Photo credit: Mikala Compton/American-Statesman / USA TODAY NETWORK
A rocky start that led to multiple set points didn’t prevent the #1 ranked and seeded Texas Longhorns from settling into play after the initial set loss and winning the match 3-1 against the San Diego Toreros. The intense, competitive play brought by the underdog followed their upset win against Stanford and one-loss season record that landed them in Omaha against the Longhorns.
Texas, who has only lost three sets of 18 in the postseason, found themselves mired in errors in the first set and uncharacteristically many were assigned to the senior and highly-talented, Logan Eggleston (OH), who seemed to be plagued until finding her groove and earning a total 16 kills and a personal season high five blocks. But the Longhorns wouldn’t be one match away from a national title if they didn’t have a battle-tested team of star players that burn on even when one is a little dim.
Madisen Skinner, a transfer from Kentucky, led the team with 17 kills and Molly Philips earned 14. In combination, the Longhorns racked up 59 kills to the Toreros 45. Credit to the offensive orchestrator, Saige Ka’aha’aina-Torres, whose 46 assists far outpaced San Diego setter, Gabby Blossom. While the Texas service game wasn’t as strong as it has been in the postseason, the team’s defense was comprised of 12 blocks and 58 digs, 21 of which were secured by All-Big 12 Libero of the Year and First Team AVCA All American, Zoe Fleck.
Texas advances to the National Championship game on Saturday, December 17, at 7PM to play the winner of Pitt-Louisville. The Longhorns haven’t won a title since 2012 but have made it to the final three times since, only to leave the tournament as runner up.