OMAHA, Neb. (KXAN) — The Texas Longhorns will play for the NCAA volleyball championship on Saturday.
The top-seeded Longhorns turned away San Diego 3-1 in the semifinals at the CHI Health Center on Thursday and will take on Louisville for the championship Saturday night. The Cardinals beat Pittsburgh 3-2 in the other semifinal.
After San Diego won the first set 28-26, Texas claimed the remaining three 25-16, 25-18, 25-20 to advance. Madisen Skinner led the way with a match-high 17 kills and a .394 hitting percentage while Logan Eggleston notched 16 kills with nine digs and five blocks. Molly Phillips tied her season high with 14 kills to round out the Longhorns with double-digit kills.
Zoe Fleck had a match-high 21 digs and Saige Ka’aha’aina-Torres notched 46 assists for the Longhorns.
As a team, Texas hit .248 and held the Toreros to a .112 hitting percentage. The Longhorns had 12 blocks to San Diego’s eight and Texas tallied 59 kills against USD’s 45.
The first set was back and forth the entire way — neither team had more than a two-point lead the entire set. Following a service error that gave the Toreros set point, Skinner smacked a kill to tie the set at 25-25. The teams traded points to get the set to 26-26, but the Toreros scored two consecutive points, culminating on a tandem block by Grace Frohling and Leyla Blackwell to end it in favor of San Diego.
It took a while for the Longhorns to get things going in the second set, but after San Diego tied it at 12-12, Texas went on a 5-1 run buoyed by a pair of Phillips kills to make it 17-13. After e Frohling kill brought the Toreros within five points at 21-16, the Longhorns scored the last four points of the set to put it away.
Texas controlled the third set and held off an early rally by the Toreros, turning a 12-10 lead into a 15-10 behind two Eggleston kills. Texas scored the last three points of the set to win it.
San Diego jumped out to a 5-1 lead in the fourth set, but the methodical Longhorns tied the set after an Eggleston ace at 7-7. The teams traded points to work the set to a 13-13 tie, then Texas started to put distance between them and San Diego. Phillips had a clutch kill to make the score 22-19 Texas, and then the Longhorns went on a 3-1 flurry to claim their spot in the national title match.