No. 1 Texas volleyball exacts revenge over Iowa State with sweep

Tori Garcia, Sports reporter

No. 1 Texas volleyball faced Iowa State for the second time this season hoping to redeem itself after the first matchup resulted in the Longhorns’ first loss of the season. On Wednesday, the Longhorns avenged themselves with a sweep in Gregory Gym to improve their overall record to 18–1.

After Texas’ match with TCU on Nov. 2 was canceled due to illness within the Horned Frogs’ program, the Longhorns had an extra week of preparation for the Cyclones. Head coach Jerritt Elliott reemphasized the competitive gym practices in preparation for the game.

“We were just doing a lot of six-on-six and working on some of our blocking,” Elliott said. “Our blocking and our defense have been a major part for us to get better at, and I thought we did a much better job this time around defending it.”

Even after falling short to the Cyclones in the teams’ first matchup, senior outside hitter Logan Eggleston said nerves weren’t much of a factor in this game and focused on keeping their play consistent with previous matchups.

“We prepared the same, we talked the same before the game, we warmed up the same and everything like that,” Eggleston said. “There probably were a bit more nerves in there, but I don’t think it shows in any way our progression.”

After dropping to No. 2 in the AVCA Coaches’ Poll in late October following their first and only defeat this season, the Longhorns have regained the top spot. However, focusing on each individual game is more important to Eggleston than their national ranking.

“It’s definitely a goal for us to win a Big 12 title to start,” Eggleston said. “It’s really nice to be back on top, but we have a lot of really tough games left, so we are going to take it one game at a time and see if we can finish the season on top.”

In the Longhorns’ first matchup against Iowa State, Texas totaled 80 kills with five attackers racking up double-digit kills and sophomore outside hitter Madisen Skinner led Texas with 19 kills. On Wednesday, Eggleston led the Longhorns with 14 kills out of a total of 47 compared to the Cyclones’ 34.

Set one was neck-and-neck with a few crucial kills from the Longhorns followed by responsive blocks from Iowa State providing for an evenly matched contest. Texas ultimately took the first set 25-23, ending with a kill from Eggleston.

Texas displayed more confidence and played more characteristically at the start of the second set, allowing the Longhorns to take an early lead. Texas held firm, ultimately leading to a 25-19 second set win over the Cyclones.

Miscommunication errors on both sides of the court resulted in a close matchup once again in the third set. Crucial saves from senior libero Zoe Fleck gave the Longhorns enough momentum to grab a larger lead, proving to be too demanding for the Cyclones. Texas took set three and finished the match 25-19.

After completing their second matchup against Iowa State, the Longhorns will focus on gaining a second win over its rival Oklahoma Sooners on Saturday in Norman, Oklahoma.