Photo: SARA DIGGINS/AMERICAN-STATESMAN / USA TODAY NETWORK
The difference in today’s team performances was a seasoned #2 Stanford which largely retained their 2022 roster versus a national championship team adapting to losing players in key positions. The Longhorns have incredibly talented and promising freshmen starting in both libero and setting positions, but in a high-intensity team sport, building communication and a seamless rhythm among new and old in order to be effective is a process.
Even though the Cardinal committed 14 service errors and the Longhorns limited theirs to three, the Longhorns’ hitting efficiency was 0.130 – a stunningly low percentage when in 2022 the team average was 0.336 – and today, Stanford was at 0.396. Texas was unable to optimize any of their opponents mistakes only earning 34 kills to 47 by the Cardinal; moreover, the Longhorns made 20 attack errors. Defensively, Texas also lagged, with only six blocks to 11 for Stanford and 38 digs to their 44.
The Longhorns have a nice homestretch ahead, giving them time to work through the mechanics and team fundamentals. Following their match with Florida Gulf Coast University this Friday, they will host three top twenty games on the 40 Acres against #18 Rice (9/11), #12 Ohio State (9/14) and #17 Washington State (9/15). The pressure for the defending champions to notch more wins against ranked teams before conference play begins on September 22 is high.