AUSTIN, Texas – Aided by an electric home crowd at Gregory gymnasium, No. 5 Texas Volleyball defeated No. 8 Kansas 3-1 in its Big 12 home opener on Saturday night (27-25, 25-16, 18-25, 25-19).
In the third straight top-10 clash between the two teams, the Longhorns hit .351 and extended their winning streak over Kansas to 25 matches.
Junior outside hitter Ebony Nwanebu led the Longhorns with a dominant .514 hitting percentage, recording 20 kills on the night. Freshman outside hitter Micaya White's 22 kills were the most in the game for either team, while her .348 hitting percentage was the second-best for Texas. White also tallied eight digs.
Senior Paulina Prieto Cerame joined White and Nwanebu as the third Longhorn to record double-digit kills with 12. Junior Cat McCoy notched a team-high 17 digs and one service ace, while freshman Orie Agbaji totaled six blocks for her third-straight match with three or more blocks.
Both teams traded points in the opening set, with neither team finding an early advantage. After piecing together several kills to grab a 12-9 lead, the Jayhawks stayed ahead of Texas for the majority of the set.
With the Longhorns trailing 23-19, Prieto Cerame contributed two kills as Texas battled back to even the score at 23-23. From there, the Longhorns fended off Kansas' first set point with a kill from Nwanebu, and a Jayhawk service error on the next set point prolonged the battle. The home crowd reached a fever pitch when the Longhorns claimed a 26-25 advantage off a kill from White, giving Texas its first set point. The deciding volley ended in an attacking error for Kansas, and the Longhorns took the first set and a 1-0 lead in the match.
The Longhorns carried their momentum into the second set, a stretch of the match in which Texas denied the Jayhawks even a single lead. At one point the Longhorns held a 10-2 lead over Kansas, and from there the most the Jayhawks threatened was when they cut Texas' lead to five, at 15-10.
The Longhorns only allowed one more point in the set and closed it out, 25-16, with a pair of punishing kills from White and Nwanebu.
The third set initially looked much like the first, with both teams trading blows and neither taking a substantial lead early in the set. A three-point run put Kansas up 18-14, and the Jayhawks held onto the lead to take the third set, 25-18.
The Longhorns built upon an early 6-3 lead to take a double-digit advantage at 20-10. A four-point Kansas run closed the gap to 23-18, but another kill from White put Texas at match point. A final service error from Kansas gave the Longhorns the victory.
The win moves Texas to 10-2 on the year and 2-0 in conference play. They will face off against Big 12 foe Oklahoma on Wednesday, Sept. 28 at 6 p.m. live on ESPNU.