Texas Upsets Nebraska To End Big 12 Rivalry On Top

Jen Doris and Michelle Kocher celebrateIt was like any match between Texas volleyball and its nemesis Nebraska — a classic.

The No. 10 Texas Longhorns, riding a six-match winning streak and determined to finish their storied Big 12 rivalry with the Cornhuskers with a win, surprised No. 2 Nebraska with a 3-1 victory in Gregory Gym.

But unlike all the previous showdowns over the last 14 years, this one was about going-away bragging rights. Who would win the final Big 12 conference matchup?

Nebraska pummeled the Horns earlier this year in Lincoln, and tonight it was clear from the start that Texas had something to prove.

The Horns came out aggressive and sharp, kept Nebraska out of system and out of rhythm, and forced the Cornhuskers to make uncharacteristic errors.

Junior setter Michelle Kocher was as cool as the other side of the pillow. She never got rattled and distributed the ball masterfully to Texas’ hitters. The Big 12 Player of the Week was, in a word, outstanding.

With Kocher’s experience and calm leading the way, Texas won the first two sets handily, 25-15 and 25-19. The burnt orange had all the momentum.

But you could tell as the teams went into the locker rooms that the fight was far from over. Nebraska has not won in Gregory Gym since 2006, and its seniors weren’t about to mail this one in.

A different Nebraska team emerged from that locker room — the real one. All powerful and fearless, aggressive and unwavering. The one on an 18-match winning streak.

They outlasted the Horns to win the third set 27-25 and force a fourth, which itself went down to the wire.

In the end, it was Texas senior Juliann Faucette who came up big for the Horns with a thunderous kill to stop a Nebraska run.

Texas closed out the fourth set with a kill by Amber Roberson to win 27-25 and take the match.

“I wasn’t thinking about being a senior tonight,” Faucette said. “I was just thinking about winning. It feels really good to pull out a win.”

The victory keeps Texas in contention for the Big 12 Championship but still one match behind Nebraska.

Head coach Jerritt Elliott said after the match he was proud of his team.

“We found a way to win with our back against the wall,” he said. “When your team fights like this, you’re really pleased. It makes me excited to get back in the gym.”

Top: Jennifer Doris and Michelle Kocher celebrate after winning a point. Above: Texas huddles during the match. Photos courtesy of UT Athletics


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