Austin, TEXAS – Senior Chiaka Ogbogu recorded 14 kills to lead No. 3 Texas Volleyball (22-2, 14-0) past No. 16 Kansas (21-6, 10-4) at Gregory Gym on Wednesday evening, 3-0 (25-23, 25-22, 25-16).
The Longhorns clinched a share of the Big 12 title with the win with two matches remaining in conference play.
Ogbogu’s 14 kills tied her season-high mark with a .545 hitting percentage, while White (.323) and Sun (.333) recorded 12 kills each to make it three Longhorns that finished with both double-digit kills and clips above .300.
White added 11 digs to record her eighth double-double of the season, while senior Cat McCoy led Texas in digs with 17 and sophomore Autumn Rounsaville added nine.
Senior Ebony Nwanebu finished with seven kills and freshman Ashley Shook led Texas with 42 assists.
Texas finished with the highest hitting percentage conceded by Kansas for the 2017 season (.337), holding the Jayhawks to a .177 clip and recording a 6.0 to 3.0 blocking advantage.
The Longhorns opened the match swinging, with kills from Johnson, Nwanebu, and White for a 4-2 lead. Kansas’ offense came into play, but the Texas defense maintained a two-point lead before an Ogbogu kill and a White service ace widened the gap to 15-11 heading into the media timeout. A Sun kill then made it 16-11, and Texas carried the lead to a 25-23 set finish.
The Longhorns piled pressure on Kansas opening the second set, growing a four-point lead and forcing a timeout at 11-7. The Jayhawks rallied to take a 16-14 lead of their own, but Texas came from behind to draw level at 20-20 with a kill from Nwanebu. The kill sparked a decisive run, 5-2, for the Longhorns to take the set when forcing successive attacking errors from Kansas, 25-22.
Continuing the momentum of the second set finish, Texas had opened a 16-9 lead by the time Kansas took a timeout to give pause to the third. The gap proved enough for Texas to secure the sweep, with the Longhorns growing the lead to ten points at 22-12 before a 25-16 finish.
Texas will look to win its 10th Big 12 title outright on Wednesday, Nov. 15 when it hosts Oklahoma at 7 p.m. The match will be televised live on Longhorn Network.
Head Coach Jerritt Elliott
On winning the last 16 games: I think we’ve just had people step up on different nights. We have a lot of depth and just have had a lot of different players come together and play well. Today it was our backcourt that did a phenomenal job with the passing to keep our offense flowing and put a lot of pressure on the team. Some nights it’s been our blocking that’s taken over. Sometimes it’s been our left sides. We’ve had a lot of different combinations, but it’s really hard to go through the season the way we’ve gone through it. It’s been impressive what they’ve been doing, but we still have two more matches. We really need to focus on Oklahoma and we need to play well, so that’s going to be my main focus when I wake up tomorrow.
One the satisfaction of beating Kansas tonight: To me it’s way more about process. We try to talk more about process than we do about winning championships and playing one game at a time and being good at it. Championships and winning the Big 12 happens because you’re good over a very long period of time, so your job as coach is to put their focus in one place and make sure they’re getting better. We’re still playing for the outright Big 12 title and we’re fighting for one of the top four seeds, so every game is a pressure kicker for us the rest of way.
On Oklahoma next week: We want to be over 12 percent hitting-wise, you can see that we’re exactly at 12 percent. There are just some times when we’re back to back hitting wise. We just have to go back and look at some of our transition work. I think we’re going to work on that tomorrow–work on managing our swings and continue to work on our serving and continue our team chemistry. I think that it’s growing, it’s nice to be building up on it. We know that Oklahoma is really good, but obviously Baylor is playing the best they have been all season. Tomorrow we’ll have practice; we’ll give them Friday off. Practice Saturday and then give then Sunday afternoon off. We have to get some mental and physical rest as we go into this last push into the NCAA tournament.
Senior Middle Blocker Chiaka Ogbogu
On what worked so well tonight: I think our communication and knowing what we had to do on our side. We’ve really been focusing on managing our side and taking care of our individual roles. As long as we do that, it doesn’t matter who is on the other side of the net.
On what it took to win the close first set: I think going back to managing our side. We did a really good job this game of looking each other in the eye and making sure we had each other’s back. It helped me and I know it helped other people as well.
On winning a conference championship all four years: I feel like it’s just the cherry on top of the cake. It’s awesome to be able to do it with this class because we’re all so close. We weren’t really focused on winning the Big 12 Championship tonight. We just wanted to get better and get stronger together. It’s awesome that we did that and won against Kansas.
Senior Libero Cat McCoy
On winning the conference championship: Not winning it last year was obviously disappointing and that was one of our main goals this year was to bring back that Big 12 Championship. We take a lot of pride in this conference. It gets better every single year, so for us to just win a share of it says a lot about this team.
On beating Kansas: The environment was great. A lot of fans came out, I thought it was a lot of fun. And Kansas–they’re a great team. Madison (Rigdon) has been battling some sort of injury and obviously, she is a great player and they have a great senior class, great coaches, so they’re great team. And for us to play how we did tonight it shows a lot.
On getting stronger: I think everyone is just truly bought in. Every day in practice we’re just working extremely hard and that’s part of the coaches just pushing us every single day and wanting to do better. And wanting to get better individually. So our chemistry is growing and I think the freshman are starting to get more comfortable on the court and they’re obviously doing a great job for us. I just think we get better every day.
Source: Daily Texas Online
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