AUSTIN, Texas -- Texas Volleyball got its first look at its 2006 team when the team opened its spring exhibition season on Saturday, March 25. The Longhorns won all three matches it played at the Texas Challenge, hosted by the Horns at Gregory Gym.
In the first match, UT topped UT-San Antonio, 30-16, 30-16, 30-15, before going on to defeat SMU, 30-25, 30-15, 15-6 in the second match. The Longhorns closed out the round-robin tournament with a 30-16, 30-15, 30-14 win over Houston.
Texas, which returns all six starters and the team's libero next season, also welcomed two newcomers to the court on Saturday as freshman Destinee Hooker and redshirt freshman RuthAnn Feist began their college careers. The team that took the floor on Saturday was the exact team that will take the floor in 2006, minus incoming freshman Ashley Engle, who will join the team in preseason practices in August.
"For our first week back from spring break and introducing a new system, the team played at a high level at times," Texas head coach Jerritt Elliott said after the matches. "We will continue to work on our blocking and team systems as we progress through the spring season.
"Some of our younger players made good impressions and our veterans continue to set the tone for the team. The spring season is about improving and getting ready for the fall, and we've made some nice strides already," Elliott continued.
The Longhorns will continue the fall season at the Texas Tornados College Spring Tournament, April 14-15, where the team will face New Mexico State and national power Florida, among others. Baylor, Oklahoma, SMU, TCU, Texas State, Houston, Texas Tech and Rice are also scheduled to participate.
The New Mexico State tilt is the feature match on Friday, April 14, and will be played at 6:30 p.m. The tournament will be played at the Texas Tornados Training facility, which is located at 8835 Wheat Cross Drive in Houston.