Texas Longhorns’ Sweep of Georgia Bulldogs lands them in Regional Semifinals
Photo: Annie Rice/Lubbock Avalanche-Journal / USA TODAY NETWORK
Fresh off their first win and upset in the NCAA Division I Women’s Volleyball Tournament in 27 years against #8 Towson, the Georgia Bulldogs (23-7) came out strong as the first set started during the second round. Their lead quickly evaporated, and they never regained momentum in their three set loss (14-25, 16-25, 15-25) to the #1 Texas Longhorn (23-1). The win increases the Big 12 Texas’ all-time winning streak over SEC Georgia to 7-0.
The Longhorns racked up a total of 37 kills and nine aces in one game – a notable 22 aces in the first two rounds of tournament play.
All-Big 12 First Team winners, outside hitters Madisen Skinner and Logan Eggleston led the team in kills (9 each), with Eggleston marking 200 career aces and tying her career game high of five. The third-time All-Big 12 Player of the Year has only lost four games of 75 played on The Forty Acres.
Texas will return to the regional semifinals for 17th straight year, playing #4 seed Marquette on Thursday, December 8.
#1 Texas Longhorns Volleyball start their journey to Omaha with a decisive win over Fairleigh Dickinson
The #1 seeded Texas Longhorns (22-1) team kicked off their play against Fairleigh Dickinson University (17-15) in the 2022 NCAA Division I Women’s Volleyball Championship bracket Thursday evening in Gregory Gym as host of the first and second rounds. Lasting just over an hour, Texas dominated FDU from the outset taking the game in three sets. This is only the second time in program history the Big 12 Championship team has entered the tournament as a #1 seed after a near perfect season falling only once to Iowa State in five sets.
The Longhorn’s successful season has rode on the shoulders of six All-Big 12 First Team members Logan Eggleston (Big 12 Player of the Year), Zoe Fleck (Big 12 Libero of the Year), Saige Ka’aha’aina (Setter of the Year), Asjia O’Neal, Molly Phillips and Madisen Skinner and at the helm, Big 12 Coach of the Year, Jerritt Elliott. It has been a decade since Texas won a national championship and find themselves among perineal powerhouses like Wisconsin and Nebraska that round out the 32 seeded teams hoping to land in Omaha for the National Championship on December 17. Wisconsin looking for back-to-back titles and a Nebraska program that ousted Texas at home during the Austin regional of the tournament last year.
Texas will first have to beat a Georgia team tomorrow night that hasn’t played in the tournament since 1995 and upset Towson in Gregory earlier today. The Longhorns and Bulldogs will faceoff at 8PM at Gregory, the winner moving onto Regionals December 8-10.
Fate and Future: Key Takeaways from Sarkisian's 11/28 Presser
Today was a special and unique press conference for Texas HC Steve Sarkisian as he and his team just finished their 2022 regular season. With an 8-4 record, Sarkisian noted that it's only the "2nd time in the past 9 years that Texas has won 8 games" or more. He started off with his usual game recap, but this presser was anything other than "usual." There's a lot to break down, so let's start with the Baylor win.
Sarkisian opened up his game recap by stating that Friday "was exactly what they were hoping for" in regards to their seniors and getting the win to have a chance at making the Big 12 Championship. He thought that "resiliency was the key to the drill" and stated that they played "really good defense and ran the ball well." The Longhorns defeated the Bears 27-38 to finish the regular season.
Now to the good stuff.
Sarkisian was asked multiple questions regarding the transfer portal, NIL deals, recruiting etc. Starting with NIL, Sarkisian made his opinion very clear: "If you're choosing to come here [Texas] because of NIL, then you are coming here for the wrong reasons." Sark made it known throughout the presser that NIL is a part of the game and "is not going anywhere" but emphasized how he and the University of Texas "take pride in what this university stands for" while stating how they "have to make sure we are doing it in the right way." With the transfer portal, Sarkisian mentioned how it's an area that they "have to adapt to" and even compared the portal and recruiting to the NFL in its similarity to "free agency" as it "gives you a little bit of that NFL feel." Sticking with the recruiting topic, Sarkisian noted how his squad is "still going to recruit hard in the month of December" and used the quote "sometimes the grass appears greener on the other side..." when referencing new players coming to Texas and having to compete with the guys already here who may be more talented than the newcomer.
Moving over to conversations regarding the bowl game and specifics of UT players, the second year head coach stated that their "first five or so practices of bowl prep will be like spring ball mentality" and how the "second half of the practices... will be dedicated to more game planning." When asked about potential players sitting out of the bowl game, Sarkisian expressed how he "hate(s) it for them [the players] that they have to make that choice." He mentions that the "reality is all of them deep down want to play... for some guys, they should play... for other guys, maybe it is in their best interest not to play". He also highlighted how for some players it could be used to get more reps and things for that matter.
Moving to individual players, Sarkisian was asked about WR Xavier Worthy's status with Texas, as the star wideout deleted all things Texas from his Instagram a few days ago: "he is a highly competitive young man... his best days are ahead of him" and mentions how he understands Worthy's frustration at times this year, stating "I would much rather have a receiver that's frustrated that he didn't contribute more to a win than a guy who's content of going on the field and playing and the ball not coming his way because I think he values his ability to get open. I do too." Also asked about RB Bijan Robinson and LB Jaylan Ford, Sark believes that "If we [Texas] were 10-2 right now and playing for a Big 12 Championship and maybe on the cusp of the College Football Playoff, I think there'd be no question this guy would be in New York for the Heisman" referring to Bijan. With Ford, Sark highlighted how he has created a turnover in 6 straight games and says he performs "at critical moments in the game."
Lastly, Sarkisian was asked on his thoughts regarding the games the Longhorns lost this season, the conversations regarding penalty calls, and the enormity of his job. Sark mentioned how he wishes his team "just played better" against TCU and declares himself as his "biggest critic." He also touched on the importance of the run game and how that affected the ability of the defense to stay "fresh" in some games this year. Regarding what seems like a lack of penalties called against his opponents this season, Sarkisian said "at the end of the day, you play the hands you're dealt" and thought his team handled the calls a lot better on Friday against Baylor. Regarding his job as the head coach, Sarkisian expressed his passion: "I love what I get to do everyday... I am so fortunate and blessed to have this opportunity... I eat this up... I get to do what I love, and I love what I do."
Texas now awaits to see who they will play in their bowl game and final game of their 2022 season.