For the first time in Big 12 play, Texas got out the brooms.
Micaya White contributed 13 kills, but it was Morgan Johnson’s career night that sparked Texas to a 3-0 win over TCU in its gym on Wednesday. Texas moved to 7-0 in the Big 12 standings with the victory, but Wednesday’s 25-23, 25-21, 25-17 conquest was this season’s first sweep of a conference opponent for the nation’s second-ranked team.
“The conference is getting tougher each year, so all the competition is pretty hard,” Texas libero Cat McCoy said. “Getting our first sweep, I think it says a lot about how we’re growing as a team.”
Wednesday’s victory was the Longhorns’ 14th straight in conference play, which is a streak that began following TCU’s 2015 sweep of Texas in Fort Worth. The Horned Frogs (10-8; 3-5 in Big 12) kept with Texas over the first two sets at Gregory Gym — even fighting off four set points in the first frame — but Texas pulled away in the third set.
A Texas squad that recorded nine team blocks held TCU to a .116 hitting percentage, and no Horned Frog exceeded eight kills. The Longhorns were only a week removed from limiting Baylor to a .136 hitting percentage in a 3-1 win.
“In practice, we’ve just been talking about going back to the basics and keeping it pretty simple,” said McCoy, a junior who tallied 19 digs. “At the beginning of year, we’ve had games where we’ve been all of the place (with our digs)… so we were trying to go back to the basics on that.”
White led all players with her 13 kills, and senior Paulina Prieto Cerame picked up five of her 10 kills in the opening set. The night, though, belonged to Johnson.
A 6-3 sophomore middle blocker from DeSoto, Johnson recorded six blocks and a career-high 10 kills. Texas coach Jerritt Elliott challenged Johnson to become more involved in the offense after Wednesday’s opening game, and eight of her kills were recorded over the second and third sets. Appropriately, the evening’s final point was scored on a Johnson kill.
“He really lit a fire under me, challenging me,” Johnson said.
Johnson had not exceeded five kills since a 3-1 win over Wichita State on Sept. 10. Her six blocks were two shy of a career mark that she set in a five-set match in 2015.
“I’ve been probably riding her more than any player in practice, just making sure that she’s grinding and going and getting herself ready,” Elliott said. “I’m not always well-liked, but I think these kind of results are worth it for her and for our team. It was a big key for our win tonight.
Texas (15-2) will travel to Texas Tech on Friday before returning home to face Oklahoma on Oct. 26.