LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Junior two-time All-America outside hitter Bailey Webster recorded 14 kills Saturday while hitting .500 (14-1-26) as the Texas Longhorns won the 2012 NCAA Division I Women’s Volleyball national championship with a 3-0 sweep over the Oregon Ducks (25-11, 26-24, 25-19). The Longhorns won their third national championship for women’s volleyball and second NCAA title (1988).
With the win, the University of Texas now has 47 NCAA all-time championships and 50 overall titles.
Texas (29-4) earned the championship after rallying from a 2-1 deficit on Thursday against Michigan to advance to tonight’s title match in front of 16,448 fans, the second-largest crowd for a championship match in tournament history.
The Longhorns hit .438 as a team with only four errors against 43 kills. Texas out-blocked Oregon by a 15-1 margin, holding the Ducks to a negative .083 in the first set. Haley Eckerman had 12 kills, five digs and one block while hitting .400 for Texas while senior Sha’Dare McNeal had eight kills with no errors, hitting .471. Molly McCage tied a season-high with eight blocks while Khat Bell chipped in six blocks. Junior setter Hannah Allison guided the offense with 35 assists and five blocks.
Liz Brenner and Katherine Fischer had 13 kills each for Oregon (30-5). Alaina Bergsma, who was named 2012 AVCA National Player of the Year yesterday, was held to a .000 hitting night with nine kills and nine errors. Lauren Plum had 41 assists and six digs for the Ducks, who finished with a .202 hitting percentage.
Texas raced out to a quick start in set one against Oregon with a 9-3 run. The Longhorns would hit .400 in the set and push the lead to a 20-7 score. Eckerman had two of the last kills as the Longhorns out-blocked the Ducks by a 7-0 margin to set the tempo.
Oregon made the adjustments in set two as both teams worked to a 10-10 tie. Plum and Ariana Williams helped Oregon get to a 14-11 lead. After trailing 17-13 and taking a timeout, Texas scored four straight points to tie it. Oregon returned the favor with three straight points, but the Longhorns would answer after trailing by a 23-21 score. Eckerman and Webster went back-to-back to tie it as UO took its second timeout. Eckerman, who had not recorded a service ace for the entire postseason, used the break as good timing as her first service ace gave set point to Texas. Brenner tied it, but it was Webster who would score two straight kills to send Texas into the intermission with the 2-0 lead.
With a 4-4 tie in the third set, Texas broke away with four straight points and would not relinquish the lead. Oregon got within two at 17-15, but three blocks by the Longhorns would finish off the Ducks. The championship clincher came when Bell and Allison blocked Brenner to set off the celebration for the Longhorns.