Longhorn senior All-American setter Chloe Collins spent much of the 2016 NCAA Volleyball Tournament in the friendly confines of Gregory Gym. Friends, family, fans and fellow students surrounded the court as the two-time first-team All-Big 12 and All-Southwest Region performer helped lead Texas to four straight postseason wins, including a thrilling five-set victory over BYU.
|TEXAS CAREER ASSIST LEADERS|
|Michelle Moriarty (2004-07)||5,819|
|Jill Gremmel (1997-00)||4,250|
|Eva Murray (1983-86)||4,003|
|Chloe Collins (2013-)||3,641|
|Hannah Allison (2010-13)||3,604|
All along, Collins knew what was waiting if Texas won and traveled more than 1,200 miles to Columbus, Ohio, for her fourth-straight trip to the Final Four and second straight Championship Match appearance – a family reunion of sorts.
"Even though it was a long way from Austin, I knew if we made it to the Final Four I'd have a great support system there cheering me on," Collins said. "My family's originally from Indiana and Michigan, so a lot of them are driving to Columbus to see me play. Seeing them, and for them to have one more chance to see me play, especially for a National Championship, was extra motivation for me."
Collins' mother, Carolyn Givens, is from Muskegon, Michigan, and her father, Eugene Collins, is a Gary, Indiana native. A graduate of Cypress Woods High School, Collins has spent much of her life in Texas, but many of her relatives still reside in the Midwest.
"There were several of them in town for our win against Nebraska, and about 15 family members are coming in for the Championship Match," Collins said. "I think it's really awesome that my family is so close in the region and able to come support me. My grandparents drove up from Indiana, and it's always great to see them. It's going to be awesome looking into the crowd and seeing so many of my family members with all of the Longhorn fans on Saturday."
Collins, who will play her 114th career match on Saturday, moved into fourth place on the UT all-time assist list (3,641) with 37 assists in the win over Nebraska on Thursday. For her family, Saturday will be an opportunity to cheer on the dynamic setter one last time in a Longhorn jersey. This match, though, is for a National Championship. What better time and place for this family reunion?