Veteran McCage looks to lead Longhorns to national championship

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With Haley Eckerman and Khat Bell gone, senior middle blocker Molly McCage showed she could fill the void this weekend, posting 22 kills and 14 total blocks in the first three games of the season.
Photo Credit: Daulton Venglar | Daily Texan Staff

As senior middle blocker Molly McCage enters her final year with the Longhorns, her accolades and awards speak for themselves. 

McCage has been named to the 2015 All-Big 12 Preseason Team and the 2014 AVCA All-America Third Team, as well as earning 2013 All-Big 12 First Team honors. She was a 2014 AVCA All-Region honoree and was named the 2012 Big 12 Preseason Freshman of the Year. And when you put this on top of McCage’s three consecutive Final Four appearances and one national championship, it’s clear McCage is one of the most decorated players in Longhorn history.

“These teams I’ve been a part of have all been so talented over my time here,” McCage said. “Every single year it’s very different, but we still expect to make a Final Four and compete for a championship.”

During the championship run in 2012, McCage was a freshman for the Longhorns, making 26 starts in 30 matches. Coming into Texas, she was named the Big 12 Preseason Freshman of the Year after being ranked No. 1 nationally by Prep Volleyball out of high school. The 2012 season ended in storybook fashion for McCage, as she set a game-high with eight blocks in the national championship match, a 3–0 Texas victory over the Oregon Ducks.

“My freshman year, winning was amazing,” McCage said. “But I came in as a freshman. I didn’t know what to expect, but from there on out, competing for a championship was something that was expected.”

Early in her senior season, McCage now fills a different role for Texas than she did coming into the program in 2012. Having had the opportunity to learn the ropes of collegiate volleyball from Texas All–Americans such as opposite hitters Haley Eckerman and Bailey Webster, it’s now time for McCage to take on the role of knowledgeable veteran and help lead the Longhorns team. 

“Molly is somebody that leads by example,” head coach Jerritt Elliott said. “She’s been to three Final Fours and one national championship, so she has a lot of experience. That 2012 group came in with a big class, and she’s been helping out this class by sharing what they went through and what they remember from their freshman year.”

While some may shy away from the role of a mentor to younger players, McCage embraces it, relishing the opportunity to help shape the players who are primed to be the future of Texas volleyball.

“I know a lot of [the younger players] look up to us,” McCage said. “I like taking care of them, and I think they’re great people. Leading them is fun — it’s not a hassle to lead this team.”

With one more year left to make her imprint on the history of Texas, McCage has an opportunity to cap off an already-illustrious career with one more national title. There’s a long way to go until the NCAA regionals in December, but McCage is eager to take one more shot at winning her second national title.

“I’ve got one last year, and I want to leave with another championship,” McCage said. “I don’t want to leave here with just one.”