Scare at Kansas State could prove beneficial for Texas volleyball

23 Oct By

The Longhorns' victories Friday and Saturday kept them in the top spot in the AVCA Weekly Rankings. UT has not gone undefeated in conference play since 2017, but has a chance to do that once again in 2020, with a 9-0 record heading into Friday's match against Texas Tech. The team has seven matches left in the season.

Elliot drew a similar conclusion regarding the challenge posed by Kansas State.

"We're basically halfway through the conference now; I feel like we've made some really good progress as a team," Elliott said. "It was great to be tested by Kansas State on the first night last week and see how our players responded which I think did extremely well when down, 2-1, and obviously facing the ability to lose that match."

A large part of the reason why Texas did not lose that match, and then swept the Wildcats in the ensuing match Saturday, was the play of the Longhorns' front three: outside hitter Logan Eggleston and middle blockers Asjia O'Neal and Molly Phillips. The three combined for 38 kills, 19 digs and 12 block assists Friday night. Hardly anything gets past them. That ultimately allows the Horns to control the game on offense, setting their pace, and working together to find a way to win. Typically, a way to win big,

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That all begins with the chemistry of this particular team, according to Elliot.

"Being a coach is challenging," Elliott said. "You're a manager of people, so over the years you have great players, but sometimes players need a little bit of help here and there, and 90 percent of your time is focused on 10 percent of the team.

"This year's team is seriously the best team in regards to chemistry, and very low-maintenance. They all get along and they want to play for each other. We have gotten them to buy in and be accountable for where we've been weak. We've been pretty weak in finishing games out in the third set, and we gave them a few challenges over the past few weeks and they've really taken care of that."

They certainly have, as was evident Thursday night at Texas rolled to a 3-0 victory over Texas Tech in Austin. Any problems that might have been there last week against Kansas State were diminished as the Longhorns dominated the Lady Raiders and finished the third set by putting together a 9-0 run late. Texas ultimately won the set, 25-12.

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Riley Zayas is a high school sophomore and freelance journalist from Round Rock, Texas. He began his journalism career as a Sports Illustrated Kids reporter and has since become a regular contributor to Horns Illustrated, covering Texas Longhorn sports. His work also includes Fellowship of Christian Athletes publications, his personal blog 360 Sports, College Baseball Nation and Sports Spectrum, a national christian sports website. Twitter: @ZayasRiley