Despite their 12-game winning streak, the Longhorn volleyball team knows there are still many tests moving forward.
Top-ranked Texas will head to Oklahoma on Saturday in search of its 13th consecutive victory and 10th-straight in conference play. Although the team battled to dispatch Texas Christian University in four sets Wednesday night, head coach Jerritt Elliott sees a daunting road still to come.
“There are good teams,” Elliott said. “We told the team tonight, our toughest three out of four opponents left on our schedule are our next three matches.”
The offense struggled to put things together early on in each set against TCU, but overall the match produced a number of season bests.
Junior outside hitter Haley Eckerman continued to revamp play as she led the Longhorns with a season-high 24 kills in a match that saw Texas record its third highest total kills with 59. Eckerman’s presence will be needed to compete at any stage of the season, and her mind-set is right where it needs to be.
“I think it was me making sure I was just focusing on the right thing and whatever I needed to do to help my teammates out,” Eckerman said after her performance against TCU. “That is something Jerritt works on too … Making sure that we know our role, especially when it is time to kick in, and so I have been
working a lot in practice on trying to manage my swings and not make as many errors in every game.”
Texas is currently hitting at a .278 clip for the season, while the defense is holding opponents to just a .187 average. Although the Longhorns have
produced significantly more kills than its opponents, its 180 total blocks to just 110.5 is the number that jumps out.
With that in mind, the defense will need to be sharp against a Sooners team that has notched an average kill percentage of .254 while averaging 13.3 kills per set. Oklahoma is also riding a four-game home win streak, which should give them momentum in this big conference tilt.
This matchup could be the Longhorns’ toughest conference test yet, as they look to their defense to lead the chase for an undefeated Big 12 record.