Texas volleyball claims national championship, ends decade-long title drought

Tori Garcia, General Sports Reporter

With a 25-24 lead in the third set and do-or-die match point on the line for Louisville, sophomore libero Keonilei Akana delivered a service ace for Texas.

A rush from the bench stormed toward the Longhorns on the court and embraced them with a dogpile. With smiles, tears of joy and a trophy held high above their heads, Texas volleyball accomplished a goal that had been on its mind for a decade. For the first time since 2012 and the third time in program history, the Longhorns became national champions.  

The top-seeded Longhorns claimed their national title with a sweep of fellow No. 1 seed Louisville on Saturday in Omaha, Nebraska, 25-22, 25-14 and 26-24. Discipline, concentration and physicality set the pace for the entire match. Texas’ clean in-system play throughout the game along with the Cardinals’ inability to get the Longhorns off the net to slow down its offense set Texas up for success.  

Head coach Jerritt Elliott not only wanted to win a national title, but he wanted to win with this team that he holds so close to his heart. He described what made this team so special after the match.

“As a coach, when you manage teams, there’s a lot of problems,” Elliott said. “And this team, I did not have one the entire season. … This was a life lesson (for them). They’re going to be leaders someday in the community, and they are going to have to lead, and to remember the giving that they gave to one another, the commitment to (understand) when not everybody gets all the glamor and the glitz, they did it.” 

On Friday, senior outside hitter Logan Eggleston was named AVCA National Player of the Year after guiding the top-seeded Longhorns to the championship match. Eggleston made Texas volleyball program history by being the first Longhorn to secure the award since it was first introduced in 1985.

This season, the All-American averaged a team high 4.22 kills per set and led the Longhorns with 42 service aces on the year. 

“I am just so grateful to have gotten the opportunity to have a fifth year and come back and to get to play with these girls,” Eggleston said. “There are so many girls on this team that I would’ve never gotten the chance to be teammates with without this COVID year, so I am just forever grateful for that and grateful for all the hard work that they put in this year to make this happen.”

Eggleston had her name written all over the championship match, a deserving farewell to her college career. She led the Longhorns with 19 kills, and logged a .341 hitting percentage.

Eggleston already had an impressive volleyball resume. All she was missing was a national championship. 

“To become one of the greats in any sport, you have to win a championship,” Elliott said. “And Logan did that now, so she puts herself on an extremely elite level along with the rest of the players. But what she’s done for this University, what she’s done to take advantage of every resource possible, what she has given in every aspect, I wouldn’t be surprised if we have a statue at some point for her somewhere on campus.”

New faces were the story of the 2022 Longhorns, with Elliott bringing in 11 transfers and freshman to provide a major revamping of Texas’ roster. The team gelled quickly, only dropping one match en route to a dominant 28–1 season that ended in the ultimate triumph.

Eggleston credited Elliott for the work he did in building the roster and how it created the foundation for a national championship season.   

“Jerritt surrounded us with people who wanted to be here (and) who were just great individuals and committed to the same goals,” Eggleston said. “(Elliot) surrounded us with a lot of people who are committed and love one another, and I think when you have that, it’s hard to lose.”