They did it again. The No. 9 Longhorns defeated No. 14 Kansas State 3-0 in Manhattan, Kansas (25-17, 30-28, 25-15). The victory was the Longhorns’ seventh straight sweep, bringing their record to 13-3 on the season and 6-0 in Big 12 play. So far Texas has yet to drop a set against a conference opponent this season.
Despite sweeping TCU earlier in the week, the Longhorns were not happy with their inconsistent performance against the Horned Frogs. Their goal going into Saturday’s match was to eliminate errors and play well from the start of the match through all sets.
“I think we knew we didn’t play well on Wednesday against TCU and just had to put that past us,” sophomore outside hitter Haley Eckerman said. “We just had to come out firing tonight.”
Eckerman led the Longhorns with 19 kills and 11 digs, a career high and the first double-double of her career. She hit .417 and had four blocks. Junior setter Hannah Allison recorded the team’s other double-double with 11 digs and 41 assists.
For Kansas State, junior middle blocker Kaitlynn Pelger led the Wildcats with 15 kills and five digs with a .184 hitting line.
In set one, the lead changed hands several times, coming to an 18-17 Texas lead off of a score by Pelger. A Wildcat service error led to a seven-point rally that brought the score to 25-17 and an end to the first set.
The second set started off rocky for Texas, with Kansas State building an early 10-4 lead. Several well-timed scores by the Wildcats brought them to set point at 24-21, but three state errors by Kansas State had the set tied at 24-24. A kill by Eckerman followed by another error by Kansas State secured the second set with a score of 30-28 in favor of the Longhorns.
Six errors by Kansas State contributed to six of nine points for the Longhorns during their comeback late in set two.
“I think we knew we couldn’t give up,” Eckerman said. “We practice a drill like that all the time when someone is trailing 19-17, so we just had to keep on fighting and work our way back.”
The Longhorns had an easier time containing the Wildcats in set three. They jumped to an early 13-5 lead off of an error by Kansas State and three kills each from Eckerman and senior utility Sha’Dare McNeal and two from junior outside hitter Bailey Webster.
Kansas State brought set three to within five for a score of 15-10 but wasn’t able to build any momentum as the Longhorns won 25-15 in front of Kansas State’s largest crowd so far this season.
The Longhorns head to Louisville, Ky., after the game to face No. 17 Louisville tonight at 6 p.m. The Cardinals are fresh off of a sweep of Rutgers, which brought their season record to 16-2 and 5-1 in Big East conference play.
The Cardinals are led by senior outside hitter Lola Arslanbekova, who had 20 kills and 14 digs in the last game against Rutgers. With the performance, Arslanbekova became the all-time kill leader at Louisville with 1,874 kills, 321 so far this season.
The Longhorns are 2-0 all-time against the Cardinals. They last met in November of 1994, when the Longhorns won 3-0.
Printed on Monday, October 8, 2012 as: Texas sweeps Kansas State, heads to Louisville