By Steve Lansdale
EUGENE, Ore. — For the second time in as many matches, junior outside hitter Ebony Nwanebu recorded double-digit kills, but her effort was not enough as the No. 2 University of Texas volleyball team fell to top-ranked Nebraska, 3-0 (25-15, 25-16, 25-21) at the VERT Challenge in Eugene, Ore.
In addition to her 13 kills, Nwanebu contributed eight digs and a team-leading three blocks. Junior libero Cat McCoy led the Longhorns with 13 digs, while senior setter Nicole Dalton and senior setter Chloe Collins had 28 assists.
In the first set, the Longhorns took advantage of three consecutive errors by the Cornhuskers to close a 9-4 Nebraska lead to a single point, but the Huskers responded with a three-point run of their own, eventually pulling away to win the set.
The second set followed a similar script, with the Cornhuskers jumping out to an early lead before the Longhorns stormed back, this time narrowing what had been a seven-point deficit to just three (11-8). But once again, a late Nebraska run allowed the Cornhuskers to pull away.
The third set was closer than either of the first two, with the teams stayed close until UT pulled ahead, claiming an 11-8 lead, thanks in large part to three kills by Nwanebu. Nebraska ralled to take the lead, only to watch the Longhorns knot the score at 16-16 before the Cornhuskers pulled away to complete the three-set sweep.
Texas will play its first home matches Thursday, Sept. 1 in the American Campus Classic, facing Lipscomb at 12 p.m. and then taking on the UT-San Antonio Roadrunners at 7 p.m.