University of Texas Volleyball | Texas Review | Ralph Arvesen
The Longhorns host Fairleigh Dickinson at 8:00pm at Gregory Gymnasium in Austin, Texas on December 1, 2022. (Photo: Ralph Arvesen)

The Matchup
Texas and Fairleigh Dickinson meet for the first time ever on Thursday in the NCAA First Round. The Longhorns have some history with one potential first round opponent, Georgia, but have never competed against Towson. Texas and Georgia have met six times, all in Austin, and the Longhorns have won all six meetings. The last time Texas and Georgia played was in 2008 and the teams have met twice in the postseason, in 1986 and 1992.

NCAA Tournament Talk
Texas is making its 39th NCAA Tournament appearance and has a 104-36 all-time record in the NCAA Tournament. The Longhorns are 34-0 in First Round matches and have advanced to 33 NCAA Regional Semifinals, 26 NCAA Regional Finals and 13 NCAA Semifinals. The Longhorns have won a total of three National Championships in program history. UT captured the AIAW National Championship in 1981 and also won NCAA Championships in 1988 and 2012.
Championship Pedigree
After clinching the 2022 Big 12 title, Texas has won 28 conference championships, including 15 Big 12 titles and 14 Southwest Conference Championships. The 2022 title is a record sixth-straight Big 12 Championship for the Longhorns, who have won or shared 11 of the last 12 league championships and 14 of the previous 16.

Big 12 Award Winners
Logan Eggleston is the Big 12 Player of the Year for the third-consecutive season, while Saige Ka’aha’aina-Torres is the Big 12 Setter of the Year, Zoe Fleck is the league’s Libero of the Year and Jerritt Elliott is the Coach of the Year for the ninth time in his career. Eggleston joins Longhorn great Haley Eckerman as a three-time Player of the Year, as Eckerman won the award from 2012-14. A Texas player has been named the league’s Player of the Year in 12 of the last 14 years. Fleck is also receiving her third-straight Libero of the Year Award after winning the Pac-12’s annual award in 2020 and 2021.

All-Big 12
For the first time in program history, Texas placed a record six players on the All-Big 12 First Team. The Longhorns’ award winners Logan Eggleston, Saige Ka’aha’aina-Torres and Zoe Fleck were joined by Asjia O’Neal, Molly Phillips and Madisen Skinner. Eggleston, O’Neal and Skinner were all unanimous selections to the first team.

Texas currently leads the country with a .337 hitting percentage, led by Asjia O’Neal, who ranks first nationally with a .468 hitting percentage. Last season Texas tied a program record and led the NCAA with a .343 team hitting percentage. That mark matches the 2007 team for the best in school history. The Longhorns have hit over a .300 clip in each of the last seven seasons from 2015-21, all ranking in the top-10 single season marks in program history.

Home Court Advantage
A large part of the Longhorns winning 11 of the last 12 Big 12 Championships has come down to winning at home. Over the last 13 seasons, Texas has produced a 190-12 (.941) record in home matches. In that same span, the Longhorns have gone 105-1 in home league matches. The Longhorns’ only home Big 12 loss since 2010 came against Oklahoma on Oct. 25, 2014. Texas has won 66-straight home matches in Big 12 play, dating back to the 2014 season. During that streak, the Longhorns have had 53 sweeps and only dropped a total of 17 sets.

Texas currently ranks fifth nationally and first in the Big 12, with a program record average attendance of 4,260. The Longhorns have had eight-straight sellouts at Gregory Gym and 10 overall this season. Last season Texas ranked fourth nationally, with an average attendance of 3,626. The Longhorns also set a single match Gregory Gym attendance record with a crowd of 5,080 for the NCAA Regional Final match against Nebraska. For the season, Texas had six crowds of more than 4,000 at Gregory Gym in 2021.

Ace Queen
Logan Eggleston became the Longhorns’ all-time leader in career aces, currently with 196 service aces, surpassing Mira Topic (2001-04) who had 185 service aces in her Texas career. Topic, who played in 432 career sets also holds the program record with 0.43 service aces per set. Eggleston is currently averaging 0.42 aces per set over her 472 career sets played. Eggleston is also chasing the Big 12 record of 205 career aces, held by Baylor’s Taylor Barnes (2006-09).

Three-Time Player of The Year
Logan Eggleston joined Haley Eckerman as the Longhorns’ only three-time Big 12 Players of the Year. Eggleston, who holds the Longhorns career aces record, ranks third all-time at Texas with 1,833 kills and 4,364 attempts, and fourth with 2,178 career points, just two points behind Destinee Hooker in third. Her 1,883 kills also rank eighth in Big 12 history.

The Fleck Effect
Zoe Fleck has made an instant impact this season, starting every match at libero and averaging 4.42 digs per set. Fleck is the Big 12 Libero of the Year Year after being named Big 12 Defensive Player of the Week three times this season. Texas has not had a player average 4-plus digs per set since Cat McCoy set a program record with 4.41 digs per set in 2017. McCoy, the Texas’ all-time career digs leader, was named Honorable Mention All-American in 2017 and to the All-Big 12 second team in 2015 and 2017.

In her first season as the Longhorns’ starting setter, Saige Ka’aha’aina-Torres has been named the Big 12 Setter of the Year. She quarterbacked the Texas offense to the nation’s top hitting percentage at .337, the second-most assists per set nationally at 13.76, and the fourth-most kills per set with 14.63. Ka’aha’aina-Torres also leads the Big 12 and ranks fifth nationally with 11.55 assists per set. In 2019 at Utah, Ka’aha’aina-Torres averaged 11.33 assists per set and led the Utes to the NCAA Regional Semifinal. She was named an Honorable Mention All-American in both 2019 and 2020.

Consistent Success
Texas has been the model of consistency for well over a decade now, being the only Division I volleyball program to have ended each of the last 16 seasons ranked in the top 10. The Longhorns have spent each of the last 203 AVCA polls ranked in the top 10, while the last time Texas was not ranked in the top 10 was Oct. 11, 2010. The Longhorns have also finished in the top 5 in 13 of the last 16 seasons, including 11-straight years from 2008-18. Texas also has the nation’s longest active streak of NCAA Regional Semifinal (“Sweet 16”) appearances with 16-straight. Of the last 16 regional semifinal appearances, the Longhorns have advanced to 15 NCAA Regional Finals, 10 National Semifinals and five National Championship matches.

Texas has spent the last five weeks ranked No. 1 in the AVCA Coaches’ Poll and 13 total weeks in the top spot this season. The Longhorns began the 2022 season as the No. 2 ranked team in the preseason poll before spending eight-straight weeks ranked No. 1. Texas appeared in the top four of the AVCA preseason poll for the 16th-consecutive season and was ranked in the top two spots for the ninth time in the last 16 seasons. Since 2019 the Longhorns have spent 35 total weeks ranked No. 1. Texas, who was picked first in the Big 12 Coaches’ Poll for the 12th consecutive year, is one of two Big 12 teams in the top-25 as Baylor checks in at No. 17.

The Roster
Texas returns seven players from the 2021 squad, including three All-Big 12 players, and welcomes one of the nation’s best recruiting classes featuring five freshmen and six transfers. The familiar faces of Logan Eggleston, Asjia O’Neal and Molly Phillips all return. Of the freshmen, three are top-50 ranked recruits with Emma Halter and Gatorade State Players of the Year Devin Kahahawai and Marianna Singletary. The group of transfers includes three players who have received All-America recognition, Zoe Fleck (UCLA/UCSB), Madisen Skinner (Kentucky) and Kayla Caffey (Nebraska/Missouri). The other three transfers all played significant roles at their previous schools, Jenna Ewert (Colorado), Bella Bergmark (Cal) and Keonilei Akana (Nebraska).

The Loss
The Longhorns were the country’s last remaining undefeated team before falling in five sets at Iowa State, snapping a 20-match regular-season winning streak dating back to last season. Texas last lost to Iowa State in 2016 in Ames, before rattling off eight-straight wins to advance to the national championship match and finishing runner up. Prior to that, the Longhorns lost to the Cyclones in 2012 in the regular season finale before going on to win the national championship. (Source: UT Athletics)

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