AUSTIN (KXAN) – Having made 10 of the last 15 final fours heading into the year, Texas volleyball making it now of 11 of 16 won’t surprise many people. But when you consider how things started for the Longhorns, there were certainly moments of doubt.
The reigning national champions lost three of their first eight games. Since then, they’ve lost just once.
“I’ve never been a part of a team that has grown this much in such a short period of time,” said Big 12 Player of the Year and Junior Outside Hitter Madisen Skinner. “Obviously we always have faith we’re going to make it to the end but it’s been hard at times to see the ways we need to improve.”
After Texas beat Stanford Saturday evening to clinch a spot in Tampa, Florida for the Final Four, Longhorns Head Coach Jerritt Elliott also mentioned how this group has grown as much as any in his time leading the program.
“I think the way we started off the season at 5-3 in trying to get some new pieces and getting healthy was a big part of this,” said Elliott. “Really proud of our group for sticking together and working every day in the gym.”
Texas will look to defend its national title first against Wisconsin. The third-ranked Badgers will take on the Longhorns Thursday at 8:30 p.m. with the winner facing the victor of Nebraska and Pitt.
The turnaround for the Longhorns with just a couple days rest and lots of travel is not easy. Texas, who left for Tampa Tuesday, knows how important it is to recharge their batteries.
“The big key is just getting them a good nap,” said Elliott. “And when you walk into that arena, all the adrenaline takes over anyway. It is more keeping them calm in that situation.”