Texas State women's volleyball team celebrates on the sidelines after scoring a point during a game against the University of Texas at Arlington, Saturday, Nov. 14, 2020, at Strahan Arena. The Bobcats lost 3-0 against the Mavericks.

After hoisting a third straight conference championship trophy and a third straight appearance at the NCAA Tournament, Texas State Volleyball comes into the 2021-22 season looking to build on previous success.

On their quest to win a fourth straight Sun Belt title, the Bobcats are bringing back their entire roster from last season, including six seniors. Two of those seniors, setter Brooke Johnson and middle blocker Tyeranee Scott, have opted to stay for the extra year of eligibility afforded to them because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

With four years of experience under her belt, Scott feels no pressure to lead the team this season.

“With all the experience I have from being here, I know the role of being a leader and what I can do to contribute to this team,” Scott says. "The girls make it so easy to be a leader because everyone just wants to work hard. At the end of the day, we all have the same goal.”

Texas State is the preseason favorite to win the West Division of the Sun Belt. Additionally, Scott, senior outside hitter Janell Fitzgerald and senior setter Emily DeWalt were all named to the Preseason All-Sun Belt Team.

Despite the return of the full team and optimistic preseason predictions, Head Coach Sean Huiet has continued preaching focus and consistency to his team throughout the offseason.

“It doesn't matter what jersey is on the other side,” Huiet says. "It doesn't matter if we're playing Texas; it doesn't matter if we're playing Baylor. It doesn't matter if it's South Alabama or Troy; we wanna be the same team all the time, and that will help us reach our goals”

During the 2020-21 season, only a limited number of fans were allowed inside Strahan Arena due to health measures in place because of the COVID-19 pandemic. These precautions could change for the upcoming season, as other programs in Texas have already announced their return to full capacity sporting eventsThe University Star reached out to Texas State Athletics on arena guidelines but have yet to receive a response.

Senior defensive specialist Kayla Granado says the possibility of fans returning at 100% capacity would be exciting. She believes the team would benefit from the crowd's energy.

“I think it's going to be really exciting to be able to have a full crowd this year,” Granado says. "It really makes a difference in those tight games when you can feel the energy from the crowd rooting for you ... I think we're really excited to get to have a crowd again and have a full house environment."

Huiet understands the goals and expectations that he and his team have for the upcoming season but is confident the team will continue to build on an already decorated volleyball program.

"We have a championship culture here, so our kids know what we expect and what it takes to win a championship," Huiet says. "We know we want to win the Sun Belt every year. This group wants to do something that we've never done at Texas State: they wanna be in the top 25 regularly, they want to go to the Sweet 16. It makes it easier on us as a coaching staff because that keeps them motivated ... Our goals are bigger than just winning the Sun Belt."

The season will officially kick off from Aug. 27-28 at the Dayton Invitational where the Bobcats will face the University of Kentucky and the University of Cincinnati on Aug. 27 and the University of Dayton on Aug. 28.

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