• Volleyball begins transition to spring season

    Texas Volleyball already has its sights set on fighting back to a third straight national championship appearance. 

    The program released the 2017 spring season schedule on Monday. The Longhorns will open their season by traveling to Houston on April 8 for the F.A.S.T. Tournament. The following weekend, Texas will travel to Dallas to compete at the Collegiate Showcase Tournament. 

    The Longhorns will wrap up the spring season with a home game at Gregory Gym on Tuesday, April 18 against North Texas. 

    The Longhorns lost starting setter Chloe Collins and the team’s second-leading hitter in Paulina Prieto Cerame after they signed to play professionally overseas. However, Texas will return two First Team All-Americans in Ebony Nwanebu and Micaya White. The Longhorns also boast what is arguably the top recruiting class in the nation. 

    The Longhorns’ commits include the nation’s No. 1 recruit according to PrepVolleyball, Lexi Sun, as well as No. 2 Brionne Butler and No. 6 Ashley Shook. 

    Although the Longhorns have faced heartbreak in back-to-back national championship defeats, Texas has no time to hang its head. Head coach Jerritt Elliott will have yet another solid squad that has the potential to reach the national championship yet again. 

    —Alex Briseno

  • Longhorns dominate then struggle at ITA Tournament

    Texas had two performances on the opposite side of the spectrum this weekend.

    Chapel Hill, North Carolina, hosted one of 15 four-team tournaments across the country with the winner of each advancing to the ITA National Team Indoor Championships on Feb. 10–13 at Yale University. 

    The Longhorns took a huge stride toward nationals after a convincing victory over Columbia in the first round.

    Columbia jumped out to a 1-0 lead after posting two wins at the first and second doubles positions.

    After doubles, the Longhorns depended on singles, which consisted of a couple of debuts for freshmen Bianca Turati and Petra Granic. 

    “Having lost the doubles point to an excellent and well-coached Columbia team, the pressure on our lineup for the singles was intense,” second-year Texas head coach Howard Joffe said. “Even more daunting was having three freshmen debut in our top four spots.”

    But senior Neda Koprcina, sophomore Katie Poluta as well as the freshmen all prevailed, giving the Longhorns the 4-1 victory. 

    The Longhorns followed up Saturday’s win with a championship matchup against No. 2 North Carolina (4–0).

    With a birth to nationals in New Haven, Connecticut, on the line, the Tar Heels didn’t leave any room for error on Sunday afternoon. North Carolina got off to a quick 1-0 lead after earning the doubles point. 

    The Tar Heels didn’t let up. Texas failed to get on the board after getting shut out in singles as well, giving the Tar Heels the at-large berth at the ITA National Championship. 

    The Longhorns will look to get back on track Feb. 5 when they travel to Michigan.

  • Freshman takes home conference award after stellar outing in Arkansas

    Danish freshman Christian Sigsgaard earned his first Big 12 Men’s Tennis Player of the Week award Tuesday after impressive performances against Tulsa and Arkansas last weekend. 

    Sigsgaard defeated the No. 3 ranked player in the nation — Arkansas’ Mike Redlicki — on Sunday. Redlicki triumphed at the 2016 USTA/ITA National Indoor Intercollegiate Championships last November. 

    Sigsgaard climbed to No. 6 in the ITA rankings with the upset victory. He holds a 20–4 career record as a Longhorn, but his success started long before he set foot on the 40 Acres. 

    He’s a three-time national singles champion and a four-time national doubles champion in his home nation of Denmark. He’s represented the Danes twice at the Davis Cup as well, where he beat world No. 86 Nikoloz Basilashvili in 2015. 

    Though he has a bright future ahead, the freshman remains focused on leading the Longhorns to many more victories throughout his stay at Texas. He’ll have an opportunity to do so this weekend when Texas hosts the ITA Kick-Off Weekend dual-match play event. 

    Sigsgaard and his teammates look to build upon their 4–1 overall record while protecting their 2–0 at-home record at Weller Indoor Tennis Center here in Austin.

  • Texas tennis hits the road, hoping to keep perfect record intact

    The No. 4 Longhorn men (3–0) travel to Tulsa, Oklahoma this weekend, looking to remain undefeated in their battle against the Golden Hurricane. Texas triumphed over Tulsa with a 4-2 count victory during their last meeting in Austin on Mar. 26.

    After battling Tulsa, Texas heads to Fayetteville, Arkansas to take on the Razorbacks. Head coach Michael Center hopes to build off the Longhorns’ recent 4-1 win against Southern Methodist. 

    “We just had a challenge at SMU and we expect the same from Tulsa and Arkansas this weekend,” Center said. “We want to find out how good we can be, and we’re excited to learn more about our team in Tulsa and Fayetteville.”

    Danish freshman Christian Sigsgaard aims to lead the Longhorns to victory against the Golden Hurricane — he currently ranks No. 6 in the nation. With help from his teammates, Sigsgaard can lead Texas to a perfect 4–0 start to the season.

    “It’s still early in the season and we’re trying to figure some things out, but the guys continue to come in and compete and work hard,” Center said. “I think our team will continue to grow.”

  • Cox, Smith earn individual honors amongst team success

    After a hot start to the season, including wins over ranked teams in Georgia and Auburn, two individual members of the men’s and women’s swims team have been recognized for their performances. Seniors Clark Smith and Madisyn Cox were both named National Swimmers of the Week.

    Smith, the son of former Longhorn and U.S. Olympic swimmer Tori Trees and former NCAA champion and Texas alumnus John Smith, won the award for the second time. Cox earned her fourth career Swimmer of the Week honor.

    Cox’s effort against Georgia contributed greatly to a historic upset, shattering the Bulldogs’ 103-meet win streak at home. Cox and the Longhorns handed Georgia its first home loss since 1995. The Lubbock native won the 200-yard freestyle, the 200-yard breaststroke and the 200-yard IM while also being a key member of the meet-opening 200-yard medley relay team.

    Smith contributed to the team win with victories in the 1,000-yard freestyle, in which he owns the American record, and in the 500-yard freestyle, an event he triumphed in at the 2015 NCAA Championship.

    Smith, Cox and the Longhorn men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams resume dual-meet competition on Jan. 27 when they host Arizona for a two-day dual meet.

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