Senior outside hitter Chiaka Ogbogu rose above the net and recorded her tenth kill of the game on Saturday night, putting an exclamation point on the Longhorns’ victory and west coast road trip.
The Longhorns bid California farewell after claiming a three-game sweep at the USD tournament, defeating Villanova, Georgia Tech, and then-No. 17 San Diego in the process.
“We’ve been tested three times already,” head coach Jerritt Elliott said. “Starting the season is always challenging, (and) we’ve really (tried) to put them in difficult situations and that first weekend really put us in a position to respond.”
Texas started off the weekend with a 3-0 sweep of Villanova, a match in which freshman Ashley Shook led the team with 22 assists and junior Yaasmeen Bedart-Ghani bounced back with .600 hitting percentage on a team-high seven kills.
With her continued success this weekend, Shook proved that she won’t have a steep learning curve as the season progresses. Elliott said he feels that the sky’s the limit for Shook.
“I think Ashley is starting to get really comfortable in the system,” Elliott said. “She’s not a true freshman in terms of the dialogue that we can have from player to coach.”
Saturday featured a doubleheader for the Texas, as it got its second sweep of the tournament against Georgia Tech and earned a 3-1 victory to upend No. 17 San Diego.
In Saturday’s bouts, Texas sported its depth with contributions coming from all players.
Senior libero Cat McCoy continued to lead the team in digs, posting 11 in the match against Georgia Tech and 13 against the Toreros. Ogbogu added 10 kills in the final game, including the clincher in the final set.
“The rest of the team is starting to figure out their roles and how we can utilize them,” Elliott said. “The numbers just continue to grow both on the offensive side and defensive side.”
Although this was business trip for the Longhorns, the California slate was also a homecoming for some, including freshman Lexi Sun. The Golden State native earned Most Valuable Player honors at the tournament, leading the Longhorns in kills.
“Going back to California is always nice,” Elliott said. “It allowed our players to have some time with their families, and we got to have a nice dinner at the Sun’s house and spend some quality time with them.”
With this quick three game sprint under its belt, Texas (4-1) has plenty of momentum at its backs ahead of the first home games of the season.
“To come home is going to be really nice for our players,” Elliott said. “I think this team deserves this, and it’ll certainly be a lot of fun.”
The Longhorns next set of matches will be in the American Campus Classic, where they will face off against Texas A&M - Corpus Christi, Denver and No. 1 Minnesota. The tournament will be played at Gregory Gymnasium starting on Sept. 7.