Streaky play takes No. 3 Volleyball to Big 12 title
Nov. 15, 2012
Natalie England, Texas Media Relations
AUSTIN, Texas - So far, this is the year of the streak for Texas Volleyball.
The third-ranked Longhorns won their 16th-straight match on Wednesday night in a sweep against Texas Tech to clinch the Big 12 Championship outright. That marks UT's second-straight conference title, and the fifth in the last six seasons.
"It is a great honor. It is something we cherish and don't take for granted," head coach Jerritt Elliott said after the match, which saw the Longhorns hit .483 against the Red Raiders.
UT has two conference matches remaining - home against West Virginia on Saturday and at Iowa State on Nov. 24. The Longhorns are currently 14-0 in Big 12 play, but have never finished conference play undefeated since the formation of the Big 12 in 1996. The Longhorns went undefeated in Southwest Conference play nine times.
However, Wednesday night's trophy presentation marked the completion of a goal the Longhorns set back in the summer, as the team captains took control of the team's personality during open gym.
"They started creating a bond and working toward this goal," Elliott said. "It is a tribute to them and the players that came before that created this tradition. We would like to continue it while having respect with how we accomplish it."
Through this unblemished run in conference play, the Longhorns have worked to find a consistent offensive balance and system. UT is hitting .339 as a team against Big 12 opponents, and on Wednesday even presented some formations that would work in NCAA Tournament environments.
For the Longhorns, respect for the day-to-day details, point-by-point scenarios is preparation for the postseason tournament in December. The Longhorns already know that Gregory Gym will be a host site for the NCAA Austin Regional Dec. 7-8, but as one of the top 16 teams in the country, UT is in a prime position to also be selected as a first and second rounds host site.
"Although we have been working on a lot of different things in practice, we are able to show up in a match and find a way to win, then work again at practice," setter Hannah Allison said. "That has been the biggest thing for us because you are able to grow over a period of time when you do that. It is important to get back in the gym and work on things then perform at games."
Allison is averaging 11.4 assists in Big 12 play, and she was a cog in the wheel against Texas Tech with 40 assists. That set up Haley Eckerman for 19 kills and Bailey Webster for 16. Webster also hit a season-high .650 against the Red Raiders. "We want to win against whoever was on the other side of the court, and tonight it happened to be the match that got us the championship," Allison said.