Senior Paulina Prieto Cerame had a team-high 17 kills and freshman Micaya White added 15 kills and seven digs as seventh-ranked Texas fought off No. 25 Kansas State in a 25-10, 25-15, 20-25, 25-17 victory Saturday night at Gregory Gym.
Texas (21-4, 13-2 Big 12) followed a midweek sweep of Texas Tech with another strong performance at home, giving coach Jerritt Elliott his 400th win since taking over the program in 2001.
“I wasn’t aware of it,” Elliott said. “It’s always nice. I hope I can get a couple hundred more here at Texas.”
An energetic Texas squad cruised through the first two sets, never trailing. Kansas State (19-9, 8-7), who has lost 27 straight meetings against the Longhorns since its last win in 2003, committed eight attacking errors and hit -.030 in the opening set.
The Wildcats slightly improved in the second set, but so did the Longhorns. Texas opened on a 15-8 run, capped by one of Ebony Nwanebu’s 10 kills on the night. White killed five of her six attempts as Texas hit .714, leading by as many as 10 at one point.
A competitive third set featured six ties as Kansas State fought off the sweep. The Wildcats took a 9-8 lead on a kill from Katie Brand, which would be the only lead change of the set. Brand finished with six kills and a team-high 36 assists.
“I think we’re playing some of our best volleyball right now,” Elliott said. “We just took a little break from the defensive side in game three and let them hit .586. That can’t happen.”
The Wildcats committed seven of their 22 attacking errors in the deciding set. Texas started the set on a 19-9 run that brought the Gregory Gym crowd to its feet. Kansas State tried to rally, drawing within 24-17 before Kylee Zumach served into the net to end the match. The Longhorns held Kansas State to a .195 hitting percentage, after limiting Texas Tech to a .135 hitting percentage earlier in the week.
With the win, Texas remains one game behind Kansas in the conference standings. The Longhorns will honor their seniors next Saturday at 1 p.m. as they close out the regular season against West Virginia inside Gregory Gym.
“I hope I don’t cry,” Prieto Cerame said.
“It’s not our last game in Gregory,” added senior Nicole Dalton, who finished with eight digs.
Texas will host the first two rounds of the NCAA Tournament on Dec. 2 and 3. Seeding will be announced Nov. 27.
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