Hannah Allison

Family, season ticket holders, volleyball dads and unaffiliated parties make their way to the Final Four. Here’s what they have to say:

Volleyball Dads

Eight volleyball dads spend much of their weekend watching club volleyball, so why not make the trip to watch the best of the best?

Q: Favorite player?

Trent Turner: Hannah Allison

Scott Montgomery: Khat Bell. I saw her play in Dallas and it was a privilidge watching her. She was that good. Head and shoulders the best.

Russell Larson: Hayley Eckerman, she came to Manor High School, where I coach, and spent time with the girls. It meant a lot.

Corby Brown: Bailey Webster.

Family

Cal Puana, Sarah Palmer’s Uncle, gave some insight to the weekend matchup

Q: Biggest threat?

Puana: Penn State, aren’t they always?

Q: What’s going to happen in the game tonight?

Puana: I think we’ll blow them out, but you never know.

Season ticket holders

These season ticketholders know quite a bit about the team.

Q: Where have you travelled with the team?

James Wilcox: we’ve actually been to Hawaii, Nebraska, Illinois and five of the last six final fours.

Q: How into Texas Volleyball are you?

Rodney Phillips: We’ve been to every game. I actually run the UT volleyball facebook page.

The unaffiliated fan

Without and hometown bias, she gives her opinions

Q: Who’s your team?

Yvonne: Nebraska, but I’m rooting for Penn State this weekend

Q: Who’s the best player in the nation?

Yvonne: Ariel Scott.

Q: Who is your pick?

Yvonne: I like Penn State, but I think Texas has the edge. I do want to see a Penn State vs. Texas matchup.

It looks as though senior setter Hannah Allison has reclaimed her role as the starting setter of the top-ranked Longhorns. 

And she did so in a dominating fashion against the first ranked opponent Texas has faced since late September.

Allison recorded a season-high 52 assists, while junior outside hitter Haley Eckerman logged a game-high 19 kills helping top-ranked Texas (17-2, 10-0 Big 12) down No. 25 Oklahoma 3-1 (25-15, 25-17, 25-27, 25-21) on Saturday evening in Norman to stay perfect in conference play and carry its win streak to 13 games.

But Allison didn’t just set up teammates; she had kills and blocks. Allison tied sophomore middle blocker Molly McCage with a game-high eight blocks while recording four kills of her own.

With a tight start to the game at 12-11, Texas pulled away from the Sooners (18-5, 6-3 Big 12) in the first game with an 11-2 run to take a 23-13 lead behind Eckerman’s offense and the Sooners’ errors. The Longhorns wound up dominating, as they outhit the Sooners .355-.036.

The second game wasn’t as close in the beginning. Texas built a quick 8-3 advantage as the Sooners struggled to find their way around the Texas block. Oklahoma battled back, cutting the lead to three at 17-14. Texas took the next two points before going on a 4-0 run to seal the match and take a 2-0 lead in the match.

Oklahoma took the third game from Texas — the first time it has won a game against the Longhorns since Nov. 26, 2011 — as it held on to its early lead to squeak out a 27-25 win and force a fourth game. The Sooners started the game with consecutive aces before the Longhorns clawed their way back. But Texas was unable to take advantage of their match point, while Oklahoma put theirs away.

Texas went on a 7-3 run to close the fourth game and secure its 10th Big 12 win in as many tries.

The Longhorns have a midweek bye before hosting Kansas on Saturday.

After starting senior setter Hannah Allison in each of her first three years at Texas, head coach Jerritt Elliott has handed the starting reigns over to freshman Chloe Collins this season.

Photo Credit: Charlie Pearce | Daily Texan Staff

Nearly 11 months after the clincher, the championship rings finally arrived for the 2012 national volleyball champions Monday.

But head coach Jerritt Elliott still hasn’t put his on.

“It’s in my closet in a box,” Elliot said.

Has he tried it on?

“Not yet.”

What is he waiting for?

“I don’t know.”

For the rest of the team, though, the wait couldn’t have ended soon enough, especially for senior setter Hannah Allison.

“They are kind of huge,” Allison said with a grin. “They couldn’t be the same size as our Big 12 ring, so they had to go a notch up.”

But things have changed since Texas celebrated in the confetti of triumph last winter. There was no doubt Allison was the starting setter of last year’s team. This year, that’s not the case.

Freshman setter Chloe Collins has come in and outplayed Allison.

“Chloe is our starter,” Elliott said. “We go with who’s been doing well in the gym.”

So, for the first time in her career, Allison is not the starter. As a freshman, she started 16 matches before an ankle injury in early October curtailed her season. As a sophomore, she started 28 of 30 matches. As a junior, she started 31 of 33.

“It’s different,” Allison said. “But if we are winning, we are winning.”

Time and time again, Elliott has proven he is not afraid to go with the freshman over the seasoned veteran.

“Last year we won with freshmen Nicole Dalton, Molly McCage and Kat Brooks,” Elliot said. “Sometimes you need to rely on the freshmen.”

But the competition in the gym is improving both setters’ game.

“We make each other better,” Allison said. “It’s not a negative competition. We have really different setting styles. I’ve learned stuff from her, and she’s learned stuff from me.”

It’s that competition in the gym that has made Texas a Big 12 powerhouse.

“It’s kind of crazy how competitive our gym can be,” Allison said. “Our B side continuously beats our A side. I don’t know what other team can say that.”

Could the B team compete for a Big 12 title?

“Definitely,” Allison said with a chuckle.

They certainly would not have any trouble with TCU (13-9, 2-6 Big 12), who comes to Austin Oct. 30 at 7 p.m. But that doesn’t mean the Longhorns (15-2, 8-0 Big 12) can take the game for granted.

“We work on getting better every day and finding something to improve on in every Big 12 game to get ready for the tournament,” Allison said.

But when the starting lineups are announced, it will be Collins throwing out the volleyball, not Allison.

“I’m competitive enough that I care more about winning than how much I play,” Allison said.

Photo Credit: Shelby Tauber | Daily Texan Staff

After a gauntlet of challenging preseason matches, the Longhorns cruised to a three-set victory in their conference opener. 

Fifth-ranked Texas (7-2, 1-0 in conference play) established its offensive presence early on en route to a 25-18 victory in the opening frame. The set was a back-and-forth battle for dominance with five lead changes as both teams tried to find their grooves. 

The Longhorns went on a 9-2 run after trailing 17-16, taking the set behind five kills by junior outside hitter Haley Eckerman and three blocks by senior setter Hannah Allison. Texas notched just a .194 hitting percentage in the opening set, but its play at the net forced TCU into a .026 hitting percentage on seven total errors. The second frame was all Texas as the Longhorns ended the set on an 11-4 run to take their lead to two with a 25-16 victory. Senior outside hitter Bailey Webster and freshman middle blocker Chiaka Ogbogu produced four and three kills respectively in the set as Texas outhit TCU .417-.161 while only committing two errors. 

Entering the third set the Texas offense and defense were working in perfect harmony, forcing the Horned Frogs into 13 errors while only surrendering 19 kills to that point. 

The Longhorns opened the final set on an 11-4 run with four early kills and two blocks before the Horned Frogs fought back to bring the score to 14-13 in favor of Texas. Eckerman notched a kill on the very next play and the Longhorns never looked back, ending the set and game on an 11-2 run. 

Eckerman led the offensive charge for Texas with 13 kills in the match to go along with 10 digs. Webster and Ogbogu added eight and six kills respectively while Allison amassed a team-high 25 assists.

Texas stifled the Horned Frogs and forced them into 23 attack errors to go along with a .030 hitting percentage — the lowest total for any opponent all season. The win also marked the second shutout for the Longhorns in 2013.

With every part of their game firing on all cylinders, the Longhorns will ride this momentum into a weekend tilt at home against Oklahoma.

Handing out Oscars for the best performances in Texas sports this past year

Best Actor - Alex Okafor

Third baseman Erich Weiss and golfer Dylan Frittelli were considered for this, but Okafor’s Alamo Bowl performance put him over the top. In 2012 the Pflugerville product made 68 tackles, a whopping 18 of them for a loss, including 12.5 sacks and 20 quarterback hurries, both team-highs by far. The 4.5-sack effort he turned in during Texas’s triumph over Oregon State last December was a fitting end to his career and may have earned him a spot in the first round of April’s NFL Draft.

Best Actress - Blaire Luna

Luna, a local product from Austin's Bowie High School, went 22-6 with a 2.31 ERA last year, when she nearly led Texas to its first Women’s College World Series berth since Cat Osterman was on the 40 Acres. She’s off to a scorching start this season, going 7-0 with a 0.50 ERA in her first seven outings as the Longhorns (16-1) are off to their best 17-game start in school history. She almost tied her career-high by striking out 16 Tulsa hitters in Sunday’s win without issuing a single walk. Luna and the Longhorns could very well be Oklahoma City-bound in a few months.

Best Actor in Supporting Role - Hoby Milner 

Milner started out last season in the Longhorns’ starting rotation but, by the end of the year, he was the team’s set-up man. What seemed like a demotion proved to be mutually beneficial for both Milner and his squad. Texas had a reliable option behind closer Corey Knebel and Milner, who admitted to being more comfortable coming out of the bullpen, ended up being drafted by the Philadelphia Phillies in the seventh round of last year’s MLB Draft. 

Best Actress in Supporting Role - Hannah Allison

Allison was an essential piece to the Longhorns’ championship puzzle last season. She averaged more than 10 assists per set this past year and had 254 assists in six NCAA Tournament games, including a mind-boggling 53 in the Final Four five-set triumph against Michigan. As great as Bailey Webster, Haley Eckerman and Khat Bell were, Texas would not have won a national title without Allison.

Best Picture - Men’s golf team winning a national title

Texas captured two national championships over the last 12 months, one in volleyball and one in men’s golf. But the Longhorn volleyball team swept Oregon in its national title game, leaving little doubt who the best squad in the country was. The Texas men’s golf squad, on the other hand, provided much more drama on its way to winning a championship. Senior Dylan Frittelli sank a 30-foot, title-clinching birdie putt on the final hole of the Longhorns’s national championship clash with Alabama, sending his teammates in a frenzy and giving Texas its third national title in men’s golf.

Best Director - Jerritt Elliott

After several uncharacteristic losses in non-conference play, Elliott, the head volleyball coach, talked about how he has been toying with his lineup, still unsure of what group of players will work. Texas began the year by losing three of its first nine matches but reeled off 17 straight wins, including a school-record 15 in a row to begin Big-12 play, before falling to Iowa State in five sets in its regular season finale – a loss some players said would actually serve the Longhorns well in the upcoming NCAA Tournament. Sure enough, they blazed their way through the tournament, losing just one set in their first four NCAA Tournament matches, all of which were in Austin, before battling back in a five-set win over Michigan and a sweep of Oregon in the title match. Eddie Reese, John Fields and Augie Garrido are really good at what they do, but Elliott may very well be the best coach on campus.

Texas junior Bailey Webster (23) directs the spike around the block attempt by Oregon's Canace Finley (5) during the finals of the NCAA college women's volleyball tournament in Louisville, Ky., Saturday, Dec. 15, 2012. (AP Photo/Garry Jones)

Photo Credit: The Associated Press

 LOUISVILLE, KY - The Longhorns looked like Champions as they defeated No. 5 Oregon in three straight sets Saturday night at the KFC YUM! Center (25-11, 26-24, 25-19). The Longhorns were crowned the 2012 NCAA Division I National Champions with the victory over the Ducks. This is the second NCAA national title for the Longhorns, the first coming in 1988.

“This has been a long time coming. And I’m so happy for the University of Texas,” said Texas head coach Jerritt Elliott. “But to see these girls’ faces…We’re just so excited and proud of these ladies.”

The Longhorns finished their season 29-4 with a Big 12 conference record of 15-1.

As a team, the Longhorns hit .428 in three sets and turned in 43 kills with only four errors. The .428 hitting percentage is a record for three-set matches in the NCAA finals. In addition, Texas hit a combined .360 against both Michigan and Oregon, another NCAA record, with 108 kills and only 19 errors.

“They played very very well,” said Oregon head coach Jim Moore. “Blocked great, passed great, and they deserve it, a well-earned victory for them.”

In set one, the Longhorns got out to a fast start. They cruised to an easy 12-4 lead which quickly extended as the Ducks were never able to keep up. The Longhorns posted a powerful offensive attack which was helped along by numerous Oregon errors. Texas picked up the first set easily, 25-11.

The Longhorns turned in 11 kills and only one error while posting a .400 hitting clip. The Texas defense produced seven blocks in the first set alone and held the Oregon offense to only nine kills with a staggering 12 errors. The Ducks were also held to -.083 hitting clip in the opening set.

The second set was typical for the Longhorns. The Ducks got off to a quick start, maintaining a slight lead throughout the set. A kill by junior Bailey Webster tied the set at 23-23 and a service ace by sophomore Haley Eckerman pushed it to a set point. Oregon tied it up again, before back-to-back kills by Webster, with assists from junior Hannah Allison, ended the set 26-24 in favor of the Longhorns.

“We were like: ‘Guys, like we need this win. Act like we’re about to get eliminated. We need this win,” Webster said about bouncing back after a difficult second set. “We literally took it one point at a time. I think that’s what worked for us.”

Oregon’s offense was much more productive in the second set, posting a hitting clip of .462 with 21 kills and three errors. Texas hit .515 in the second set with 19 kills and two errors. The Texas defense was not as efficient in the second set, only producing one block.

With the 2-0 match advantage after the break, the Longhorns were looking to end the match after three sets. Oregon kept the set close with a score of 9-6 in favor of the Longhorns, but Texas extended the lead and pushed it to 23-19. A  kill by senior Sha’Dare McNeal brought up the match point at 24-19. A block by Allison and sophomore Khat Bell ended the set, and the match, at 25-19.

In the third set, the Longhorns hit .387 with 13 kills and one error. The Texas defense turned in seven blocks and held the Oregon offense to a hitting percentage of .205 with 16 kills and eight errors.

The Longhorns turned in a .438 hitting clip for the match, holding Oregon to .202 in three sets. Texas had 43 kills and four errors while Oregon had 46 kills and 23 errors. The Longhorns turned in 15 blocks for the match to Oregon’s one.

Webster was named the tournament’s most outstanding player. Webster, Allison, Eckerman, and McNeal were named to the all-tournament team. Webster had 14 kills in the final match with a hitting clip of .500. Eckerman hit .400 with 12 kills. Freshman Molly McCage had an outstanding night on defense, turning in eight blocks.

Texas has the fourth-best winning percentage in history at .724.

“All I remember and all I know about this match is that I just felt like we did the whole thing together,” Webster said. “I think we really won this because we were such a team out there.” 

Published on January 14, 2013 as "Horns clinch second title". 

Photo Credit: Andrew Torrey | Daily Texan Staff

Hung upon a wall inside Darrell K Royal Texas Memorial Stadium is a glass case filled with volleyball paraphernalia. Photos, flyers and a burnt orange “Point Texas” sign flashes the pride of Texas’s award-winning program to anyone passing by.

A thunderous crowd adorned in burnt orange brought that pride to life Saturday as Texas swept USC 3-0, stuffing Gregory Gym to its brims, muffling even the sounds of the announcer’s voice with deafening cheers as the Longhorns defeated the Trojans to earn their spot in the Final Four.

Bailey Webster led the Longhorns with 17 kills, while Hannah Allison added 45 assists in a shining night for Texas.

“We were very efficient tonight,” head coach Jerritt Elliott said. “We had some great play from everyone, great balance, our defense was very solid tonight and getting our middles involved was very important. We were just consistent the entire night.”

An athletic, composed USC started the first set with a kill. Sha’Dare McNeal’s early kill launched a spree of cheers, upping the score to 4-3 as USC whacked the ball out of bounds. Texas began to pull away in the middle of the set as Bailey Webster killed the ball, while Sarah Palmer’s valiant efforts to keep the ball in bounds played in Texas’s favor. The crowd rose, horns up, as Texas finished off the set, 25-19.

Texas battled in set two point by point, clinging onto a lead in a set that included 11 tie scores and five lead changes. USC earned the first two points of the set, but a block by Molly McCage and McNeal tied the score. The ties were laced throughout the set as Webster launched a kill to tie it at 13-13, while Eckerman’s kill brought it to 14-14. USC’s Samantha Bricio’s kill tied the score again at 20-20, but the Longhorns pushed ahead and concluded the set at a close 25-22.

Fresh from the locker room, Webster killed the ball early in the third set, but USC held an early lead. McCage’s kill tied the score and Bell’s powerful slap overwhelmed the Trojan defense and brought the score up in Texas’s favor. It was Webster who dominated the set, powering 17 kills throughout the match. Texas continued to hold onto the lead and pull away from the Trojans, ending the set, 25-14.

For Texas, a win in this game means a ticket to the final four tournament in Kentucky, one step further than their journey took them last year. Texas lost to Penn State in the NCAA semi-finals, closing the book on dreams of a national title. But that was last year.

“I’m really excited about [the final four],” Webster said. “It’s a great feeling especially with a game like this. Even when I was on the sideline I was just amazed.”

Elliott said this win commemorates the dedication and steadfastness of his team members throughout the season.

“We have a goal,” he said. “There’s going to be four teams left here that have that goal, and we’ve got to be able to play well. I like the mentality that we have. We’ll go out and give our best shot and represent this university well.”

Hannah Allison is part of the No. 3 team in the nation.
Photo Credit: Marisa Vasquez | Daily Texan Staff

In rare moments of spare time, Hannah Allison likes to pull out the pots and pans and bake desserts. 

But don’t mistake her sweet tooth for a lack of vigor on the court.

“I just want to win,” Allison said with a smile. “I just wanted to come somewhere where I could win and help my team win. If there’s a goal, it’s to win as much as possible.”

That spoken determination is echoed in action each time Allison steps on the court. The junior setter began her Texas career as the No. 9 recruit in the nation. Since then, she’s posted 2,379 assists, moving into ninth place on UT’s career list for assists. Against Kansas State last week, she contributed 46 assists.

But for the Arkansas native, choosing Texas wasn’t an easy decision in a state full of Razorback fans.

“People in Arkansas are either Arkansas or Oklahoma fans,” she said. “They don’t like Texas. I had to get over that.”

The burnt orange draw ran deeper than just a solid athletic program, Allison said.

“For me, Texas couldn’t be beat in all these different areas,” she said. “The academics are awesome, athletics are awesome. What you have at Texas you can’t find anywhere else.”

And despite her early uncertainty about the Lone Star State, Allison said she quickly grew accustomed to it.

“I like Texas,” she said. “It is like its own little country just like everyone says it is, but there are great people here and I’m glad I have that community here.”

The volleyball appeal, Allison said, began with her older sister, who now plays at Oklahoma Baptist University

“She started playing club volleyball when she was 13 or 14 and I was 12, and I did everything she did,” Allison said. “We both just fell in love with it.”

Three years later, Allison is part of the No. 3 team in the nation, leading the Big 12 and working toward a chance at a national title. The pressure that comes with it is a welcome push, Allison said.

“There is pressure but that’s why we all came here,” she said. “We want to be in a program where people expect that out of you every single year. It’s a privilege to have people expect that out of you. It’s pressure, but it’s good pressure.”

In the locker room, Allison can be found quietly thinking about the game, no headphones needed.

“I don’t really listen to music before because it’s distracting to me and I start getting into the music,” she said. “I just have to be quiet and visualize the game to get myself ready.”

Allison credits her teammates with much of her success and also with making training time enjoyable and fun.

“I love the personalities on this team,” she said. “It makes it fun to come in the gym with people who are themselves and can bring that special energy. Everyone wants to win. It makes it really fun.”

Head coach Jerritt Elliott said one of the rewards he’s experienced as a coach has been to see Allison’s confidence develop over her time at UT thus far. 

“Hannah’s very competitive and she works extremely hard and wants to win at all costs,” Elliott said. “She’s learning a lot about herself and becoming more patient with herself. She’s becoming more of a leader, taking some of that feedback and running with it, but she’s a lot more confident in terms of what she can do on the court.”

 

Junior outside hitter Bailey Webster had 17 kills as the Longhorns battled the Cyclones for a win in Gregory Gym.  

Photo Credit: Marisa Vasquez | Daily Texan Staff

Texas was kept on its toes against Iowa State Wednesday night, claiming a burnt orange-tainted victory despite two initial strong sets for the Cyclones.

The Longhorns crawled out of an early rut to win a 10th straight match this season, marking the first time the team has won after a two-set deficit since its 2009 season opener.

“Our defense was really struggling early on,” head coach Jerritt Elliott said. “Getting [Haley] Eckerman back into the match and the passers doing a great job led up to the better efficiency. We got a lot calmer and stayed consistent.”

Eckerman, an outside hitter, had six kills and a block in the first set, while junior setter Hannah Allison pitched in 12 assists. An early 10-4 lead handed Iowa State an initial advantage, but senior utility Sha’Dare McNeal added several kills, allowing Texas to gain its first lead in the set, 20-19. A UT hitting error allowed Iowa State to claim the first set. 

An early Texas lead in the second set was overpowered by five consecutive points by the Cyclones. Despite Allison’s seven assists, the Cyclones launched another 8-1 run to gain a 2-0 lead in the match.

Strong performances by McNeal shifted the momentum of the match in the third set, as McNeal contributed three kills, two blocks and two assists. Allison tacked on 13 assists and two aces, bringing the score up in Texas’ favor. The Longhorns closed the set at 25-17, segueing into a fourth set.

Strong Texas performances punctuated the fourth set, as junior outside hitter Bailey Webster added four kills and three blocks, while McNeal pitched in three kills and two blocks. Allison continued her roll of assists, adding 14. A back row kill by Eckerman allowed Texas to gain a significant lead and force a fifth set.

Webster and Iowa State’s Victoria Hurtt battled in the fifth set, but a block by McNeal moved the set along in Texas’s favor. Freshman Molly McCage jumped the score to 9-6, and a Webster kill sparked a 5-1 run to conclude the set.

“Anytime you go undefeated in the Big 12 is huge,” Elliott said. “There are still a lot of things we can do and points we can touch on to get more proficient in terms of our touches but we have time before the next match.” 

That next match will take place in one week, as the Longhorns take on the Baylor Bears next Wednesday in Gregory Gym.

Printed on Thursday, October 18, 2012 as: Longhorns claim tenth straight win against ISU

Interesting Stats:
- The Longhorns sophomore class had a good night against the No. 21 Jayhawks on Friday. Middle blocker/outside hitter Khat Bell had a career night registering 10 blocks and outside hitter Haley Eckerman logged her third consecutive double-double with 12 digs and 16 kills.
- The Longhorns had 11 blocks to Kansas’ five.
- Texas is 7-0 in conference play and has swept all of their Big 12 opponents so far this season.

Kansas lost because….
They logged 29 errors with a hitting line of .101. Despite 16 kills by Kansas’ Catherine Carmichael, the Jayhawks could not avoid hitting errors that contributed to the Longhorns’ lead.

Texas won because….

Eckerman and Bell, along with juniors Bailey Webster and Hannah Allison, turned in excellent performances with few errors. In addition to Eckerman’s double-double and Bell’s career-high block count, Webster added one dig and 10 kills to the night with Allison posting 28 assists and three blocks. Eckerman also hit .484 for the night.

Set-by-Set
Set 1:The Longhorns jumped to an early lead in the first set with 13 kills and only two errors. Kansas was never able to build any momentum and trailed the entire set. The Longhorns hit .440 to Kansas’ .133 and won the set with a score of 25-14.

Set 2: Kansas came out fighting in the second set, tying the Longhorns 15-15 before taking a three-point lead. However, Eckerman stepped up, registering several kills to put the Longhorns ahead. The Longhorns hit .114 and turned in a match-high eight errors; however, Kansas hit .048 with nine errors. Texas narrowly edged the Jayhawks 25-22 after several key blocks by Allison and Bell toward the end of the second set.

Set 3: The Longhorns had some trouble in the third set and Kansas almost forced a fourth. However, 12 errors by the Jayhawks to the four by Texas doomed Kansas and led to the 26-24 Longhorn victory that gave the Longhorns the 3-0 victory. Kansas’ Carmichael led the Jayhawks to a 23-20 scoreline. However, Eckerman led a 4-1 run that tied the score 24-24. An error by the Jayhawks and block gave the match to Texas.

What’s next:
Texas will continue Big 12 play this Wednesday with Iowa State at 7 p.m. at Gregory Gym in Austin. Last season, the Longhorns went 2-0 against the Cyclones. In early October, Iowa State took the match to 5 sets, but Texas outlasted the Cyclones for the 3-2 win. Later during the season, Texas swept Iowa State when they visited Austin a month later. The Longhorns are 31-3 against the Cyclones and are 18-0 for matches played in Austin.