No. 1 Texas takes down No. 4 Minnesota in four sets
No. 1 Texas proved they are here to stay as the top team in the nation. The Longhorns took down the No. 4 Minnesota Gophers in four sets in front of a sold out crowd in their home opener, and they look like they are going to be a really special team this season. The Gophers put up an incredible fight to stay in that match despite a lot of errors, but Texas would have never allowed it.
It looked like it might be an easy sweep when the Longhorns went up 2-0, but Minnesota made things really interesting in the third set. Suddenly it felt like we were watching postseason volleyball, when every single point matters, in just the second weekend of volleyball. Minnesota has one of the best freshman classes in the nation this season, and two of them showed up big late in the match. Julia Hansen was a huge spark for the Gophers, and she and the usual duo of Jenna Weenas and Taylor Landfair kept the Gophers in the match. It seemed they were trying to beat Texas at their own game —serving aggressively and getting the other team out of system — but it mostly resulted in a lot of service errors. They made up for it here and there with some great blocking, but it was ultimately not enough.
Texas came alive in the back half of the fourth set. And when a team as deep as the Longhorns gets some wind underneath their wings, they are pretty unstoppable. Logan Eggleston is a phenomenal athlete and leader, perhaps looking like the best player in college volleyball right now. She was able to give her team a lot of runs from behind the service line, and then they were able to go to their bench to get some offensive production. Even freshman, Devin Kahahawai, came in late in the fourth set and had two monumental points in a crucial moment. Texas has SO much depth, that All-American transfer Kayla Caffey didn't even see the court in the win.
Texas moves to 3-0 on the season, and Minnesota is now 2-1. Overall, though, I only see promising signs for the Gophers moving forward. Competing with a team like Texas this early in the season will take them far later on. I don't imagine they will drop much in anyone's eyes after that performance. What a match!
Whaaaaaaaaaattttt 🤯🤯🤯 pic.twitter.com/RH58kLZh4T— Texas Volleyball (@TexasVolleyball) September 1, 2022
Texas takes down Minnesota 25-22 in fourth set to win match
Right out of the timeout, Texas freshman Devin Kahahawai came up with a HUGE kill in her first appearance of the match. Minnesota continued to battle, though, and got within one — down 21-20. Their achilles heel tonight though has been service errors, and they sent another one way out of bounds to go down 22-20 before Kahahawai put up a big block to get the crowd and Texas team going.
Julia Hansen, the Minnesota freshman on fire tonight, kept it going for Minnesota to make the score 23-21. But yet another Minnesota service error gave Texas match point. Landfair fought off one Minnesota match point, but the Longhorns finished it off to take the match 3-1.
Texas leads by three
Texas kept the momentum and extended it to a 7-1 run to take an 18-14 lead. Taylor Landfair had a service error, and then the Longhorns responded with a huge Asjia O'Neal kill followed by yet another Logan Eggleston ace. The crowd is having a blast — even names like Texas running back Bijan Robinson is seen in the crowd dancing with his teammates.
The Gopher's got one back with a Weenas kill, but suffered another service error right afterwards. Texas leads 19-17 and we are certainly on the edge of our seats.
Texas has regained the lead 15-13
The Horns are back on top, 15-13 in the middle of the fourth set. The crowd is back into it and Texas has successfully responded to the Minnesota run. After seven ties and three lead changes, the Longhorns are now on a 4-0 run.
Fourth set is underway, and we have a battle
If you aren't able to watch the game, take a look at this video to get an idea of the atmosphere and how things are going:
This match is a 🎢 pic.twitter.com/czbau6caD2— Texas Volleyball (@TexasVolleyball) September 1, 2022
Big rallys, incredible defense, and now a point-for-point fourth set. The Gophers and Longhorns are all tied up 11-11 early in the fourth set. The Gophers are still getting great production from their freshman stars, Carter Booth and Julia Hansen.
Minnesota stays alive, takes third set 25-23
The Gophers remain alive. That third set lived up to alllll the pre-game hype. Minnesota competed with the Longhorns point-for-point. They took a hefty lead from the start, aggressive right out the gates, and then withstood a massive Texas momentum shift and comeback effort. We know live stats are down and not everyone has Longhorn Network, so here is how it went down:
Right when the Longhorns are in a bind, their leader — Logan Eggleston — pulled them back within two with two consecutive aces. Minnesota kept the lead into the late moments of the set, up 20-15, when things started getting crazy. Madi Skinner went off for two big points in a row, a kill down the line and then a huge block to get the crowd at Gregory Gymnasium on their feet. The Longhorns pulled within three, down 20-17, with hopes of ending the match right in the third set.
The Texas run continued from there. Julia Hansen sent one out of bounds, the Gophers challenged but the call remained, and then the Longhorns got another right out of the break to get within one, down 20-19. The crowd grew even louder when Jerritt Elliott sent Melanie Parra, the sophomore ace machine, onto the court for the first time this season. But it was Skinner again from the right side.
The Gophers KEPT battling, though. Late Texas runs are clearly hard to fight off, but despite the roar of the crowd for Texas, Jenna Weenas gave Minnesota set point, 24-21. But man, this Texas team. Eggleston hammered one down and then Keonilei Akana served an ace to get within one, 24-23. Out of a timeout, Landfair tooled one off the block and the Gophers took the third set, STILL ALIVE, 25-23.
Minnesota leads early in third set
The Gophers are not going to go down without a fight. They came out aggressive in the third set with a 10-6 lead. Julia Hansen, a freshman for Minnesota, has been coming up big, especially late in the match, with six kills so far. Texas started chipping away, but Taylor Landfair hammered one down to take a 15-10 lead.
The Gophers are clicking on all cylinders right now early in the set, but we know how Texas typically responds... stay tuned for a potential Longhorn comeback.
Texas takes 2-0 lead with 25-18 set two win
The Longhorns take a 2-0 lead on the match after pulling away late to win 25-18 in set two. It looked like another tight set for Minnesota early — the Gophers went on a big run towards the middle of the set with some big time momentum. They were in a solid rotation with big blockers up front, and were able to force a few uncharacteristic attacking errors out of the Longhorns. But, the Longhorns got the momentum right back and pulled away with a heavy lead to seal the deal.
The Gophers are struggling to get their middles involved and now find themselves down 2-0 on the match, facing a must-win third set. Texas on the other hand is in system, passing well and getting quick opportunities. Minnesota will need to put some serious pressure on Texas from the service line to try and get them off the net a little more moving forward. But so far, this match is ALL Texas.
Watch this play below ⬇️ Zoe Fleck is playing some great defense. Making plays to keep the ball alive. When Texas gets an extra opportunity, they typically capitalize. Exhibit A:
Defensive player of the week for a reason 🤘 pic.twitter.com/M6ZSR3EveV— Texas Volleyball (@TexasVolleyball) September 1, 2022
Texas wins set one, 25-21
The Texas Longhorns take the first set over Minnesota, 25-21. Here is the stat-line you need to know — Texas hit .333 to Minnesota's .062. That seems to be what Texas is doing best so far this season and it has continued into this match. The Longhorns offense is looking like a well-oiled machine, with Logan Eggleston leading the way.
On top of that, Minnesota had four service errors in the first set. I applaud them for serving aggressively, going right at Texas to beat them at their own game. Considering the Gophers hit at such a low percentage, they kept the set very competitive. If you ask me, I think Minnesota is going to get better as the match goes on, and if so, we just might be in for a really good one.
Texas leads by one in tight first set
Gregory Gym is jam-packed for the top-ranked Texas Longhorn's home opener. The top-five battle is being played in front of a sold out crowd, and it is living up to the hype, already.
Logan Eggleston is off to a hot start with six kills on nine swings, but Minnesota trails by just one — 18-17. Jenna Weenas and Taylor Landfair are looking confident to start the patch with six kills combined.
No. 1 Texas vs. No. 4 Minnesota
No. 1 Texas and No. 4 Minnesota will face off for a top-five battle for the Longhorn's home opener at Gregory Gym. We will be live blogging the game with stats and analysis.
When: 8 p.m. ET
Where: Austin, Texas | Gregory Gym
How to watch: Longhorn Network | Streaming link
Previewing Texas vs. Minnesota
We already have a top-five matchup in just the second week of college volleyball. The Gophers are a top-five team thanks to taking down Baylor last week in their season-opener. Minnesota debuted some new talent on the court this season and we saw the return of Taylor Landfair after she missed most of the season last year due to injury. She and Jenna Weenas shined at the corners, and freshman Carter Booth contributed in her collegiate debut. So, some really promising signs for the Gophers, but now they face the toughest task of all just one week in, with the top-seeded Longhorns.
By tough task, I mean this Texas team has it all. They brought back an incredible core of Logan Eggleston, Molly Phillips and Asjia O'Neal, and then a slew of transfers. Zoe Fleck, one of those transfers, won Big 12 defensive player of the week last week after her opening weekend performance, and Madi Skinner, another transfer, followed right behind Eggleston in scoring for the Longhorns. Eggleston totaled 33 kills over the weekend and five service aces. They were able to dismantle an experienced Ohio State team. OSU returned almost all of its starters from last year, so I didn't expect them to have growing pains early on. But they still really struggled to get anything going against Texas, and suffered in the passing game. Minnesota will need to be aggressive with Texas early on in this match. I am excited to see how they handle the Longhorns early in the season.
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