Looking to reach their 13th straight regional, the #5 Texas Longhorns (21-4) defeated the SFA Lumberjacks (32-2) in three sets (25-12, 25-17, 25-21) to open up their NCAA Division I Tournament run in Austin.
Although Texas didn’t have control of the first set against SFA like a top seed should, they started to advance past the Lumberjacks after winning a challenge that sent them on a spree of five unanswered points to take their biggest lead of the set (16-10). After another run of six points, they ended the first set with 17 kills hitting at .364 while SFA was held at -.062 with only five kills, respectively. Despite the Lumberjacks’ offense ticking up slightly (.065) with nine kills in the second set, the Longhorns took the set fairly quickly (25-17) with a .375 hitting percentage and 18 kills.
During the final set (16-13) Texas Coach Jerritt Elliott made a change at setter, replacing freshman Jhenna Gabriel (Honolulu, Hawaii) for sophomore Ashley Shook (Plainfield, Illinois). The motive behind the decision was unclear but could have been due to addressing a potential weakness at the net or simply allowing Shook some touches to stay fresh for the tournament. With Shook remaining in the quarterback position, the Longhorns took the match.
Recently named Big 12 Freshman of the Year outside hitter Logan Eggleston (Brentwood, Tennessee) earned her team’s high at 14 kills and .591 hitting percentage. Followed with 12 kills from her teammate, junior outside hitter MicayaWhite (Frisco), who was named 2018 Big 12 Player of the Year this week. Freshman Brionne Butler (Kendleton), who also earned All-Big 12 First Team honors this week (along with White, Eggleston, and seniors Yassmeen Bedart-Ghani and Morgan Johnson), provided four blocks to her team tonight. Rounding out the crucial digs for the team were freshman Sydney Petersen (Dike, Iowa) and junior Claire Hahn (Austin) at 17 and 12, respectively.
Texas will face Texas State University, who beat Rice earlier in the day, at Gregory Gym on Friday at 8PM.
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