Ebony Nwanebu had 20 kills as the second-ranked Texas volleyball team opened its season with a four-set victory over Oregon (25-17, 25-19, 17-25, 25-19) Friday night at the Vert Challenge in Eugene, Oregon.
Nwanebu hit .348 for the match and scored a double-double with 13 digs. Texas senior Paulina Prieto Cerame had 16 kills and freshman Micaya White notched 14 kills in her collegiate debut. UT’s Cat McCoy led the defense with 16 digs and Dripping Springs grad Autumn Rounsaville had 11 digs.
Ronika Stone and Lindsey Vander Weide led Oregon with 12 kills apiece. The Longhorns out-hit Oregon .285 to .207 in the two programs’ first clash since the 2012 national title match.
The Longhorns scored six-straight points early in the first set to take a 10-4 lead. The Ducks managed to make it a three-point game at 18-15, but Cerame and Nwanebu knocked down a pair of kills that gave Texas a 20-15 edge and the Longhorns went on to win the set 25-17. Texas hit .455 in the first set and held the Ducks to .258.
White hit back-to-back kills during a 5-1 run in the second set that gave Texas a 17-15 lead. Nwanebu scored three of Texas’ final five points, including the set-winner at 25-19.
The Ducks fought back in the third set, winning eight of the last 12 points to push the match into a fourth set.
Texas started the fourth set on a 8-3 run and stretched the lead to 17-10 after two kills by White. The Longhorns held off a late rally by the Ducks and won the set 25-19.
The Longhorns will play top-ranked Nebraska on Saturday in a rematch of last season’s national championship match.
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