Asics Classic diary: Alyson Jennings
One of four Longhorns from "the O.C." -- Orange County, Calif., that is -- UT junior libero Alyson Jennings took a few minutes before the team's Friday afternoon practice at Pepperdine's Firestone Fieldhouse to discuss her thoughts on playing near her hometown of Costa Mesa.
Jennings and the Longhorns take on No. 19 Pepperdine at 9:30 p.m. CDT. Live stats links will be available at TexasSports.com and PepperdineSports.com.
We haven't played out here in California since I got here two years ago, so I'm really excited! Ever since I've been here, (head coach) Jerritt (Elliott) said we would play somewhere in southern California, and it's nice to finally get to do it. We have so many California players on the team, so I think it means a lot to everybody to be out here.
We won two great matches last week, but we can't rest on our laurels this weekend. We want to get better and put the wins last weekend behind us. We learned a lot from those matches, but we can't just say, "Oh, we won," and then just relax. It's only the beginning of the season. But, it was really great for us to play -- and win -- in that environment.
Tonight, Pepperdine will have the homecourt advantage. Pepperdine is as tall as we are. We're fast, but we'll have to cover the floor a lot better than we have been. A lot of the rallies will go a lot longer in this match. We match up equally in many ways, so this will be a really good match.
I have a lot of family members coming out to the match tonight, and I will see a lot of people I never get to see this time of year. I will see a bunch of my friends -- at least those who can make it and are still in town.
When I was deciding where to go to college and play volleyball, I was set on going to a Pac-10 Conference school and planning to be near friends and family...until I visited Texas. I just loved it! I fit in perfectly with the coaches, the team and the whole atmosphere.
Austin is a lot like southern California, except for the fact that the beach isn't there. But, I was sold on UT the moment I went on my trip to Austin. The playing environment we have at Gregory Gym is incredible. The support we get at UT is tremendous, day in and day out.
We'll have to compete really well to win tonight, and it will be tough to win in this environment. I think serving and passing will win the match. As long as we come out and compete, we will have a great chance to win.