Texas in the NCAA Women’s Volleyball Finals for the eighth time

Texas in the NCAA Women’s Volleyball Finals for the eighth time

Texas in the NCAA Women’s Volleyball Finals for the eighth time

OMAHA, Neb. — The Texas Longhorns women’s volleyball team is in familiar territory: Back in the NCAA championship game.

Texas, the No. 1 of the tournament, beat the San Diego Toreros 3-1 on Thursday to advance to Saturday’s final, where the Longhorns will meet the Louisville winner against Pitt.

This will be the Longhorns’ eighth appearance in the NCAA title game, tying them at UCLA for the fourth time. Only Stanford (17), Penn State (10) and Nebraska (10) have played more for the NCAA championship. Texas won NCAA titles in 2012 and 1988 and last won the AIAW championship in 1981.

The Longhorns have knocked on the door several times since their last NCAA title ten years ago, including their final loss two seasons ago to Kentucky here in Omaha. But they hope to walk through that door this year.

“It’s about managing our emotions,” Texas coach Jerritt Elliott said of preparing for the championship. “I have a lot of faith in this group in terms of routines. I was really impressed with their resilience and the way they want to fight. They really want to earn this thing, and now they have the opportunity.”

Texas’ only loss this season came 3-2 at Iowa State on October 19. But he lost the first set in five games, including on Thursday 28-26. The Longhorns won all of those games, finishing off the Toreros 25-16, 25-18, 25-20.

“The first set wasn’t our perfect set,” said Texas opposite hitter Molly Phillips. “It’s great to go out and play perfect volleyball and blow a team away. But it’s an even better feeling not to play the perfect game, get through the tough times and beat a team in four sets like that.”

Madisen Skinner led Texas with 17 kills, Logan Eggleston had 16 and Phillips 14. Thursday’s semifinal match pitted a Texas program that was in its 14th NCAA Finals against a San Diego program in its first. The Toreros were the No. 2 seed in their region and defeated top seed Stanford on the Cardinal’s home field in the elite eight. San Diego finished the season 31-2.

“What an incredible season for San Diego volleyball,” said the Toreros’ Jennifer Petrie, who was named the AVCA’s Division I Coach of the Year, on Thursday. “I couldn’t be more proud of these girls. … The belief they had that we deserved to be here. We earned the right to be here, and we made a statement for it. Kudos to Texas, that’s a person very, very good team. The one we pushed tonight and with which we fought.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *