Meghan Houston

The Texas Sports staff sat down and compiled a list of six Longhorns to watch this season. One freshman, three sophomores, a junior and a senior made the cut of some of the Texas athletes who are each expected to make an impact on the field or in the pool.

 

Bailey Webster

The Longhorns volleyball team is looking to defend their national title from 2012. The Longhorns feature the No.5-ranked incoming freshman class in the nation, and return 11 letter winners and five of their six starters.

One of them is Bailey Webster, the top-ranked prospect from the class of 2009, and she will be returning for her senior season at Texas.

The outside hitter was monumental in the Longhorns’ national title in 2012. Webster was named the 2012 NCAA Women’s Volleyball Tournament’s Most Outstanding Player, and if the Longhorns are successful in their repeat tour, look for Webster to be leading the way.

Diego Contreras

 

Meghan Houston 

Sophomore diver Meghan Houston, had success following her freshman year that shows her potential to make an impact for the Texas diving team this season.

In May, Houston teamed with University of Georgia diver Laura Ryan for the three-meter synchronized diving event at the 2013 Canada Cup, finishing sixth. The duo also placed seventh in the USA Diving Grand Prix. As part of placing second in the USA World Diving trials, Houston and Ryan qualified for the World University Games in July, where they took home the bronze medal.

Brittany Lamas

 

Pilar Victoria Lopez

Incoming volleyball freshman Pilar Victoria Lopez is coming off a summer captaining the Puerto Rican U20 national team and will join the reigning national champions this fall as an outside hitter.

“She is a very smooth player that has the complete game. She has played at a very high level and her experience can help this team in 2013 and beyond,” said coach Jerritt Elliott when she signed with the Longhorns. 

Lopez played for both the Junior National Team and Adult National team in Puerto Rico and was named the country’s top volleyball prospect in 2012.

Brittany Lamas

 

Abby Smith 

As a freshman last year, Abby Smith was named All-Big 12 Second Team and was named to the Big 12 All-Newcomer team. Smith, who had the large task of replacing Alexa Gaul as goalkeeper, finished with five regular-season shutouts, good for second in Texas history for a freshman. In the post-season, Smith posted two more shutouts, tying the rookie record at Texas. 

At the start of the season, Smith missed the Longhorns’ first few games because she was playing with the U.S. U-20 World Cup Team. With experience under her belt, Smith will be crucial for the Longhorns. 

Sara Beth Purdy

 

Jonathan Holmes

As the only player left from Texas’ 2011 recruiting class and the team’s only upperclassman, Jonathan Holmes has shown loyalty to the program and will be asked to step up as the team’s leader. In 2012-2013, Holmes was one of the sole bright spots for a bad Texas team. He hit a buzzer-beating three-pointer to send the first meeting against West Virginia into overtime and was piecing together a productive season until a broken hand at Oklahoma forced him to miss five games. He struggled in all 11 contests after returning, but should be healed and ready to help carry the offense come November.

Drew Lieberman

 

Ioannis Papapetrou

After losing point guard Myck Kobongo to the NBA Draft and swingman Sheldon McClellan due to a transfer, the Longhorns will be looking for someone to fill the scoring void left behind.

Ioannis Papapetrou may be the candidate.

Papapetrou spent the last month of the summer playing for the Under-20 Greek national team, and led the team in scoring. He showed flashes in 2012, and if the Longhorns hope to move forward after a shaky season, Papapetrou will need to have a big year. 

Diego Contreras

Swimming and Diving finds success at World University Games

Several current and former Longhorns have found success at the World University Games this week. 

On day three of the competition, former Longhorn Laura Sogar captured bronze in the 100-meter breaststroke, just two seconds behind gold. Rising sophomore Meghan Houston, a diver, also won bronze a day earlier, on Thursday. Houston competed in the three-meter synchronized event with Laura Ryan, a diver from Georgia. Earlier, Houston finished 10th in the one-meter diving semifinals. 

Sogar will compete in the 200-meter breaststroke this weekend and the 50-meter breaststroke on Monday. 

Junior Jake Ritter placed seventh in the 400-meter freestyle event on Wednesday, his only event. Teammate Jack Conger, an incoming freshman, will compete in the 200-meter breaststroke and 100-meter butterfly on Sunday. 

Another former Longhorn, Austin Surhoff, will participate in the 4x200-meter freestyle relay this coming Monday. All are competing for Team USA. 

The Longhorns competed in the NCAA Zone “D” Diving Meet March 11-13 in Houston, as redshirt junior Maren Taylor and senior Shelby Cullinan qualified for the national competition.

Both divers won their spots on the opening day, taking a one-two finish in the 3m diving event. Taylor won the event with 709.60, and Cullinan finished behind her at 662.90. Cullinan narrowly secured the second spot, beating Cassie Weil of LSU by two tenths of a point. Senior Diana Wilcox finished tenth.

This is Taylor’s third NCAA appearance and Cullinan’s fourth.

Cullinan also won the platform diving event on the last day of competition, even though she had already secured a bid. Taylor came in fourth, followed by Wilcox in sixth.

Freshman Meghan Houston came close to her first NCAA trip, finishing fourth in the one-meter diving event. Houston had the chance because divers could only qualify once, but they still have to place in the top two for an event. Zone “D” only took seven divers and she would’ve been number eight.

The NCAA Championships will take place in Indianapolis beginning March 21, with Texas being represented by 10 individual swimmers, five relay teams and the two divers.

Junior Maren Taylor teamed up with future Longhorn Meghan Houston in the women’s 3-meter synchronized springboard final round at the US Olympic Diving Team trials Thursday evening. With a total score of 738.72 points, the duo finished 8th in the event.

Taylor and Houston scored 165 points in the final round of the event, a strong showing but not enough to move up in the rankings. Their final score was four points shy of sixth place.

Taylor is recovering from a dislocated elbow she sustained last year at the 2011 NCAA National Championship meet. The Olympic trials marked Taylor’s first competition since the injury.

Only the top pair in the event qualify for a spot on the Olympic team. Kelci Bryant from Minnesota and Abby Johnston from Duke will represent the US in the synchronized 3-meter event.

Former Longhorns Drew Livingston and Troy Dumais will compete in the final round of the men’s synchronized 3-meter springboard event Friday night at 8pm. Dumais will also compete in the final round of the individual 3-meter springboard event on Sunday.