AUSTIN (KXAN) — Gregory Gym is known as having one of the most raucous environments in the country, and the Texas Longhorns are excited to be back with a full crowd in attendance — something that wasn’t possible last year at the Frank Erwin Center.
“It’s almost surreal right now that we have the opportunity to go play in front of our fans at Gregory. We have players in their second year, but they have not played in front of their crowd,” Elliott said. “So it’s an exciting time and I can’t wait for them to experience it.”
The No. 1 nationally-ranked Texas volleyball team will make their regular season debut on Friday when they host the University of San Diego at Gregory Gym. The match will begin at 6 p.m.
“Our team is fully vaccinated so we feel pretty safe around campus and everything. I think knowing this year that we are more prepared for COVID than we were last year, we went through a whole season of it so we kind of know how to handle everything,” senior outside hitter Logan Eggleston said. “I’m definitely excited about this year, I think it’s going to go a lot smoother and I think we’re really prepared about everything going on.”
Despite last year’s difficulties of playing during the COVID-19 pandemic, Texas made a run to the national championship game. The Longhorns lost to Kentucky in four sets.
“It definitely left that bad taste in our mouth, and it’s kind of pushing us, motivating us during the preseason and it’s definitely going to push us when it gets to the middle of the season,” Eggleston explained. “It’s definitely going to push us but I do think we have said even though we made it that far, this is a new team and we kinda can’t rely on what we did last year to push us and get us to the same position this year so, it’s a little bit of both.”
This season, Texas is predicted to do as well or even better with a preseason No. 1 national ranking, in addition to being picked first in the Big 12 coaches poll.
“In the last 40 years, a team that has not won in the finals…only four teams have made it back to the finals,” Elliott noted. “It’s a huge task, almost every senior that had a fifth year came back, so I think it’s the toughest field that we’ll ever face and will just be some really good volleyball but what an opportunity for our girls to get in there and mix it up a little bit.”