OMAHA, Neb. – No. 1 Texas Volleyball punched its ticket to the final of the NCAA Championship game after the Longhorns defeated San Diego in four-sets, 26-28, 25-16, 25-18, 25-20, on Thursday in the NCAA National Semifinal at CHI Health Center.
Texas (27-1), the No. 1 overall seed at the NCAA Tournament, advances to its ninth National Championship match and will face fellow No. 1 seed and nationally ranked No. 4 Louisville after the Cardinals battled out a five-set 3-2 win against No. 2 seed Pittsburgh. The championship game is on Saturday at 7:00 p.m. ET and broadcast live on ESPN1.
Texas had to fight for the win in a thrilling contest on Thursday after it dropped the first set in extra points. The Longhorns who started slowly were held to their second-lowest hitting percentage of the season at .248 but out-blocked San Diego 12-9 and held the Toreros to their worst-hitting night of the season at .112.
Madisen Skinner led the way for Texas with 17 kills, hitting .394 in the match and adding four digs and three blocks. Logan Eggleston finished with 16 kills, nine digs, a team-high five blocks and one service ace.
Molly Phillips tied her career-high with 14 kills, while taking a career-high 34 swings. Asjia O’Neal finished with five kills and four blocks, and Bella Bergmark had two kills and four blocks.
Saige Ka’aha’aina-Torres had a great match with 46 assists, 11 digs, four kills and two blocks.
Zoe Fleck led the back line with 21 digs and chipped in five assists.
San Diego won the first set 28-26 as both teams struggled to find consistency to start the match. The Longhorns hit .056, had 11 attack errors and four service errors in the opening set.
The Longhorns bounced back in a big way in the second set, tying the match up with a 25-16 win. Texas hit .333 in the set and was led by Phillips with six kills.
Texas led start-to-finish in the third set, jumping out to an 8-3 lead and never turning back. Bergmark came off the bench in the third set and had made a big impact with four blocks and a clutch kill.
In the fourth set, San Diego jumped out to a 4-0 lead and were up 5-1 before the Longhorns put together a 7-2 run to take the lead in the set. It was a battle all the way until the end but Texas was able to pull ahead late.