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Point Texas: Longhorns Sweep Bears in Home Conference Opener

The Longhorns defeated the Bears in straight sets on Wednesday evening

Photo: TexasSports.com
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Following a close win on the road to open conference play in Manhattan last week, the #4 ranked Longhorns (7-3) returned home to Gregory Gym Wednesday night to face #21 Baylor (9-6), besting the Bears in three sets.

For Big 12 Conference play, the stage was set for the Longhorns and Baylor following an earlier season upset by Wisconsin (#8) over Texas (#2) in Madison and a Bear defeat of the Badgers just a week later.  Last night Baylor’s appearance marked the third time a ranked opponent played Texas on the 40 acres this season – the Longhorns splitting that top play with a loss to Stanford (#2) and a win over Kentucky (#16).

Texas’ offense was slow to start and Baylor found themselves plagued with eight service errors, leaving the teams point-for-point throughout the first set.  The Bears’ star outside hitter and 2018 Preseason All-Big 12, Yossiana Pressley, gave the Horn’s a tough time both at the net and from the back-row, racking up seven kills.   But, the Cypress sophomore’s dominance over the court wouldn’t last for long as Texas’ defense zeroed in resulting in Texas out-blocking Baylor five to one.  Despite only eight kills from the Longhorns, they scrapped their way to taking the first set 25-23.

A change of tempo in the second set, the Longhorns’ offense came out strong with freshman middle blocker Brionne Butler (Kendleton, Texas) and junior outside hitter and 2018 Big 12 Preseason Player of the Year Micaya White (Frisco, Texas) amassing kills to establish a quick 9-4 lead over the Bears.  But Baylor didn’t lag behind, keeping the run tight until Texas’s offensive strategy at the net generated by Butler, freshman outside hitter and 2018 Big 12 Preseason Freshman of the Year Logan Eggleston (Brentwood, Tennessee) and senior middle blocker and 2018 Preseason All-Big 12 selection from Desoto, Morgan Johnson, led the Horns to set point (24-16).  This wasn’t before the Texas-D shutdown Pressley, limiting Baylor’s total kills from 16 in the first set to 11 in the second.  Texas, with 12 kills and a final error by Baylor, took the second set (25-16).

Not to be forgotten, Baylor’s Pressley, a 2017 AVCA Honorable Mention All-American, came out swinging in the third set but her prowess continued to falter with her hitting percentage falling to her lowest yet as Texas continued to dominate the net defensively, outpacing blocks four to one over the Bears in the final box scores.  Not to be outdone, the Horns’ final match hitting percentage hit reached a high of .333 versus their season average of .295.

Volleyball doesn’t grind without the hard work of the passing game, a trifecta of White, sophomore setter and 2017 AVCA All-America Honorable Mention Ashley Shook (Plainfield, Illinois) and freshman libero Sydney Peterson (Dyke, Iowa) comprised 23 of the team’s 33 digs to provide their team opportunities to make big plays.  Match point for Texas (24-18) but a challenge by Baylor to review a previous play led to the rulebook.  Upon review, Texas lost a point but quickly recovered to win two straight points for the match (25-16).

The win marks the Texas Longhorns’ 21st straight over Big 12 opponents and 33rd win over Baylor.  Saturday, they look to continue their streak as they head to West Virginia to face the Mountaineers in Morgantown (Noon, CST).

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