OMAHA, Neb. (KXAN) — The NCAA volleyball championship is coming back to Austin.
The top-seeded Texas Longhorns swept the Louisville Cardinals in the national championship match Saturday at the CHI Health Center. It’s the third time the Longhorns have won the NCAA volleyball title and the first since 2012. Set scores were 25-22, 25-14, 26-24.
“They’ve just been so great all year long. We haven’t had any problems. Everyone just wanted to win,” Texas head coach Jerritt Elliott said.
In the past 14 years, Texas has been in the national championship match six times with the last time in 2020 when they fell to Nebraska. In 2012, Texas topped Oregon in three sets to win the national title. It’s the third NCAA championship in Texas’ history with the first coming in 1988. Before that, Texas won the AIAW title in 1981.
Senior Logan Eggleston showed why she was named the national player of the year, notching a match-high 19 kills with a .341 hitting percentage. Madisen Skinner poured in 12 kills with only one error and Asjia O’Neal had nine kills without an error. Each of them also chipped in three blocks.
“This is the group of people I wanted to do it with, and this is how I wanted to end my career,” Eggleston said after the match. “This is what I’ve dreamed of since I was a little kid. I’m beyond happy. We’re a family.”
Eggleston had 10 of her 19 kills in the first set to help set the tone for the match. She was named to the all-tournament team and was the Final Four’s most outstanding player.
Down 24-22, the Longhorns went on a 4-0 run to end the third set and seal the national title. Keonilei Akana’s serve glanced off the arms of Lousiville’s Claire Chaussee and sailed into the stands, sending the Longhorns into a dogpile in the middle of the floor.
It looked like the Cardinals seized the match’s momentum in the third set, breaking a 21-21 tie with a 3-1 flurry to get it to set point behind two kills by Anna DeBeer and another by Chaussee. Texas clawed back, however, taking advantage of an O’Neal kill to get the serve back. With Akana at the service line, Louisville had an attack error that tied the set at 24-24, and then Eggleston hammered a kill to get the match to championship point. That set the stage for Akana’s ace to clinch the win.
Texas hit .371 for the match, nearly 40 points above their season average, and held the Cardinals to a .189 hitting percentage.
Saige Ka’aha’aina-Torres had 37 assists and nine digs while Zoe Fleck had 14 digs with a pair of service aces for the Longhorns. Kayla Caffey had four blocks to lead the Longhorns at the net.
Along with Eggleston, Ka’aha’aina-Torres, O’Neal and Skinner were named to the Final Four’s all-tournament team.
There will be a tower-lighting ceremony on the UT campus at 5:30 p.m. Sunday and fans are invited to attend.