Sophomore Micaya White boarded the team plane in Lawrence, Kansas, on Wednesday at 11:30 p.m., eager to get back home.
White was spent. Her team had just earned one of its toughest victories of the season, defeating No. 9 Kansas on the road, 3-2. The Longhorns entered the match on a streak of three-straight 3-0 sweeps, each reaching a swift conclusion in no less than an hour and a half.
But this one was different. Texas found itself on the ropes after dropping two of the first three sets against the Jayhawks. The Longhorns didn’t break, though, winning the fourth set in a commanding fashion, 25-10, before closing things out in a tight fifth set, 18-16. The match lasted almost two and a half hours.
“We weren’t perfect,” White said. “But we didn’t let the crowd or what (Kansas) did affect how we played. It helped out in the long run.”
Now, after back-to-back road matches, it’s time to return to Austin. But Texas had much more than just a late-night flight ahead of it. The Longhorns knew they’d have to recoup quickly and prepare for a date with No. 23 Iowa State on Saturday.
“What fans don’t understand is that the daily schedule of a student athlete is very tough,” head coach Jerritt Elliott said. “We’ll shorten up practice dramatically and get them what they need to be ready for Saturday, not only physically but mentally.”
It was 2:20 in the morning when White got back to her apartment, the statement win still fresh on her mind. She had her first class in just seven hours, but sleep was top priority at the moment. She’d need it for the coming days.
Taking down the Cyclones is always a tall task. The teams split their two-game series last season, the most recent going to Iowa State in Ames, Iowa.
Now it’s Texas’ turn to play host, and the Longhorns have no plans to let the Cyclones leave the 40 Acres with a win.
“(Iowa State) gets better and better every year, so I’m excited to play them,” White said. “We just need to come out strong, follow the game plan and bring home the dub.”