No.1 Texas volleyball sweeps Kansas 3-0 after difficulty in first matchup earlier in season


Julius Shieh

Senior Asjia O’Neal jumps to hit the ball during a game against Kansas on Nov. 16, 2022. Texas won 3-0.

Katie Borchetta, Sports reporter

After a challenging five-set match against Kansas earlier in Big 12 conference play, No 1. Texas swept Kansas in their second matchup on Wednesday in Gregory Gym.

Overall, Texas’ back row attacks from its outside hitters were effective in getting Kansas to give up points. Blocking, specifically by senior Logan Eggleston and senior middle blocker Asjia O’Neal, kept Texas ahead in score for a majority of each set.

Communication between players was also a prominent feature, with name calling on the court that could be heard from the back of the stands. Overall, Texas had a hitting percentage of .322 compared to Kansas’ .205. Texas currently leads the country with an average .338 hitting percentage, and O’Neal is ranked first in the nation for hitting percentage with her .477 clip.

Head coach Jerritt Elliott said the turnaround between the first matchup and the second was because of the team’s focus, as well as improving their defense.

“It was the first game of the conference and we kind of threw it away,” Elliott said. “It’s been so long, so we just had to focus on the things we’ve been doing and the area we were focused on is the defensive side.”

O’Neal said that while she thinks her team has come a long way since the first Kansas matchup earlier this season, there is still more they can accomplish.

“I just feel like we’re growing and getting better as the season goes on,” O’Neal said. “I still think we have a little more to give.”

The Longhorns started out the game with a quick service error, but after that gave up very few points to Kansas. Intense kills by sophomore outside hitter Madisen Skinner, Eggleston and O’Neal were major factors in Texas’ success.

Senior setter Saige Kaʻahaʻaina-Torres also had several assists that set up the hitters for their kills. Kansas used both of its two timeouts, but it was no use when a final kill from junior opposite hitter Molly Phillips finished off the first set 25-16.

The second set began in similar fashion to the first, with Texas committing minimal errors and utilizing assists from Kaʻahaʻaina-Torres that built a lead. Kaʻahaʻaina-Torres currently has the sixth-most assists in the nation, averaging 11.64 per set. After the Jayhawks used both of their timeouts for the second set, Texas ended the set with a kill from Eggleston 25-18.

The third and final set started off rough for the Longhorns, down a majority of the first half. A large part of Kansas’ success came in part to senior Anezka Szabo and redshirt freshman Ayah Elnady, who both had 10 kills by the end of the match with the majority in the third set.

However, after being down six points, Texas called a timeout and came back with five consecutive points. The points then went back and forth between the teams. An O’Neal kill tied the game 24-24, blocking Kansas from claiming its first set of the night. The next two points went in Texas’ favor and resulted in the Longhorns winning the third set to complete the sweep of the Jayhawks.

Next up, the Longhorns will take on Baylor this Saturday in Austin to celebrate senior night.