- #4 Texas def. #13 Kansas 3-0 (25-23, 25-22, 25-16)
- #4 Texas improves to 22-2 (14-0, Big 12); #13 Kansas falls to 21-6 (10-4, Big 12)
- Austin, Texas (Big 12 Match)
- Attendance: 4,001
- Box Score
Austin, Texas – #4 Texas earned at least a share of the 2017 Big 12 title behind a sweep of #13 Kansas. Winning the conference against the Jayhawks is fitting for the Longhorns, as they were thwarted from winning the Big 12 by Kansas last year for the first time since Nebraska left the conference.
The win gives Texas yet another Big 12 title as they sit at 14-0 in conference play. The only other school who can come into a tie with them is Baylor, who won today to keep their hopes alive as one more win for Texas would clinch the conference outright.
Texas opened the first set with the early momentum and ran ahead 19-13 after a block by Lexi Sun (12 kills, .333, three blocks) and Morgan Johnson (two kills, three blocks). The Jayhawks continued their struggle without senior outside hitter Madison Rigdon, as the Pflugerville native (nearby Austin) was unable to go in the opening set due to injury that kept her from their recent loss vs. Baylor. Regardless, Kansas came storming back to take 10 of the next 14 to even at 23. Behind their home crowd though, the Longhorns responded with a kill from Chiaka Ogbogu (14 kills, .545, two blocks), who was dominant all night in leading the Texas attack with slide after slide, and a Kansas attack error to end the set at 25-23.
In the second, Kansas got a lift from the return of Rigdon after she missed the last three matches (and first set in this one). In the first go around, Rigdon led Kansas with 20 kills in the five-set loss in Lawrence. She also posted 11 digs, but maybe nothing was more impressive than her nine kills in a fifth set that was an 18-16 Texas win. Sure enough, Rigdon made an immediate impact with three kills in the set as a 14-10 Texas lead quick turned with a 6-0 Kansas run. Eventually with things tied at 19, one of those three Rigdon kills occurred to put the Jayhawks back in front 20-19. She would wind up with eight kills on a .304 mark and five digs in her two sets of action. That would be the last Jayhawks’ lead in the set though, as a 3-0 run switched it to Texas and was carried to 25-22.
In the third, things crumbled apart for Kansas as Texas went on a 12-3 run to go in front 21-11. From there, they coasted to the finish line as Micaya White (12 kills, .323, 11 digs) put down the final kill for the 25-16 set win and a 3-0 sweep of the Jayhawks.
Both teams served aggressively, but struggled with accuracy as Texas had just two aces to zero from Kansas while the Longhorns totaled 11 serve errors to the Jayhawks’ six. While Kansas did earn the edge in terms of points just on aces/errors, the aggression of Texas attributed to a stronger defense and therefore easier offense.
The Texas offense rolled all night, hitting .337. They were just as impressive defensively in holding Kansas to a .177 clip with eight more digs (50-42) and blocks (6-3). That said, some of those numbers were a bit more lopsided because of the final set.
Individually, beyond the aforementioned names, Texas setter Ashley Shook (42 assists) and libero Cat McCoy (17 digs) were strong. In her final Big 12 trip to her hometown, Kelsie Payne led Kansas with 13 kills and was held to a .162 mark. Jada Burse came close to double-digit kills with nine as she hit .238 and added a pair of blocks. Ainise Havili (32 assists) and Allie Nelson (18 digs) also added strong totals.
Moving forward, the Longhorns get the rest of the week off to get ready for senior night with Oklahoma and then a big one as they head to Waco to face the red-hot Baylor Bears. Kansas meanwhile will stay in the Lone Star state as they prepare for a match at Texas Tech on Friday.
Courtesy of Texas:
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.
Seniors Mirta Baselovic, Cat McCoy, Chiaka Ogbogu, and Ebony Nwanebu will be honored after the match.
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.
Courtesy of Kansas:
AUSTIN, Texas – On Wednesday night in Gregory Gymnasium the Big 12 Conference championship baton was passed from Kansas to Texas as the 16th-ranked Jayhawks lost to the second-ranked Longhorns, 3-0 (25-23, 25-22, 25-16).
UT’s win over the 2016 Big 12 champion Jayhawks gives the Longhorns (22-2, 14-0 Big 12) at least a share of the 2017 Big 12 title. Kansas and Texas account for the last seven conference championships.
Kansas (21-6, 10-4 Big 12) was led by senior right-side hitter Kelsie Payne‘s 13 kills and sophomore libero Allie Nelson‘s 18 digs. Senior outside hitter Madison Rigdon returned from injury to post eight kills on a .304 hitting percentage with five digs in two sets played in her six-rotation role.
Texas recorded a .337 hitting percentage on the night, led by Chiaka Ogbogu‘s 14 kills on a .545 clip. Micaya White registered a double-double of 12 kills and 11 digs for the Longhorns.
Kansas overcame deficits in the first and second sets, despite losing by a slim margin in both.
Trailing by six in the first set, 19-13, Kansas rallied with a 10-4 run to tie the set at 23. Texas finished the first set with a kill by Ogbogu and a KU attacking error to capture the last two points for the 25-23 win. Payne and sophomore outside hitter Jada Burse led Kansas’ first-set surge with five kills each to open the match.
Rigdon checked in for the first time of the contest in the second set and didn’t waste any time contributing, adding four kills and three digs during her first set played in the last four matches. Kansas overcame a 12-7 Texas lead with a 6-0 run, which tied the set at 14. KU’s second-set run was sparked by back-to-back kills by Rigdon and a successful joust at the net by senior middle blocker Taylor Alexander.
Kansas reached 20 points first in the second set, 20-19, but the Longhorns finished the second set on a 6-2 run to take the set, 25-22.
The Jayhawks and Longhorns played to a match-high seven tied scores in the third set before UT broke out to a commanding 16-9 lead and eventually clinching the match, 25-16.
Consecutive losses to No. 23 Baylor on Saturday and No. 2 Texas on Wednesday mark the first time since 2014 that Kansas has lost back-to-back matches.
Kansas travels directly from Austin to Lubbock to face Texas Tech on Friday, Nov. 17 (6 p.m.).