Senior Bailey Webster recorded a team-high 15 kills as the Longhorns improved to 6-0 in the Big 12 Conference. (Photo: University of Texas)
AUSTIN, Texas -- No. 3 Texas defeated Iowa State, 3-1 (19-25, 25-14, 25-19, 25-22) Saturday evening in front of the second-largest crowd this season of 4,344 fans at Gregory Gym. The win extends UT’s conference home winning streak to 44 matches, dating back to 2008.
The All-American duo of Bailey Webster and Haley Eckerman combined for 29 kills (Webster 15, Eckerman 14). Freshman setter Chloe Collins added 29 assists, while sophomore Molly McCage matched her career-high with 10 kills, including three in the final set.
In the opening game, Texas (13-2, 6-0 Big 12) held the edge at 10-8 until Iowa State (10-6, 4-2 Big 12) crafted a 5-0 run to take the lead 13-10. The Cyclones would not relinquish the lead, taking the first set 25-19. Iowa State freshman Ciara Capezio led the way with six kills and an ace.
The Longhorns would even the match at one set apiece after besting the Cyclones 25-14 in game two. Texas once again jumped out to the early lead at 10-6. A Capezio kill capped a 3-0 Cyclone run, narrowing the margin to just one at 9-10. Texas answered back by winning 15 of the next 20 points, including the final five. Eckerman hit .444 for the set with four kills, zero errors and two aces.
In the third, Eckerman recorded her 11th kill of the night to cut the Cyclone lead to 10-11. The kill would ignite an 8-0 Longhorn run, giving the home team a commanding 17-11 lead. During the stretch, Texas spread the scoring wealth with kills from McCage, Collins and Webster. The Cyclones would only get within five points the remainder of the set, as Texas would win the third 25-19 to take the 2-1 advantage.
The Longhorns and Cyclones exchanged points in the fourth until Texas went on a 3-0 run to take a 16-11 lead. Iowa State would not go away, going on a 4-1 stretch to cut the lead to 23-21. McCage and Khat Bell recorded the final two kills to seal the win 25-22.
Texas will go for 10 straight victories at West Virginia next Wednesday, Oct. 23. The match will air on ESPNU at 7 p.m. CST.
The win marks Texas’ 44th consecutive home Big 12 Conference victory … beginning with a 3-0 sweep of Texas A&M on Nov. 1, 2008, the streak spans six seasons.
Texas has won nine consecutive matches since falling to Arizona State, 0-3, on Sept. 13.
Texas hit .303, marking the fifth time it has eclipsed the .300 mark and the fourth time in the last six matches.
Tonight’s attendance of 4,344 marks the second largest in Gregory Gym’s current configuration (renovated in 1998) … the only larger crowd to see the Longhorns was Sept. 7, 2013, when 4,373 came out to see then-No. 1 Texas down then-No. 2 Penn State … it was also Texas’ fourth sellout of the season.
Bailey Webster led Texas in kills for the sixth time and third-consecutive match this season with a match-high 15 kills.
Sarah Palmer led Texas in digs for the 12th time and sixth-consecutive match this season with nine digs.
Chloe Collins set a career-high .600 hitting percentage while matching her high of three kills … she led Texas in two categories against Iowa State - assists (29) and blocks (3).
Pilar Victoria recorded a career-high .571 hitting percentage (4-0-7).
Texas Head Coach Jerritt Elliott
Opening statement: Well, we found a way to win tonight. It was a big win for us, obviously, in terms of the race for the Big 12, and I’m very pleased that we could come out with a win that way. I thought we did some really nice things, obviously our serving and passing was a struggle besides I think [junior outside hitter] Haley Eckerman’s serve. I thought we steadied out after game one. I thought Iowa State played really well in game one. We just have to be able to respond better from the serve/receive side when things aren’t going well. We need people to step up. Give credit to Iowa State. They’re a good team and they play at a high level. We were able to match that after game one.
Junior outside hitter Haley Eckerman
On how she responded tonight after having a rough couple of weeks: The coaches have been working with me a lot on shaking the last game off, trying to be smarter with my decisions, manage my game more and be OK with being dug and take the attempt instead of an error.
On what the change was within the team in the second game: I think we just were playing calm and staying steady and trying to make it so that we weren’t making the errors. Forcing them to make the errors and worry about our side and what we were doing right. Focus on what we needed to do.
Freshman setter Chloe Collins
On if it means a lot to be a part of such a big match: Oh, definitely. The team is always really supportive regardless of who is on the court or not. It was a great atmosphere tonight.
On what she felt the difference was in the match tonight: Our energy and our focus. We were able to regroup and come out with more energy and be focused.