While the season is still early, the women’s volleyball team is quickly displaying why it deserves the nation’s No. 2 rank. The team opened the 2012 campaign with a pair of wins in the 26 West Longhorns Classic—3-0 wins against LSU, followed by a 3-0 victory over Cal Poly in the semifinal.
Those two teams, however, posed little threat to the Longhorns: the real test, if it can so be called, would come in the final against 19th-ranked San Diego.
Facing the Toreros on Saturday, the Longhorns opened up the first set with a 10-4 run. A combination of serving and hitting errors allowed USD to pull within 12-10, but the Longhorns found their footing and pulled out a 25-21 victory.
The second set saw more tight play, with Texas holding onto a 10-9 lead before All-American sophomore outside hitter Haley Eckerman—who ended up having a match-high 14 kills and was named tournament MVP—recorded a pair of kills to give the Longhorns some breathing room. While the Toreros subsequently knotted the score at 15-15, Texas settled in and took the second set 25-19.
Looking for their third straight sweep of the year, Texas shot to a 21-7 lead that all but sealed a win. After Eckerman completed a pair of kills, the Longhorns had cemented the resounding victory, extending their winning streak and knocking off their first ranked opponent of the year.
Even more impressively, the win, which improved Texas’s home winning streak to 33 matches, gave head coach Jerritt Elliott his 199th career conference win with the program.
Elliott, who has served as Texas’ coach since 2001, holds a 269-75 record at Texas. He has led the program to a top 10 ranking in each of the past six years. In addition to seeing 15 players earn All-Big 12 honors, Elliott has earned Big 12 Coach of the Year accolades four times, including 2010 and 2011.
The volleyball team celebrates after winning the 26 West Longhorns Classic. Photo courtesy Texas Athletics.