In volleyball, there appears to be only two contenders for the Big 12’s freshman of the year award.
On Monday, the conference announced that Texas’ Micaya White and West Virginia’s Payton Caffrey had split the weekly honor given by the conference to its top freshman. White and Caffrey are the only freshmen who have won the award this season, as each outside hitter has been honored three times.
Caffrey had a match-high 26 kills when West Virginia hosted Texas last week, but White guided Texas to a 3-1 win with her 18 kills. Through Wednesday, Caffrey ranked second in the Big 12 in kills (4.88 per set) while White was third (4.57). White, who was sidelined last year by a leg injury, boasts a better hitting percentage than Caffrey (.308 to .238).
White contributed a career-high 26 kills on Wednesday as Texas improved to 3-0 in Big 12 play with a four-set coup in Oklahoma.
Off and running: After both of its cross-country teams opened this season with wins, Texas will face its next test at Friday’s Notre Dame Invitational.
The Texas women are expected to be joined by three of the nation’s five best teams — Providence, New Mexico and North Carolina State — at the meet, while the men must race against highly-ranked teams from Eastern Kentucky and UTEP. The five-mile race also will be significantly longer for the men, who competed on five-kilometer courses in their first two races. The women will run five kilometers after opening with 3,200-meter and three-kilometer meets.
“It’s kind of like the Notre Dame football game,” Texas distance coach Brad Herbster said. “The season mattered right then and there. This one race effects what we do the next race, but it sets us up to do great things.”
Texas senior Sandie Raines, who won her race at the Texas Invitational on Sept. 16, will be sidelined this weekend by an illness. But Destiny Collins, the prize of Texas’ 2016 recruiting class, will make her collegiate debut.
Record performance: The Texas women bested host Furman by two strokes at the Lady Paladin golf tournament last week to secure its first victory since 2011. The triumph in South Carolina gave third-year coach Ryan Murphy his first win with the program.
Freshman Emilee Hoffman topped the individual leaderboard with a six-under performance during the three-round competition. Playing in her second collegiate tournament, Hoffman tied a school record with the 65 she carded during the first round. Former Longhorns standout Madison Pressel also shot a 65 at the Stanford Intercollegiate during the 2009-10 season.
Hoffman’s score, though, was seven-under-par. Pressel was six-under when she shot her 65.
Back home: After opening Big 12 play with a tie at Baylor and a 2-1 loss on the road against Oklahoma, Texas’ soccer team is back home for two matches this weekend. Texas (6-4-1, 0-1-1) hosts Oklahoma State (5-5-2, 0-2) on Friday and then Kansas (6-3-2, 1-0) on Sunday.
Texas has gone 5-2 at home, where the Longhorns have scored 16 of their 21 season goals.