No. 2 volleyball sweeps Texas Tech for second time, improves to 16–1 on season

Tori Garcia, General Sports Reporter

For the second time this season, No. 2 Texas volleyball swept Texas Tech in three sets to improve its overall record to 16–1 and 8–1 in Big 12 conference play at Gregory Gym on Wednesday.

With its loss to Iowa State still fresh, the Longhorns improved their all-time record against the Red Raiders to 93–9–2, and their all-time Austin advantage versus Texas Tech to 44–3. 

“For us, it’s been a concentration battle,” head coach Jerritt Elliott said. “We’ve had elite level practices day in and day out, so I’ve been really proud of the way this team has performed in the training gym. We let some sets get away throughout the conference when we were up big and took timeouts, so we addressed that. They have a lot of pride in what they want to do and they have some big goals.”

For the past eight weeks, the Longhorns sat atop the American Volleyball Coaches Association Coaches poll. But after suffering their first loss of the season, Nebraska took over the top spot, and the Longhorns now sit at No. 2. Junior opposite hitter Molly Phillips isn’t focused on national rankings, however.  

“It really just matters where we end up at the end of the season,” Phillips said. “It’s always fun to be No. 1, obviously, but in the end, we’re looking for (a top-four seed) to host (NCAA Tournament games) at home.”

In Texas’ first matchup against the Red Raiders this season in Lubbock, sophomore outside hitter Madisen Skinner racked up 19 kills and a .529 hitting percentage while senior outside hitter Logan Eggleston also had a notable game with 17 kills on the night.  

This time around, Eggleston led the Longhorns and continued to display her dominance over the Red Raiders with 13 kills and a .565 hitting percentage. Texas Tech’s leading scorer, senior outside hitter Kenna Sauer, finished with 11 kills and a .318 hitting percentage. Overall, the Red Raider’s 24 kills paled in comparison to the Longhorns’ 42.  

Texas established and maintained an early lead throughout the first and second sets. Early runs proved to be too demanding of the Red Raiders and Texas grasped a quick 2-0 lead in the match as a result.

“Everybody is kind of working on their relationships between one another to make sure that when we step out on the court again, there’s no lack of trust,” senior setter Saige Kaʻahaʻaina-Torres said. “We all know what we need to do, we’re going to do our jobs, and we are going to do them well.”

After a 7-0 run at the start of the third set with little serious response from the Red Raiders throughout the set, Texas easily finished off the final set at 25-9. 

“(Texas Tech) did not have their full lineup tonight,” Elliott said. “They were struggling. I know they had some players that were sick, and without a real setter in there that’s consistent, it makes it really difficult.”

With the second and final regular season matchup against the Red Raiders under their belt, the Longhorns will now shift their focus to a road tilt with Kansas State on Friday.  “I think we have all kind of built trust in each other,” Kaʻahaʻaina-Torres said. “We’ve all kind of learned to never be satisfied with where we’re at, at this current moment. Every day we go into the gym, we can always find one thing to get better at.”