Texas prepares for emotional Senior Day against Kansas State

Claire Cruz

The senior class of Amy Neal, Molly McCage and Kat Brooks has created a dynasty over the years.

The class ranked No. 2 in the nation coming in, helped the Longhorns win the 2012 national championship and won three Big 12 Conference titles, with a fourth in sight. Neal, McCage and Brooks have reached the NCAA Tournament Final Four three times, lost just 12 games as Longhorns and improved as individuals on and off the court. But they say their work isn’t done yet.

“People highlight the accomplishments we’ve already done, but to me this is all unfinished business,” McCage said. “Everything we’ve put in here throughout our four years has been to get to the national championship game. [That’s] what we’re here to do.”

Although a second national title is the end goal, that’s not what Texas is focusing on right now. Two must-win regular season games remain on the schedule, including Saturday’s home match against Kansas State.

“Kansas State has been hot,” Elliott said. “They’re knocking on the door to be an NCAA Tournament team. They know that if they come in here and beat us they have a shot to get in, so we need to control our mindset to give us the emotional boost.”

Kansas State is riding a six-game win streak, dating back to its last match against Texas. The Wildcats are strong defensively — they rank at the top of the Big 12 in digs with 17.33 per set. The Wildcats are also second in opponent hitting percentage and third in blocks. Kansas State’s defense helped them climb to No. 3 in the Big 12.

Beyond the conference stakes, Elliott said emotions will run high during the Senior Day match.

“I want to make sure we have a great night with them,” Elliott said. “You have some heartfelt things to say at senior night, maybe some tears are exchanged, and that’s the challenging part.”

Neal, McCage and Brooks are determined to leave a great legacy behind them. They understand senior week doesn’t mean the season is over and are excited to lead Texas on a run to finish their careers the same way they started ­— by being the best team in college volleyball.

“The season has flown by and it’s insane, but it has been a lot of fun,” Neal said. “Our class has worked really hard to get here. I hope the dedication and hard work we put into this program will be something people remember.”