No. 1 Volleyball preview: West Virginia


No. 1 Texas Volleyball vs. West Virginia

Texas: 9-0 | West Virginia: 12-1

Thursday, Sept. 30 – 8 p.m. CT | Friday, Oct. 1 – 7 p.m. CT

Gregory Gymnasium | Austin, Texas

THE MATCHUP

Texas begins Big 12 Conference play with a pair of matches against West Virginia Thursday and Friday. The Longhorns lead the all-time series with the Mountaineers 18-0, and hold an 8-0 advantage all-time in Austin. Last season, Texas clinched the Big 12 Championship with two wins in Morgantown against the Mountaineers. Following the two wins over WVU, Skylar Fields was named the Big 12 Offensive Player of the Week after having 27 kills, nine blocks and seven digs. 

HOME COURT ADVANTAGE

A large part of the Longhorns winning nine of the last 10 Big 12 Championships has come down to winning at home. Texas has won 51-straight home matches in Big 12 play, dating back to the 2014 season. Over the last 11 seasons, the Longhorns have gone 87-1 in home league matches. The Longhorns only home Big 12 loss since 2010 came against Oklahoma on Oct. 25, 2014. 

CHAMPIONSHIP PEDIGREE

After clinching the 2020 Big 12 title, the Longhorns have now won 26 conference championships, including 13 Big 12 titles and 13 Southwest Conference Championships. The 2020 title was the fourth-straight Big 12 Championship for the Longhorns, who have won or shared nine of the last 10 league championships and 12 of the previous 14.

RANKINGS

Texas remains as the No. 1 ranked team in the 2021 AVCA Poll for the fifth-consecutive week. Returning nearly the entire roster from the team that finished as the NCAA runner-up last season, Texas was picked first in the Preseason AVCA Coaches’ Poll. The Longhorns are one of two Big 12 teams in the top-25 as Baylor sits at No. 9.

RANK AND FILE

UT owns a 127-55 (.696) record against ranked opponents over the last 18 seasons (2004-21) and boasts a 59-12 (.829) home mark against ranked opponents at Gregory Gymnasium (56-12) and the Frank Erwin Center (3-0) during that span. So far this season, Texas is 3-0 against ranked opponents with wins over San Diego, Minnesota and Stanford

ACE IN THE HOLE

The Longhorn service game has been lethal early this season, currently ranking fourth in the nation with 2.32 aces per set (72 aces in 31 sets). Melanie Parra leads the way with 20 aces, while Logan Eggleston has 19 and Asjia O’Neal has 11. In all, Texas has six players with five or more aces so far this season.

EFFICIENCY

Texas ranks sixth nationally with a .308 hitting percentage this season. Molly Phillips leads the Longhorns, hitting .385, while Brionne Butler is hitting .381 and Asjia O’Neal is at .348. All three players rank in the top-10 in the Big 12. Last season, Texas hit .334 on the season to finish third in the nation. That mark was also the fourth-best in Longhorn history. The 2019 team led the nation with a .325 hitting percentage, which is the fifth-best in Texas history. The Longhorns hit over a .300 clip in each of the last five seasons from 2015-20, all ranking in the top-10 single season marks in program history.  

WEEKLY AWARDS

Logan Eggleston and Skylar Fields were the back-to-back recipients of the Big 12 Conference Offensive Player of the Week award, Sept 7 and Sept. 14. Eggleston was awarded on Sept. 7 following wins over No. 10 Minnesota and No. 20 Stanford. She had 30 total kills (4.29 kills per set) and finished with 17 digs, six blocks and one service ace. Fields won the award after wins over Texas State, Arizona and Notre Dame in which she totaled 43 kills and a .380 hitting percentage.  

PRESEASON AWARDS

Logan Eggleston was named the Preseason Big 12 Player of the Year and teammates Brionne Butler, Jhenna Gabriel, Skylar Fields and Asjia O’Neal joined her on the preseason team. The Longhorns were picked first in the Big 12 Preseason Poll for the 11th consecutive season and the 14th time in program history.  

FIVE ALL-AMERICANS

Texas returns five players who landed on the AVCA All-American teams in 2020, led by first teamers Logan Eggleston and Brionne Butler. Additionally, Jhenna Gabriel was named to the third team and Skylar Fields and Asjia O’Neal received Honorable Mention All-America accolades. Eggleston and Butler received their third All-American recognition, after being named second team All-Americans in 2019 and receiving honorable mention as freshmen in 2018. 

BLOCK PARTY

Last season the Longhorns finished second in the nation in total blocks and led the Big 12 Conference with a combined 282. Brionne Butler led the nation with 147 total blocks, while Asjia O’Neal (113 blocks) ranked 10th nationally and third in the Big 12 Conference and Molly Phillips (88 blocks) ranked sixth in the conference. Butler led the Big 12 conference and was 11th nationally averaging 1.48 blocks per set. O’Neal was sixth in the conference with a 1.13 blocks per set average and Phillips was 10th with an average of 1.01 blocks per set. As a team, the Longhorns ranked 11th in the nation with 2.76 blocks per set.





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