Texas outside hitter Ebony Nwanebu came off the bench Wednesday night to provide a spark in the 25-20, 25-18, 25-15 volleyball romp at Texas A&M.
Nwanebu registered two blocks and recorded five kills on 14 swings, including the clinching kills in the second and third sets.
UT’s 74th victory in 97 tries against the Aggies came five days after the Longhorns were beaten in four sets by No. 1 Minnesota. Nwanebu had 10 error-less swings in the first set of that match, but recorded no kills. She didn’t return after being replacing in the second set by Yaazie Bedart-Ghani, whom Nwanebu has battled with for playing time this fall.
Texas coach Jerritt Elliott said Nwanebu “took some good swings the last match as well, she just didn’t score.” Elliott predicted Nwanebu would continue to improve this season. The 6-4 senior from Fairview also is looking forward.
An All-American honoree at both Texas and USC, Nwanebu is averaging 2.24 kills per set. She led the Big 12 in hitting percentage last year and has only three attacking errors on 100 attempts.
“I kind of tried to put things in the past and not really think,” she said. “Tonight I just put everything that’s been going on behind me and tried to look towards the match and what I know I can do. I think that kind of worked for me tonight.”
Home-course advantage: UT’s cross-country team was set to host the Texas Invitational on Thursday night. The race was a six-kilometer run for the men and a four-kilometer competition for the women, and it was to be held at Old Settlers Park in Round Rock. That’s also the site of the Big 12’s championship meet on Oct. 28.
Thursday’s race gave Texas and its guests from TCU and Texas Tech an initial look at the championship course. UT coach Brad Herbster said this would be his team’s first trip to Old Settlers Park this season, although the Longhorns will get to practice on it a few times in the upcoming weeks. Many of the team’s runners raised in Texas — including Alex Rogers, Sam Worley and Mary Beth Hamilton — have run at the park, which also hosts the UIL state high school championships.
So, Texas will have a home-field advantage come late October, right?
Hold your horses, Herbster said. The collegiate course at Old Settlers Park is laid out in a two-kilometer loop. (The men will run four laps at the Big 12 meet, while the women will run three). The short design makes for a basic scouting report.
“What it is is what it is,” Herbster said. “There’s not a lot of hills on it. There might be a nook or cranny somewhere you can pick up a meter or two meters or five seconds or 10 seconds. That’s why we’re excited to race it and see where those hidden gems are.”
Conference tune-up: Following a 7-0 start to its season, UT’s soccer team is ranked 21st in this week’s United Soccer Coaches poll. Texas was joined by No. 6 West Virginia and No. 14 Oklahoma State in the USC poll. Kansas has also been ranked this year.
With ranked teams awaiting on its Big 12 schedule, coach Angela Kelly was pleased with the Longhorns’ performance this past weekend. On Friday, UT posted a 3-0 win over a Colorado team that was ranked 25th. Two days later, UT handed Northeastern a 3-2 overtime loss; Northeastern is only 5-3, but the Huskies did win the Colonial Athletic Association’s championship last year.
“That’s going to be like playing Texas Tech and West Virginia,” Kelly said. “Lots of quality in our conference, so we schedule these types of weekends on the road and at home so that we can see a kind of combination that we would see during conference.”
Texas hosts Iowa State and West Virginia next weekend.