It happened early in the season against #2 Penn State. Tonight it happened again. The Texas volleyball team had #1 Nebraska by the throat, 3 points from victory in a 5-game thriller, and just couldn't seal the deal. Nebraska prevailed, 27-30, 30-22, 22-30, 30-22, 15-13.
The key to the loss was a bad night for two of our most reliable players, Michelle Moriarty and Ashley Engle. Michelle had a rough night setting, and as a result our hitters were out of position on their attacks. Ashley had an off night (they haven't posted her stats yet, but I'm sure she had a sub-.200 attack percentage) and she made a critical error at 13-all that sealed the deal for Nebraska.
There were some bright spots in this heart-breaking loss. No other team has taken Nebraska to 5 games this year. Texas dominated the Huskers in game 3, and showed regular flashes of brilliance as they demolished the Huskers 30-22. And Destinee Hooker was lights out. She single-handedly kept the Horns in this match with thunderous kill after kill, including a facial on the best player in the country, Sarah Pavan.
The other bright spot was the fan support tonight. There were 3800 fans in attendance, about 3 times the normal number. And for once, the Husker fans in red were completely drowned out throughout the match. That bodes well for Texas in the post-season. There's a chance we may get first and second round matches assigned to Gregory, and we are confirmed as a host for the third and fourth rounds. So if we can just take care of business in our regional, Texas should have strong fan support in the Sweet Sixteen and Elite Eight matches.
Definetly not the way I had hoped this night would end. But the team has no time to mourn. #23 Oklahoma comes to town on Saturday, and they are shockingly still ahead of the Horns in Big XII standings. OU swept the #12 Missouri Tigers tonight to stay solidly in 2nd place, while Texas is now tied with the Tigers at 7-3.