The No. 1 Texas Longhorns withstood the challenge and took down Minnesota 3-1 (26-24, 25-21, 21-25, 25-22) on the Gophers’ home court on Wednesday night. The Longhorns won the fourth set in another close battle.
The end of the fourth set certainly had us all on the edge of our seats. The set was tied at 18, then tied at 20, before the Longhorns notched three in a row with an Eggleston block and Philips kill and to take a 23-20 lead. Philips has been an unbelievable weapon for the Longhorns tonight, posting a career high 13 kills on .458 hitting.
Minnesota responded immediately though with a Samedy kill and big time block on Eggleston to get right back into it. But a Minnesota service error and another rocket from Eggleston sealed the deal for the No. 1 Longhorns.
What started out as a messy match turned into a high-caliber volleyball battle that we have all been looking forward to. The Gophers rose to the challenge and improved as the match went on against the experienced Longhorns roster. The Gophers have some new components to their team, and head coach Hugh McCutcheon must be happy with the way his team battled against the No. 1 team in the nation. If anything, this proved the Gophers will be a force to be reckoned with this season. They loaded their non-conference schedule for this very reason: rising to the occasion, learning from mistakes, getting tested against good teams.
Stephanie Samedy notched 21 kills on .236 hitting. She improved as the match went on. The duo of sophomore standouts Taylor Landfair and Jenna Wenaas posted 11 kills apiece.
For the Longhorns, Eggleston led with 17 kills. Skylar Fields came up big down the stretch with 14 kills after twisting her ankle earlier, Phillips had a career-high match, and Brionne Butler added nine kills and was a crucial aspect of their high-performing offense towards the end of the match.
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