UT eyes longer Sweet 16 streak

Vic­tory Fri­day would put Texas one step from reach­ing NCAA vol­ley­ball’s Fi­nal Four. Se­nior’s hu­mor cracks up friends, but ath­letic skills break down foes.

Austin American-Statesman - - C SPORTS - By Steve Ha­bel Amer­i­can-states­man Cor­re­spon­dent NCAA back page states­man. com/longhorns. By Rick Cantu rcantu@states­man.com

Through­out this sea­son, the Texas vol­ley­ball team has fo­cused on its “one point at a time, one match at a time” mantra. It has al­lowed the Longhorns to stay rooted in the present while keep­ing the car­rot of a re­turn trip to the Fi­nal Four at arm’s length.

But now, there is no to­mor­row — or Fi­nal Four, or a shot at the na­tional cham­pi­onship — if the third-seeded Longhorns don’t get past 14thseeded Florida on Fri­day.

The Longhorns (25-4) and Ga­tors (27-4) are the late match of the Sweet 16 at the Austin Re­gional. The win­ner will face the win­ner of the first match — USC-Wi­chita State — Satur­day night for a berth in next week’s Fi­nal Four in Louisville.

Texas has won six straight Sweet 16 matches. The Longhorns swept Florida ear­lier this sea­son on a neu­tral court, though only a com­bined seven points de­cided the three sets.

“We’ve ap­proached the en­tire sea­son one match at a time,” Texas coach Jer­ritt El­liott said. “We know this is a very tough bracket to come out of. We know what Florida can do and we’ve pre­pared for that. We have our hands full.” Get more Longhorns cov­er­age at

SEthan Fry’s value to Cedar Park’s foot­ball team ex­tends be­yond his abil­ity to move the chains on of­fense. Coach Joe Wil­lis talks en­thu­si­as­ti­cally about the se­nior

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DEB­O­RAH CAN­NON / AMER­I­CAN-STATES­MAN

Cedar Park se­nior wide­out Ethan Fry (7) is all about tak­ing care of busi­ness while play­ing the role of the Tim­ber­wolves’ key play­maker. He has com­bined for 837 rush­ing and re­ceiv­ing yards with seven touch­downs this sea­son.

JOHN RAOUX / AP

Texas A&M quar­ter­back Johnny Manziel ar­rives for the col­lege foot­ball awards show in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. He walked away with the O’Brien Award as the na­tion’s top quar­ter­back.

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