No place like home: Longhorns exert dominance at Gregory Gym

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Texas volleyball would set the record for longest home win streak in program history with a victory Wednesday.

Photo Credit: Mike McGraw | Daily Texan Staff

It’s no secret that Texas has a tremendous home-court advantage in Gregory Gym.

Between all of the hard surfaces and configurations, including an up-close and personal student section, Gregory Gym boasts one of the best environments for volleyball in the country.

“It’s an amazing gym,” head coach Jerritt Elliott said. “The setup of it has been fantastic.”

Now, the Longhorns have a chance to do what no other Longhorn team has done in Gregory Gym — win 34 straight games.

With a win Wednesday night against TCU, Texas would surpass the 2011-2012 Longhorn team for the longest home-win streak in program history. But, despite the allure of such an achievement, Elliott said the team isn’t going to talk too much about it before the match.

“There might be a slight mention, but it’s not that important to us,” Elliott said.

Gregory Gym hasn’t always played home to volleyball. While the gym, along with the Frank Erwin Center, hosted the team from the program’s start in 1990, the team moved to the Recreational Sports Center and remained there until the end of the 1997 season. Beginning in 1998, the Longhorns moved back to Gregory permanently and have been dominant since, posting a .863 winning percentage at home.

In the past 11 seasons, the Longhorns have been almost unbeatable at home. In that span, Texas has gone nearly undefeated in its home schedule, including this season’s 6-0 streak, and posted a .944 winning percentage.

Elliott said, while this year’s team isn’t focused on the record, they do want to recognize the players who helped start it.

“It’s more important to recognize the players that came before us that helped us create this streak,” Elliott said.

The configuration of Gregory Gym makes it a difficult place for opponents to play. It’s almost completely comprised of hard surfaces, leaving nothing — other than the championship banners — to soak up any of the sound. That, coupled with the fans sitting almost on top of the court, can make the gym loud for opposing teams.

Elliott said a growing fan base has also helped with the advantage.

“Our players feed off of that,” Elliott said. “I think it’s an environment that should be sold out on a nightly basis. We know the students are coming out as often as possible.”

Opponents have also noticed the difficulties of playing at Gregory. Elliott said it has been difficult for Texas to schedule opponents in Austin, leading the Longhorns to schedule two matches next week against Zhejiang New Century Tourism, which won the top Chinese women’s volleyball league
in spring.

“Everyone is so concerned about RPI,” Elliott said. “The conferences are so big that a lot of teams need to get ‘W’s so they can have a record to make the NCAA tournament.”

TCU comes into the match looking for its first ever win against Texas. The Longhorns swept the past two matches against the Horned Frogs and have won all seven previous meetings against them since TCU joined the Big 12 Conference in 2012.

Texas will continue its home conference schedule Saturday against Oklahoma at 5 p.m.