Eckerman
UT

AUSTIN, Texas -- Top-seeded Texas used a stellar 16-block performance to notch its second sweep in as many days and knock off Michigan State in the second round of the 2011 NCAA championship, Saturday night. The 25-11, 25-18, 25-22 victory improved the Longhorns to 24-4 on the season and advanced UT to the NCAA Lexington regional semifinals.

National freshman of the year candidate Haley Eckerman registered a match-best 12 kills to lead a Texas offense that hit .379 on the night. Sophomore outside hitter Bailey Webster connected for nine kills on .571 hitting, while Texas’ middle blocker tandem of senior All-America middle blocker Rachael Adams and freshman middle blocker Madelyn Hutson combined for 11 kills on 20 swings. Adams led the Horns’ blocking effort with eight total blocks and three solos and Hutson chipped in seven total blocks.

In the first, Texas took advantage of seven team blocks to cruise to a 25-11 set victory. Three block assists by sophomore setter Hannah Allison fueled a 9-2 Texas run that gave UT a quick 15-6 lead. The Horns went on to close out the frame with another 9-2 run headlined by two block assists and a kill by Hutson.

Michigan State (22-12) kept the tally tight early in the second and led the Horns at the 10-9 mark. Texas bounced back with a 7-2 rally capped by an Adams/McNeal block that put UT in front 16-12. Michigan State stayed close down the stretch before a 5-1 set-closing run capped by a Hutson ace clinched a 25-18 set win for the Longhorns.

After leading to open the third, Texas surrendered a 6-1 Michigan State rally that gave the Spartans a two-point lead at the 12-10 mark. The Longhorns responded with a 7-0 run highlighted by six consecutive points that Eckerman had a hand in (four kills, two block assists) to claim a 17-12 lead. Down the stretch, Texas had to withstand a 5-1 Michigan State rally, but eventually captured the set 25-22 on Eckerman’s 12th kill of the night.