After earning a victory on senior day against Oklahoma on Wednesday, the Longhorns took to the road for their season finale on Saturday afternoon, facing off against No. 18 Baylor in Waco.
Texas stole the show on the Bears’ senior day festivities, ending the regular season in style with a four-set victory.
Baylor opened the floodgates early, starting off the first set with an 11-2 advantage. However, the Longhorns stayed the course and came back to take the set 27-25.
Two of Texas’ seniors, Chiaka Ogbogu and Ebony Nwanebu, played a big part in mounting the comeback. The duo combined for 26 kills over the course of the match.
“I think the majority of the time we were trying to play catch up,” senior outside hitter Ebony Nwanebu said. “I’m really proud of how we came back and kept pushing.”
The second set saw Baylor go neck-and-neck with Texas through the majority of the set. With both teams deadlocked at 20, the Bears strung together a 5-1 run to close the set out.
The Longhorns once again played a close third set, playing to a tie game at 21. They followed that with a 4-2 run to close out the set, topped of by a pre-serve error that gave Texas the set.
The fourth set saw the scales tip heavily in favor of the Longhorns, as they opened the floodgates with a 8-0 run and never looked back to claim the match.
“We set the tone for how we wanted to finish it,” Nwanebu said. “I think we executed that very well.”
This game saw Texas notch four players with double-digit kills, emphasizing a strong team effort in defeating a top-25 team on the road. At the end of the afternoon, the Longhorns were outright Big-12 champs.
Apart from the numbers, it was the point-at-a-time mentality that powered Texas through to the finish line. With a stout senior leadership core, the younger players always have someone to turn to in the huddle after each point.
“I’m really proud of Chiaka (Ogbogu),” Nwanebu said. “She told us that we were going to win, and if she saw someone’s face drop, she made sure that it changed.”
With the regular season wrapped up, Texas will take a 18-game win streak into the postseason, being one of two teams in the country with a perfect conference record.
Texas’ postseason positioning is up to the NCAA selection committee, who will determine whether or not Texas and Gregory Gym will host the first two rounds of the NCAA Tournament.
Despite only two losses on the season, there is still a question mark surrounding the Longhorns’ seeding among coaches and players alike.
“Hopefully we get to host, but you never know,” Nwanebu said. “We’re always prepared for anything.”
The Longhorns won’t have to play the waiting game for long. The NCAA Tournament selection show is slated to set up the bracket at 8 p.m. on Sunday before tournament action kicks off on Nov. 30.