Tuesday, 26 September 2023

International Volleyball

Molly Phillips, who “doesn’t get enough credit,” primed for another Texas title run

Molly Phillips, who "doesn't get enough credit," primed for another Texas title run

Molly Phillips with the trophy in the middle of the Texas national-title celebration/Matt Smith photo

There’s no hiding Molly Phillips. After all, she is 6-foot-4.

But throughout her career, she’s always been the Texas volleyball X factor, the player who maybe you simply didn’t notice as much over the past four years, the silent assassion who has played alongside the likes of All-Americans Logan Eggleston and Brionne Butler and Skylar Fields and Asjia O’Neal.

“She doesn’t get enough credit,” O’Neal said. “She carries that well and still works extremely hard and doesn’t let it get to her. I think she deserves way more flowers than she gets. I love having her as a teammate.”

That’s not lost on coach Jerritt Elliott.

“I think there are players on each team that aren’t heavily scouted or undervalued in the opponents’ scouting report at times, and Molly’s one of those players that if you don’t pay attention to her, she can really hurt you,” Elliott said. 

“And she’s been that way for a long time.”

The numbers prove it. As Texas went 28-1 last season and 15-1 in the Big 12, en route to winning the NCAA championship, there was the aforementioned Eggleston, the VolleyballMag.com two-time national player of the year (407 kills, 4.28/set); Kentucky transfer Madisen Skinner (344 kills, 3.66); and O’Neal, who spent her spring and summer with the  USA national team in Volleyball Nations League (208 kills, 2.21/set).

And then there was Phillips, who had 200 kills (2.25/set) and second only to O’Neal with a .381 hitting percentage. Phillips was also fourth in blocks with 63. She has an uncanny knack for coming up with key kills at big times and hits a cross-court angle that is vicious.

“She’s the total package,” Elliott said. “She’s got a great work ethic, she’s a great teammate, and she loves being in school, which is even better.”

Had COVID not provided an extra year, she’d be done, “which I’m glad I’m not,” Phillips said with a laugh, “because that is a frightening, frightening thought.”

Texas, ranked No. 1 in the AVCA preseason poll, will rely heavily once again on Phillips, the product of Mansfield, Texas (about 30 miles southwest of Dallas), where she played club volleyball for Texas Image with TCU stellar outside Audrey Nalls and Kentucky middle Azhani Tealer.

“Molly’s one of those people you can rely on for anything,” O’Neal said. “She’s extremely…

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