Just two weeks ago, question marks were popping up for the Longhorns.
Changes in rotation and serving were among just a few of them, but the past couple of games following Texas’ series with Stanford have helped erase some of the doubt.
With a 3-0 sweep (25-18, 25-15, 25-19) of West Virginia in assertive fashion, the No. 4 Longhorns won their third straight game and second consecutive on the road. A new rotation and emphasis on new players led Texas to a decisive victory Saturday afternoon.
Texas started off hot, closing the first set on a 10-3 tear to break the 15-15 deadlock. The second set saw more of the same, with the Longhorns dominating from the start to push the Mountaineers to the brink.
A big part of this surge from Texas was the contribution from redshirt freshman Brionne Butler. She had 10 kills, six digs and four block assists, showcasing her multifaceted skill set and ability to play any part of the court including her favorite: the middle.
“I think it’s (serving) is really something that I have to start embracing,” Butler said. “Middle is definitely my comfort zone, but ideally, I’d like to be outside.”
Texas also got another strong performance from outside hitter Micaya White, who had a team-high 14 kills and 3 digs on the day. White, who had been working on a different serve during the team’s time off, had only one service error on the afternoon.
This improvement, along with using Butler in a variety of positions, has helped the Longhorns become a more dominant squad and avoid beating themselves. That’s how Texas rattled off an 8-0 run to turn a two-point deficit in its favor and close out the set and match.
“We just focus our minds on the next game and not too much on the past,” Butler said. “We have a really good character, we’re still building on it, but that’s part of the journey.”
The Longhorns begin a tough stretch with four of their next six games on the road, and according to head coach Jerritt Elliott, the team might endure some growing pains.
“We’ve got an opportunity to work on some things that we’ve seen that we’ve needed,” Elliott said. “We’re young … so we just have to learn to play clean for longer periods of time.”
Texas will have until Wednesday to catch its breath before traveling to Fort Worth for a duel at TCU with first serve set for 8 p.m. on Wednesday.