Volleyball rolls through first round of NCAA tournament

Chris Hummer

 Texas rolled through the first two rounds of the NCAA tournament without dropping a set. At times, the Longhorns dominated opponents with their ability and overwhelming size and speed.

However, the team knows that it will not be that easy the rest of the way. The teams will only get more talented, and the high level of play they displayed over the weekend will not always be there. Eventually, they will be forced to grind out a win.

“We can’t expect to play at that level every night,” said head coach Jerritt Elliott. “We’d like to, but the great teams are the ones that are able to win playing at different levels and finding ways to win. I’m assuming that I would like to go back and play at the same level that we left off at, but we know we’ll be in a battle, and we’ll have to make some adjustments throughout the weekend to be able to perform and come out of that bracket.”

The bracket they are ready to step into is a very difficult one. It includes the regional host Kentucky, Pac-12 runner up UCLA and the team that has knocked Texas out of the bracket the last two years, Penn State.

But a potential matchup with the Nitty Lions is in the future. For now, they will have to deal with a very good Kentucky squad that finished third in the SEC. On top of that, they will be dealing with a raucous crowd that will be on hand to make noise for the Wildcats.

It will be a disadvantage for the Longhorns to be the road team in the Sweet 16, but they are ready to embrace the challenge, and actually welcome it because they have seemed to play better on the road this season.

“We enjoy [playing on the road] a lot,” said senior Sydney Yogi. “This year especially, our team has embraced chaotic situations. At A&M, I know that was very chaotic. At OU, we didn’t do that well, but that was in the beginning, and I think from that game especially we learned how to really embrace it and how to compete to win.”

Printed on Wednesday, December 7, 2011 as: Horns ready to face Wildcats in Sweet 16