Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Advertise in our classifieds section
Your classified listing could be here!
October 4, 2022

After slow start to the season, Texas volleyball is prepared to defend last year’s national title

Young He
Madisen Skinner and Asjia O’Neal attempt to block a spike by Toyosi Onabanjo during a game against the University of Kansas on October 6th, 2023

After a 3-1 win against Stanford last week, No. 5 Texas volleyball celebrated their victory by getting head coach Jerritt Elliott and the other coaching staff to jump in the hotel pool with them. 

And on Thursday, the team will be ready to jump into their Final Four game against No. 3 Wisconsin.

“When we get to a Final Four, you can take a deep breath and really enjoy the process of what you’re doing because that’s the marker for us for a successful season,” Elliott said. “Ultimately, you’re trying to put the cherry on top to win at all and that’s where we are right now.”

The match set in Tampa will be the Longhorns’ 15th NCAA Final Four appearance and the 11th in the last 16 years. Out of the 14 previous NCAA Semifinals appearances, Texas has advanced to nine National Championship matches.

“I think it’s just taken for granted with Texas volleyball, but for me, it never gets old,” Elliott said. “This has been a remarkable run. And I think we’re peaking at the right time and have an opportunity to do something special.”

The daily schedule for the team during the tournament is set. Everything is planned, from the attire the players need to wear to what the players are eating, to try to give the players some time to rest. 

“The big key is just getting a good nap,” Elliott said. “It’s a lot more time consuming when you get to this next level and luckily, we have the routines and where our location is, making it all easy on them.”

During the regular season, the entire volleyball staff comes together in Monday meetings to discuss ways to help the players find time to relieve stress and be normal students.

With the players finishing their finals on Monday and media sessions racking up, the staff had an additional Wednesday meeting to ensure the players’ needs were met. 

“The enjoyment of all this is really about the kids and seeing their faces. Where sports has grown and the media has grown and the expectations have grown to allow kids to be kids, that’s the biggest enjoyment for me,” Elliott said. “It’s such a big, daunting task and they feel it to write the expectations.”

With a set of newer faces on the team, such as freshman setter Ella Swindle, the season did not start out with Final Four expectations. 

“It wasn’t looking very clear early in the season,” Elliott said. “But as we continue to improve and the kids had built trust in one another, it was a pretty magical moment the way that we took care of business against Stanford.”

The team that played Stanford at the beginning of the season is completely different then the team that played the Cardinals last week. Swindle has grown into her role on the team, senior middle blockers Asjia O’Neal and Bella Bergmark have been a force at the net and the team has been able to find an offensive rhythm that works for them. 

“It’s been hard at times to see the ways that we need to improve and then see tangibly how we’re doing that,” Skinner said. “It doesn’t always come when you expect it to but it came at the right time for us and we’re peaking right now. So it’s exciting, and we’re just really pumped to see what happens.”


More to Discover