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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

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October 4, 2022

Texas volleyball’s latest updates following back-to-back titles

Miya Tanner
The crowd cheers at the Texas volleyball game against Washington State on Sept. 15, 2023.

The Texas volleyball team, coaches and staff posed with the NCAA Division I championship trophy for the second year in a row in December in front of the UT Tower. Since then, major buzz circulates the back-to-back championship team. 

Here are the updates:

Texas Volleyball head coach Jerritt Elliott secured a contract extension.

Four months after leading the Longhorns to victory, Elliott signed a contract extension. His current contract ensures that Elliott will remain head coach through the 2025 athletic season. However, the four-year extension runs him through 2029.

During his time coaching at Texas, he has led the Longhorns to grasp three national titles: 2012, 2022 and 2023. Additionally, in eight of its last 12 seasons, Texas made a semi-final appearance with Elliott in the driver’s seat.

“The extraordinary success his teams have had for a long, long time is well-documented,” Texas athletic director Chris Del Conte said to the Austin American-Statesman. “During his historic run, he’s positioned our program in the absolute elite of college volleyball. But it goes well beyond the wins and championships. Coach Elliott’s an extraordinary leader and representative of our great university.”

Middle blocker Asjia O’Neal signed with the Columbus Fury.

The 24-year-old spent six years in a burnt orange jersey. With 601 total blocks, 924 kills, 112 aces and 156 wins during her time at Texas, O’Neal was selected as the No. 1 overall pick in the inaugural Pro Volleyball Federation draft.

In early January, the 6-foot-3 middle blocker signed a contract with the Columbus Fury. 

The Fury’s season began on Jan. 25. Wasting no time making her mark, O’Neal became the first middle blocker this season to be recognized as the Pro Volleyball Federation Player of the Week presented by Franklin Sports on March 26. The Fury currently sits at an overall record of 5-8.

Three veteran players transferred to Texas.

Former Baylor sophomore setter Averi Carlson, former Kentucky graduate student and outside hitter Reagan Rutherford and former Nebraska outside hitter Whitney Lauenstein announced their moves to Texas over social media a few days after the Longhorns secured the 2023 national title. 

Sophomore setter Ella Swindle is a consistent and steady setter for Texas, and she led the Longhorns to a national title last season as a true freshman. However, the upcoming junior and No. 4 recruit in 2022, Carlson, will most likely be used by Elliot to accomplish a 6-2 rotation in the upcoming season.

Rutherford, a 6-foot senior, earned two back-to-back All-American honors from the American Volleyball Coaches Association. Last year with Kentucky, she averaged 3.47 kills per set, recorded a .315 hitting percentage and noted an average of 1.53 digs a set. It is more likely for Rutherford to immediately step into a starting role to complement the All-American and opposite hitter Madisen Skinner.

The 6-foot-2 redshirt junior last played with Nebraska in 2022 before sitting out the 2023 season to prioritize herself after the death of her father in 2021. During her sophomore season, she stood out with 2.78 kills per set and a .238 hitting percentage. With two years of eligibility left, Elliott may utilize Lauenstein to fill some empty holes with the departure of O’Neal and senior opposite hitter Molly Phillips. 

Texas Volleyball’s official 2024-25 season schedule has yet to be released. 

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About the Contributor
Tori Garcia, General Sports Reporter
Tori is a sophomore journalism major from Austin, Texas. Currently, she is covering softball and previously reported on volleyball for the Texan. She loves all Houston sports and claims to have the best country music playlists.