It’s never too late for a summer trip. At least that’s the case for No. 4 Texas.
After traveling to Florida this past weekend for the VERT Challenge, the Longhorns (1–1) will now travel to California for a three-game slate this weekend, including a date with No. 17 San Diego.
The previously top-ranked Longhorns suffered a season-opening loss to then-No. 12 Florida in front of a crowd 7,500 strong. Despite the numerous errors on Texas’ side throughout the match, head coach Jerritt Elliott understands that this is just a part of his team’s development.
“The first week is always tough,” Elliott said. “Theoretically speaking, we shouldn’t be playing this high level this early in the season. It makes it real difficult because you haven’t got everything in place.”
What does seem to be in place is the Longhorns’ freshman class. Outside hitter Lexi Sun posted 25 kills over the weekend while setter Ashley Shook led the team with 71 assists.
The country’s highest-ranked recruiting class proved themselves in two solid outings, showing they are ready to compete at the collegiate level.
“It was a great environment for our team to be in,” Elliott said. “I think our freshmen felt the pressure of … fans and how loud it was and the speed of the game. Thought they did a great job the next night.”
With their first round of games under their belt, the freshmen can continue to evolve together with the team.
“They have gelled very well so far,” senior middle blocker Chiaka Ogbogu said. “They are all very hard-working and very receptive to coaching tips, so it’s just been fun to see them all grow and also to help them out.”
Texas’ first match of the weekend will be against Villanova, who come into the matchup with an unblemished 3–0 record. The Longhorns will look to carry the momentum from last week’s win over Oregon into this weekend.
“We got beat up pretty bad in the first game, and so we just tried to get an emotional change,” Elliott said. “Some sort of change in the game to kind of get us back in there.”
In addition to the freshmen, Texas boasts a very talented squad. Ogbogu continues to be an all-around contributor, leading the team in hitting percentage (.385) and ranking second in kills and blocks.