Texas took a big step toward its goal of winning its fourth Big 12 title in the last five years by defeating Iowa State in straight sets (25-14, 28-26, 25-21).
The No. 9 Longhorns (17-4, 8-1 Big 12) moved into sole possession of first place in the conference with their second defeat of the No. 14 Cyclones (15-4, 8-2 Big 12) this season.
“I think going in, we both knew that we were tied for first place. Our goal, first off, was to win Big 12,” said freshman Hayley Eckerman. “So to get past Iowa State was to get another step closer to [winning] the Big 12. So we knew that we had to go in thinking that they were going to be a tough team.”
Texas set the tone early, winning the first set in dominating fashion 25-14 — spurred on by a 14-3 run in the middle of the set to put it away for good.
The second set was much closer, with both teams fighting hard for every point. Texas was up in the set 24-21, but Iowa State clawed back to tie it on three different occasions. The Longhorns were finally able to put it away with a Khat Bell kill and an Eckerman ace.
The last set was more comfortable; the team came out firing and never relinquished the lead, winning the set 25-21.
Compared to their last game against the Cylcones, in which they had to go to five sets, this one was easy for the Longhorns.
“We’re getting a lot better,” said sophomore Bailey Webster. “We’re a totally different team from the beginning of the season, and it’s a good thing. Not that we weren’t good in the beginning, but we were still trying to find ourselves, in the simplest terms.”
“Now, we’re getting our groove, and we know what we want to do, and we can say, ‘We want to win this game. Let’s go out and do the things that we want to do to win the game.’ We weren’t able to execute that in the beginning of the season,” she said.
Printed on Monday, October 31, 2011 as: Horns sweep Cyclones, sit at first in conference