AUSTIN (KXAN) — There’s only one team that isn’t a No. 1 seed in its region headed to the NCAA volleyball national semifinals, and that’s the defending national champion Texas Longhorns.
The second-seeded Longhorns avenged an early-season loss to top-seeded Stanford 3-1 in the regional final Saturday at Maples Pavilion in Palo Alto, California. Texas will play Wisconsin on Thursday in Tampa, Florida. It’s the 15th time in school history that Texas has made it to the national semifinals.
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Set scores were 25-16, 15-25, 25-19 and 25-22.
Madisen Skinner put the Longhorns on her back in the deciding set, hammering eight of her match-high 24 kills in the frame with a service ace to lift them to victory. Asjia O’Neal had 10 kills with five blocks while Bella Bergmark and Molly Phillips combined for 12 blocks.
Texas was much more efficient in its attack compared to Stanford, getting 50 kills with a .342 hitting percentage. Stanford had 59 kills but hit .278, well below their national-leading average of .318. The Cardinal had 20 attacking errors to Texas’ 11 and the Longhorns hit 61 percentage points higher than their .281 season average.
Stanford had 14 service errors in the match while Texas had seven. Ella Swindle had 41 assists and 11 digs for Texas while Emma Halter had 13 digs.
Nebraska and Pittsburgh will face off in the other semifinal Thursday. The semifinal winners will play for the national championship at 2 p.m., Dec. 17.