We make each other better

Courtesy of Texas Media Relations

The Texas volleyball players have received lots of individual accolades but realize the total team performance is what counts.

Some days while I'm in Gregory Gym at practice, I can't help but catch myself looking around at the people who surround me. Being able to play with and against other athletes at such a high caliber every single day in practice is a blessing.

We are able to make each other better, as well as ourselves, and it helps us figure out as a team the best way to score against other great players. All it takes is a quick glance down our roster to see that some of the most talented players are Longhorns:

Hannah Allison -- 2012 NCAA All-Tournament Team

Khat Bell -- 2012 All-America Honorable Mention, Defensive National Player of the Year

Haley Eckerman -- 2012 National Player of the Year

Molly McCage -- 2012 Big 12 All-Freshman Team

Even our freshmen are helping make us better each day. Chiaka Ogbogu earned Big 12 rookie of the week honors for the first two weeks of league play, and this week, I was fortunate enough to be named the conference offensive player of the week for the second time in my collegiate career.

Although the accolades we are blessed to receive can get quite a bit of attention, it’s not discussed much among our team. We are a team through and through, and none of these things would be possible without total team performances at each match.

Not only are there stellar athletes in our gym but also throughout the Big 12 Conference. Every match this season, our opponents have brought their "A" game in trying to upset Texas. Along the way, we've come across amazing players who have made it a challenge for us to keep the first-place standing in the Big 12.

Learning to play with a target on our backs is both new and foreign. Being a top-ranked team, opponents have always looked forward to playing us. Now that we’re the defending national champions -- even though we don’t look at ourselves that way since we’re focused on becoming the 2013 champions -- teams have matches against us circled on their calendars. We have seen some amazing competition, and that continues to make us a better team as we find ways to fight back.

The sport of volleyball has grown rapidly all over the country, and athletes everywhere are getting better while becoming more physical and versatile. I see it everywhere, including in our gym and in our opponents.

I can't wait to see what the game will look like a few years down the road.