Strong play from Collins helps set Texas up for victory

Claire Cruz

The setter position on a volleyball team is often overlooked. A big hit, block or hard-earned dig earn loud cheers from a crowd, but the second touch rarely does.

That second touch and the setter who delivered it are crucial parts of a team’s offense.

Junior setter Chloe Collins is not only showing Texas fans how important a good setter is — she’s also transforming the position into something much bigger.

“I can see a difference in Chloe this season,” senior outside hitter Amy Neal said. “A setter can tell us what to do, and she’s not afraid to. She has been running the court really well and getting the hitters good balls.”

No. 2 Texas slots second in the Big 12 Conference in team hitting percentage, largely because of Collins’ performance. She boasts the fourth-most assists in the conference with 601 and is the primary setter for the Longhorns.

Equivalent to a quarterback in football, a setter holds play-calling responsibilities on the volleyball court. Collins has to make quick decisions regarding whom to set up based on an opposing team’s defense. She has to know what kind of set each hitter prefers — a high, arching set or a quick, short set — and be able to execute that set from anywhere on the court.

“We work a lot on our tempos with our sets,” head coach Jerritt Elliott said. “One of the things Chloe does well is she feels the speed of [the hitters]. She’s getting really confident in the offense, and her defense is much improved.”

Collins’ confidence stems from the experience she’s gained through two and a half seasons with the Longhorns. Her chemistry with the hitters has improved, and she’s found success blocking despite her small figure.  

“It falls back on routines, just being consistent and steady,” Collins said. “Knowing each hitter’s preference and making sure I’m setting it in the right location.”

Although Collins stands at just 5-foot-7-inches, she has the team’s third-highest block total with 33. She has 30 kills on the season, most of them coming from heads-up plays. 

As a left-handed setter, Collins can send the ball over the net on a strong hit that defenses aren’t expecting. Her development as an all-around volleyball player has boosted Texas, but Collins credits her strong performances to her team and just wants to see the Longhorns succeed.

“I’m just most excited about how we work together as a team and what we’re capable of,” Collins said. “I’m feeling a lot more confident and comfortable. It allows me to just go out and play and do what I know I can do.”