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No. 5-seeded Texas volleyball opens NCAA Tournament play on Thursday

The Big 12 champions will face off against Stephen F. Austin at 7 p.m. Central on Longhorn Network.

Texas volleyball

A 20-4 regular season against the nation’s toughest schedule that included 15 wins and only one loss on the way to the school’s 11th Big 12 championship, No. 5-seeded Texas Longhorns volleyball will open NCAA Tournament play on Thursday at Gregory Gym against the Stephen F. Austin Ladyjacks.

Head coach Jerritt Elliott’s squad hasn’t lost since a 3-1 defeat against Kansas in Lawrence on October 10, so Texas brings a 10-match winning streak into Thursday evening’s contest against Stephen F. Austin.

The regular-season success earned the program widespread recognition earlier this week, as junior Micaya White was named Big 12 Player of the Year, freshman Logan Eggleston was named Big 12 Freshman of the Year, and Elliott was named Big 12 Coach of the Year. Three more players made the All-Big 12 first team.

The powerful Longhorns enter the match with the nation’s third-highest hitting percentage, behind only BYU and Stanford.

Texas will face a Stephen F. Austin program that only has one win in eight previous matches in the head-to-head series. However, the Ladyjacks have the nation’s longest winning streak — 29 matches — and have only lost twice all season to earn the program’s first NCAA Tournament bid since 2006. And Stephen F. Austin has the blockers to potentially cause problems for the big hitters for Texas like White and Eggleston, as the Ladyjacks rank fourth nationally in opponent hitting percentage and No. 12 in total blocks.

The opening match airs on Longhorn Network at 7 p.m. Central. The winner of Thursday’s second match will face the winner of Texas State-Rice on Friday at 8 p.m. Central on Longhorn Network.