TEXAS LONGHORNS

No. 6 Texas opens Big 12 play with win over Iowa State

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When one of their teammates went down, the No. 6 Texas volleyball team took their play to another level.

When All-American Logan Eggleston left the game after taking a hard fall early in the fourth set, senior Orie Agbaji jumped on an exercise bike and so after took her spot on the court, helping the Longhorns open Big 12 play with a 3-1 (25-18, 18-25, 25-19, 25-22) win over Iowa State on Thursday night.

"I think my position on the team, even though I'm not in a starting role or playing as much, I'm still here to provide for the team and do whatever it takes," Agbaji said. "When my number is called, I'm on ready to go and do whatever the team needs."

It was just the second appearance of the season for the senior outside hitter from Kansas City, who finished with two kills. She played two sets in the Longhorns' win over Wichita State on Sept. 14.

"It's kind of one of those things you can't focus on," sophomore setter Jhenna Gabriel said. "It's uncontrollable. Orie came in and did an amazing job and we found our rhythm again and put the game away."

Freshman Skylar Fields tied her career-high with 15 kills. Senior Micaya White recorded her fifth double-double of the season with 19 kills and ten digs in addition to a pair of blocks and one ace.

Eggleston finished with ten kills and seven digs, and freshman Molly Phillips had seven kills on 10 total attempts in addition to three blocks. Gabriel led Texas defensively with 44 assists, eight digs, and one ace

"It was a challenging win," Texas head coach Jerritt Elliott said. "We weren't in rhythm all night. But overall we did a nice job. A gritty win when things aren't going well. That's what has to happen. I'm pleased with that."

White and Eggleston each had four kills in the first set, and the Longhorns took down the Cyclones 25-18 in the first set. But Texas committed seven attack errors and two service errors to let Iowa State win the second set.

Fields took over in the third set, finishing with nine kills on 12 total attempts to help the Longhorns regain the lead.

White led the stat line for Texas in the decisive fourth set, knocking down seven kills to help secure the team's ninth straight win in Big 12 openers.

"Our defense has to get better," Elliott said. "We've been spending some time on it and trying to get better. We've got a lot of young blockers up there and we're reaching really high and getting tooled. It got better as the match went along."

Sophomore middle blocker Brionne Butler - who led the team in blocks last season - and junior setter Ashley Shook each saw the court for the first time this season.

The defending conference champions host Texas Tech at Gregory Gym Saturday at 1 p.m. before hitting the road for back-to-back conference games at TCU and Kansas State. The Longhorns host Oklahoma on Oct. 15.

The message from the seniors about the gauntlet is simple.

"Strap in," Agbaji said. "Every team is going to give us their best game every night. You have to be ready to go an be ready to play any team."

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