Volleyball vaults up to No. 7 in polls
AUSTIN, Texas -- After handing top-ranked and previously undefeated Nebraska its first loss of the season on Saturday, the Texas Volleyball team made its biggest gain of the season in the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) poll when the latest version was released on Monday.
Texas (23-4, 17-3 Big 12) jumped four spots from No. 11 to No. 7, marking the team's highest ranking of the season.
Additionally, the number seven ranking is also the program's highest AVCA ranking since Sept. 27, 1999, when the Longhorns were also ranked seventh after opening the season 8-2 with their only losses coming at second-ranked Penn State. That one-week ranking was the team's highest of the season that year.
UT began the 2005 season ranked No. 11 in the preseason poll, but fell to No. 17 after a loss at then unranked Notre Dame in the season's opening weekend. UT fell again to No. 23 two weeks later after a loss at unranked Iowa State, but after that, started a slow climb back up the poll.
The Longhorns went seven weeks (Sept. 26 through Nov. 7) of gradual upward movement before cracking the top 10 on Nov. 14 while riding a seven-match winning streak. UT dipped one spot last week to No. 11 after a road loss to then-No. 11 Missouri that snapped the Horns' nine-match winning streak.
UT finished in second place in the Big 12 standings for the second year in a row, improving its record by one win from 2004 (16-4).
In 2004, Texas started the season unranked, but cracked the top 25 the third week of the season when they started the year 12-0. After a 3-1 victory at then No. 5 Florida, UT jumped up to No. 11. For the rest of the season, the Longhorns hovered around the end of the top 10, moving as high as No. 9 before earning a final ranking of No. 11 at the conclusion of the NCAA Tournament.
The seventh-ranked Longhorns begin play in the NCAA Tournament on Friday, Dec. 2, when they host LSU at 7 p.m. at Gregory Gym. No. 7 Hawaii, which is tied with Texas in the latest poll, takes on Texas State at 5 p.m., immediately preceding the UT-LSU match. The winners of those two matches will face off for the right to advance to the University Park Regional, hosted by Penn State the following weekend.