Horns Illustrated

Volleyball lands former Illinois libero Morgan O’Brien as graduate transfer


Libero Morgan O'Brien is transferred to Texas from the University of Illinois, where she earned her undergraduate degree in just three years (photo courtesy of fightingillini.com).

AUSTIN, Texas – Texas volleyball head coach Jerritt Elliott bolstered his 2020-21 roster Thursday with the addition of libero/defensive specialist Morgan O’Brien, a graduate transfer from Illinois.

“Morgan brings experience and talent to our libero position,” Elliott said in a statement released through the UT athletic department. “She will compete from day one and make our backcourt exciting to watch and tough to compete against.”

O’Brien said she chose to transfer to Texas for reasons based on her academic goals as much as for her aspirations on the court.

“I chose to come to Texas because I knew that it would be a great place to challenge me academically, while working on my Master’s (in health behaviors and health education),” O’Brien said. “I am really excited to train and compete with a group of people that share the same passion for volleyball as me.”

O’Brien played in 94 matches over three seasons at Illinois, collecting 1,202 digs (an average of 3.41 per set), 265 assists and 79 aces. She heads to Austin with a pair of Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week awards on her résumé. Her best defensive match might have been in October 2018 when she racked up a career-high 32 digs — tying for seventh-highest single-match total in Illinois program history — in a win at then-No. 9 Nebraska.

O’Brien helped the Illini reach the national semifinals in 2018, a season which started all 36 matches and led her team with 571 digs, or 4.33 per set.

She heads to Austin armed with a B.S. degree in community health, which she earned in just three years while picking up Big Ten Distinguished Scholar and Academic All-Big Ten honors.

Two international players will delay their arrival at Texas because of travel difficulties caused by COVID-19. Melanie Parra, of Sinaloa, Mexico, and Adhuoljok Malual, of Roma, Italy, will join the Longhorns in the 2021 spring semester.

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