Top teams await Horns in Nike Big Four Classic

Chris Hummer

The Longhorns are coming off of a pair of disappointing straight-set losses to Minnesota last weekend on their first road trip of the season.

With Texas’ tough non-conference schedule there is no rest for the weary, as it might face three top-10 teams in the Nike Big Four Classic this weekend in California.

In order to quickly turn things around from their rough weekend up north, the team has hit the practice court with authority.

“We’re working on a lot of things that we may not have done as well in the Minnesota games. It’s been going really well,” said outside hitter Bailey Webster. “We’ve been really open to the coaches’ feedback and things they’ve been telling us to do … We’ve had some great practices this week so it’s been really exciting. We are looking forward to this weekend.”

The Longhorns have worked to get back to the basics: passing, blocking and serving. While every position on the court is working on different individual aspects of the game, it always comes back to those basic tenants.

“We’re taking it step-by-step and realizing what we did wrong and it’s been going great so far,”
Webster said.

This weekend’s tournament features some of the best teams in volleyball, with No. 2 Penn State, No. 3 Stanford and No. 7 Florida. Texas isn’t intimated, though. Instead, the players are excited to test themselves against such tough competition.

“All of the teams in the tournament are great and we may play them,” Webster said. “A good team is a good team, and that’s everyone at that tournament so we’re just excited to play anybody there because the caliber of this tournament is great.”

After their first game against Florida, the Longhorns may play Penn State, the team that knocked them out of the last two NCAA tournaments, including the national championship game in 2009.

While the players are downplaying this potential match-up and talking in coach-speak, it is easy to see they would love to get another shot at the Nittany Lions.

“We’re really excited,” Webster said. “Practice has been going so well.”