Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

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October 4, 2022

No. 5 Texas volleyball becomes Big 12 Champions after 3-1 win against Iowa State

Naina Srivastava
Senior middle-blocker Asjia O’Neal jumps spikes the ball toward the Iowa State volleyball team on Nov. 15, 2023. Texas won 3-1.

Last season, Iowa State beat Texas 3-2 in Texas’ first and only loss of the season. 

And after four hard-earned sets, No. 5 Texas got redemption against an unranked Iowa State, won their seventh consecutive Big 12 title and moved closer to the NCAA tournament. 

“They have that little belief that they can beat us because that was our only loss in the season last year,” junior outside hitter Madisen Skinner said. “We’re approaching them like we would any other team and staying disciplined on our side.”

In the first set, Texas’ impenetrable wall at the net created problems for Iowa State. Texas won 12 points at the net with blocks, four of them by senior middle blocker Bella Bergmark. 

“I thought we were executing at a high level and putting a ton of pressure on them defensively,” head coach Jerritt Elliott said. 

Bergmark finished the game with seven total blocks and six kills and her teammate, senior middle blocker Asjia O’Neal, had two solo blocks and four block assists. 

Even when blocking didn’t go their way, the Longhorns were ready to pop the ball back up and keep the point going. The first set ended with Texas keeping Iowa State to a negative hitting percentage. 

“You just have to be patient,” Elliot said. “You have to be willing to play long rallies.”

At the beginning of the second set, the Texas chemistry built off of the win in the previous set. The Cyclones kept making mistakes, hitting the ball into the net three times and giving the Longhorns both points and momentum. 

Texas also pulled out some pretty big saves. 

Flinging one arm behind her, sophomore libero Emma Halter swung hard to get the ball over the net. Iowa got it back over, but it didn’t take long for Skinner to get a kill to the center of the court. The kill was one out of 22 that Madisen Skinner hit against Iowa State, along with 14 digs, four blocks, two service aces and one assist. 

After that point, however, Texas began to look rattled and their composure began to slip. The team gave up a six-point lead and ultimately lost the set 24-26.

“This is going to be one of our last three matches, and we hope that we get challenged … we want what’s going to happen in the tournament,” Elliot said. “Iowa State is always a tough game, just one of those blue-collar teams that come in and battle every night.”

In the third set, Texas kept its lead, winning 25-18, and in the fourth set, Texas was put into another potential tournament situation: coming back from behind. 

Down by five points, Texas was able to shift the momentum back its way and it was soon able to take the lead. With a serve-out by Iowa State, Texas won the fourth set 25-20. 

Even though the NCAA tournament looms ahead of the team, the Longhorns are focused on their next game against UCF. 

“We try to stay really present and just focus on the game that’s right ahead of us,” O’Neal said. “It’s so much easier to just focus on the now than getting too antsy worrying about what’s two or three weeks down the road.”

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About the Contributor
Naina Srivastava, Senior News Reporter & Senior Photographer
Naina is a freshman journalism major from Mountain View, California. She is currently a senior news reporter and senior photographer at the Texan.