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Point Texas: Longhorns Mark Seventh Sweep of the Season




Photo: @TexasVolleyball

After a week off, #5 Texas (16-4) hosted Kansas State (13-10) on the Forty Acres defeating the Wildcats in three sets – marking their seventh sweep of the season.   At the conclusion of their last match, all were left wondering what Coach Jerritt Elliot would decide at the setter position moving forward after pulling sophomore starter Ashley Shook (Plainfield, Illinois) to play freshman Jhenna Gabriel who seemed to change the court dynamic for the Longhorns.  For the first time in 48 starts, Coach Elliott made a dramatic roster change, and stuck with the freshman out of Honolulu, Hawaii.

In the first set, the Longhorns couldn’t seem to break away from a tied up game through 9.   Under Gabriel’s service game, a three-point run finally took the Longhorns to 12-9 and then worked their way to a comfortable lead of 23-18.  Junior outside hitter Micaya White (Frisco) took the set with a kill from the back-row (25-19).

Texas, powering on in the second set, jumped to a 5-1 lead over Kansas State and then opened up one of the biggest leads the team has seen in several matches, 17-8.   Again, with a steady service game by Gabriel the Longhorns were at 21-9. Easily taking the second set 25-15, team hitting was at .385 under the young setter’s leadership in four sets.

By the time Texas clinched the match (25-19), Gabriel earned 31 assists in her career debut, junior outside hitter Micaya White had 13 kills and junior libero Claire Hahn (Austin) was responsible for 10 digs.  While Texas is over halfway through the season and in the final weeks before the tournament seeds are announced, onlookers will await to see how such an unexpected change at the setting position bodes for the team’s final games, and potentially into bracket season.

Saturday the Longhorns play Kansas at 1PM at Gregory Gym before hitting the road in the final stretch.

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