Bitmojis bring out the best in people.
For the No. 5 Longhorns, bitmojis brought out their best performance Wednesday night. Texas took care of business on “Bitmoji Night” against Baylor in a 3-0 sweep at Gregory Gym. With five players each accounting for over six kills, the Longhorns used solid setting and a relentless attack to put the Bears to sleep.
“We’ve been trying to get our groove down (and) get the right set,” freshman outside hitter Lexi Sun said. “Tonight really showed all the hard work (we’ve put in) so far.”
Both teams played a scrappy first set with hitting percentages below .110, but the Longhorns won most of the 50-50 balls and clung to a four-point lead during the set. And with a couple of floaters over the net, Texas caught Baylor off guard and grabbed control early with a 25-19 win in the first frame.
The second set saw Texas take the lead immediately and maintain it throughout the majority of the set. But a late Baylor push got the match to a set point in the Bears’ favor.
“We didn’t panic,” head coach Jerritt Elliott said. “We set back up and continued to play what we were doing.”
Both teams exchanged a pair of points until sophomore outside hitter Micaya White’s kill gave Texas a 28-26 win in the second set, sending Gregory Gym into a frenzy.
The Longhorns flexed their muscles on defense as a strong blocking front stopped several potential Baylor kills. Blocks up front from senior outside hitter Ebony Nwanebu and junior middle blocker Morgan Johnson helped the Longhorns gain separation in clutch situations.
“We focused a lot on being aggressive on defense,” freshman setter Ashley Shook said. “(Our defense) was all communication-based, and that’s where (our success) came from.”
Nwanebu enjoyed a strong night up front and tallied eight kills, contributing to Texas’ .379 clip in the third set.
Texas stormed out of the gate in the third set, building an early six-point lead which it would never cede. White’s kill put an exclamation point on the offensive barrage as Texas cruised to a 25-17 victory in the final frame.
The Longhorns’ sluggish start did raise some questions as struggles on the offensive end were prevalent in the first frame. As the defense carried Texas early on, its attack slowly got going and paved the way to victories in the final two frames.
As Texas enjoyed the victory, it also saw strong contributions from its star freshmen duo of Sun and Shook. Shook posted her sixth double-double of her short career, totaling 31 assists and 15 digs.
“It’s like a dream come true,” Shook said. “I could go anywhere and anyone could get the kill.”
As Texas reaches the halfway point of the season, the team realizes the need for consistency on the offensive end, as one bad night could cost the Longhorns a match.
“We’re getting into a bit more of a tempo and working on that,” Elliott said. “It takes time in building that trust, and we got better and better as the match went on.”
The Longhorns will have a short break before returning to Gregory Gym to take on Kansas State on Saturday.