After a road loss to Iowa State, the No. 7 Longhorns return to Gregory Gym for their last three regular season matches.
But head coach Jerritt Elliott isn’t sure if Texas’ home court is living up to its potential.
“We need a better student following,” Elliott said. “I don’t think they’re showing up based on us having 50,000 students very well. This team deserves it.”
The Longhorns hope the big crowds pour in as they start their string of home contests with a matchup against Texas Tech on Wednesday at 7 p.m. Texas can still earn the ability to host some postseason matchups with a strong close to the season — it all depends on where the Longhorns are seeded in the NCAA Tournament.
And the team likes its chances playing on its home floor.
“We play really well at home,” junior libero Cat McCoy said. “It puts us in a good position to win out.”
Gregory Gym has an average attendance of over 1,500 spectators per match. Since 1982, the Longhorns have won 82 percent of their matches at home, with their sole loss on the 40 Acres this season coming to No. 3 Wisconsin.
“Our fan support is the best in the country,” McCoy said. “I’ve noticed we haven’t gotten as much support this year.”
The players say Gregory Gym’s energy makes a difference. The Longhorns’ only losses in the Big 12 have been on the road, against Kansas and Iowa State. Texas swept Baylor last week, whereas it dropped one set in Waco. The Longhorns also dropped sets to Texas Tech on the road, resulting in a five-set win over the Red Raiders in Lubbock. This time, the Longhorns look for a sweep at home.
Texas Tech (10–18, 0-13 Big 12) enters the matchup looking for its first conference victory. Senior middle blocker Lauren Douglass leads Tech with the Big 12’s No. 4 hitting percentage. In their last meeting, the Longhorns held Douglass to 14 kills with a strong blocking scheme. Texas racked up 84 total digs in the contest, with three players reaching double-digits.
Texas hopes to boost its momentum starting with a strong win against the Red Raiders. And if fans come out in the droves the team hopes for, the Longhorns are confident they will make the experience worth it.
“When I was a recruit here, they brought us to games,” sophomore middle blocker Morgan Johnson said. “You really don’t understand how fun they are until you’re in the gym and you feel how loud it is and the energy and how fun it really is in here. If you can tell someone that and bring them in here, they would never miss a volleyball game.”