The Texas volleyball roster is so deep in talent that many of the Longhorns’ backups could start on just about any other college team. The fifth-ranked Horns showed off some of that depth in an easy 25-17, 25-21, 25-19 win over Oklahoma in a Big 12 Conference match Saturday before a crowd of 4,062 at Gregory Gym.
The victory allowed Texas to extend its home league win streak to 41 matches, a run that spans nearly four seasons and began with a sweep of Texas A&M on Nov. 1, 2008.
Oklahoma was the last Big 12 foe to topple Texas in Austin (on Oct. 29, 2008) but it had little chance this time.
The Horns (8-2, 2-0) got 19 of their 45 kills from underclassmen, including 15 from two freshmen, middle blocker Chiaka Ogbogu (nine) and outside hitter Pilar Victoria (six).
“All our younger players are pressing for time on the court in these games, and I feel very confident putting in Chiaka, Pilar or (setter) Chloe (Collins) at any time and in any situation,” Texas coach Jerritt Elliott said. “This was a good win against a rival team. I am very happy with the way the team is playing right now.”
Senior outside hitter Bailey Webster led the Horns with 15 kills while junior middle blocker Khat Bell added nine kills and three block assists. Texas outhit Oklahoma .319 to .179 and had eight blocks to the Sooners’ three.
Oklahoma (13-3, 1-1) was led by Kierra Holst’s nine kills. Sallie McLaurin and Keila Rodriguez contributed eight kills each.
In the first set, Texas used three kills by Haley Eckerman and a kill and a block by Bell to forge an 8-4 lead. Two kills by Webster and a block by Molly McCage made it 11-4 before Oklahoma found a little life. The Sooners cut the lead to 19-14 thanks to four kills by McLaurin, but the Horns won six of the final nine points.
The second set was much closer, with the score tied nine times, ultimately at 20-20. OU actually led 21-20 before Elliott sent in a lineup that featured Ogbogu and Victoria, along with sophomores Amy Neal and McCage.
The grouping (which also included seniors Hannah Allison at setter and Sarah Palmer at defensive specialist) provided the spark the coach was seeking, running off five straight points to capture the set.
“We seem to get stronger as the match progresses and we see what the opponent is trying to run on us,” Ogbogu said. “I am happy to be contributing as much as I am to our team and just trying to make the most of the chances I get.”
Victoria had two kills during a 7-3 stretch at the end of the third set to help the Horns to their third sweep of the season and second straight in league play.
The Longhorns will return to action Wednesday at Baylor.