Texas sweeps Oregon for women's NCAA volleyball title

Texas women 3, Oregon 0

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Bailey Webster had 14 kills, Haley Eckerman added 12 and third-seeded Texas swept Oregon on Saturday night for its first NCAA volleyball championship since 1988.

Texas' Bailey Webster (right) had 14 kills in the Longhorns' sweep of Oregon. Texas finished with a .438 hitting percentage. Oregon's was .202.   GARRY JONES/ASSOCIATED PRESS
GARRY JONES/ASSOCIATED PRESS
Texas' Bailey Webster (right) had 14 kills in the Longhorns' sweep of Oregon. Texas finished with a .438 hitting percentage. Oregon's was .202.

The Longhorns won 25-11, 26-24, 25-19.

Texas (29-4) has been a recent regular at volleyball’s Final Four, making its fourth appearance in five years and playing in its first title game since 2009, when the Longhorns lost to Penn State in five sets after leading 2-0.

This time they took care of business for their second title in four tries, recording their third sweep in the past four matches.

Webster, a first-team AVCA All-American, helped the Longhorns on defense as well with four blocks and keyed a second-set comeback. She was the tournament’s most outstanding player.

Liz Brenner and Katherine Fischer each had 13 kills for fifth-seeded Oregon (30-5).

A crowd of 16,448 fans attended the game, the second-largest for an NCAA tournament final.

Texas beat Oregon for the third time in four meetings.

Oregon had hoped to use its up-tempo offense and solid defense to put Texas in a quick hole and not allow the Longhorns’ dominant hitting game to get going. That was asking a lot considering Texas led the nation in hitting percentage (.322) coming in and used it well to rout Michigan in the first and fourth sets on Thursday.

The Longhorns also featured strong defense and showed it in the opening set, building a 12-4 lead behind four blocks including two each by Webster and Molly McCage. Texas often had two defenders ready for Oregon returns and at one point had almost as many blocks (seven) as Oregon points (eight).

The Longhorns quickly closed out a 25-11 win, led by Webster’s five kills and three blocks.

The second set was more even, although Oregon held several small leads thanks to five kills by Fischer and three by Ariana Williams. But Texas wiped out a 17-13 deficit with two Webster kills and a block and kill by Sha’Dare McNeal.

The Longhorns tied it again at 22 before Webster scored three of the Longhorns’ final four points for a 26-24 win and a two-set advantage.

Having been in this position just three years ago, Texas methodically finished the deal in the third set.

The Longhorns’ left side helped build a 9-6 lead before Webster returned to help make it 14-9. Oregon answered with three straight points to close within 14-12, but Texas closed with an 11-7 run as Webster, Khat Bell and McCage sealed the net and Haley Eckerman added two points down the stretch.

Texas finished with a .438 hitting percentage, more than double Oregon’s .202.


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