Volleyball opens preseason training
Aug. 10, 2009
AUSTIN, Texas -- When the Texas Volleyball team convened for the first day of preseason practice on Monday, it sort of felt like the Longhorns never left. Because they never did.
After the Longhorns concluded a beach practice last spring, captain Ashley Engle directed the team huddle, and they knew they needed to make a decision.
“How serious are we about winning a national championship?” Engle asked.
And right then and there, the entire team decided voluntarily to take summer classes and spend their offseason working and bonding together on campus. They endured 6 a.m. workouts four days a week.
“Staying this summer is probably one of the best decisions we’ve made as a team,” Engle said. “It was a huge commitment and sacrifice for a lot of people. Staying away from your families is difficult. But you can tell that our speed and strength has improved so much.
“We all knew that staying this summer and continuing to work together would do nothing but help us get to that goal of being the best.”
So when head coach Jerritt Elliott got his first look at the Longhorns on Monday, he was able to focus on ball touches, and all the little things the team needs to do to get into the flow before the season opener on Aug. 29.
“They want to be really good,” Elliott said. “They’re more physical. They’re just in really good shape. The mentality is good because of what they’ve done up to this point.”
The Longhorns enter the 2009 campaign ranked No. 2 nationally in the Volleyball Magazine Preseason Top 20 poll. UT will take on six of the preseason Top 20 teams eight times this season.
In preparation of the looming test, the Longhorns opened practice with focus. UT is holding the first week of preseason training off campus for the first time under Elliott, and the first day called for an early practice session, a weight training session, some yoga and another evening practice session.
“It was intense, and everyone on the court worked well together,” freshman Bailey Webster said.