dominance once more on Wednesday against Iowa State, despite falling short in the match. Eggleston produced 18 kills on the night while O’Neal followed close behind with a career-high 17 kills and a .593 hitting percentage.

Texas totaled 80 kills compared to the Cyclones’ 64 kills on the night, but Iowa State ultimately outlasted the Longhorns in stamina and efficiency.

The first set started out evenly matched with out-of-system play from both sides of the court.  Texas went on a 6-point run but struggled with some first touches and returns, which resulted in a 7-point run from the Cyclones later on. However, the Longhorns’ early involvement and establishment of their middles, specifically O’Neal with four kills and three blocks in set one, ultimately led Texas to a 25-18 set victory.

Set two had more back-and-forth play and was tied at 12 apiece mid-set. Even though Texas and Iowa State were tightly matched throughout the set, the Longhorns had an upper hand in efficiency. The Cyclones couldn’t slow down Texas’ offense. After head coach Jerritt Elliott lost two frustrating challenges, Iowa State took set two 27-25 with several long volleys.  

Texas began to play smart and appeared more confident in the third set. Sophomore outside hitter Madisen Skinner and Kayla Caffey, redshirt senior middle blocker, proved to be a dynamic duo in set three with some crucial blocks, which allowed the Longhorns to gain a generous lead. Skinner also came out swinging and racked up six kills in the set which ultimately led Texas to close out set three 25-12.

Both the Longhorns and Cyclones had aggressive attacks in the fourth set which allowed them to be evenly matched. Iowa State picked up some late momentum in the set, but Skinner responded with crucial kills that kept Texas close until the Cyclones ultimately took the set 27-25 and tied the match 2-2.  

In the final set, Iowa State capitalized and took advantage of one-on-one situations. Points were traded toward the start of the set, but Texas’ service errors were costly and caused the Longhorns to drop set five and the game at 15-10.  

In its fight to keep its undefeated season alive against the Cyclones, Texas played uncharacteristically with an increased number of tips, roll shots and service errors compared to previous games.  

The Longhorns will get their first chance to bounce back when they take on West Virginia on Saturday at Gregory Gym.