No. 3-seeded Texas sweeps No. 14 seed Florida in regional semifinal
AUSTIN, Texas -- Junior outside hitter Bailey Webster led No. 3-seeded Texas with 15 kills in its 3-0 sweep of No. 14-seed Florida (25-22, 26-24, 25-17) on Friday in a Round 3 matchup. With this win in front of 3,839 fans at Gregory Gym, the Longhorns (26-4) log their seventh-consecutive regional semifinal victory and advance to a quarterfinal match against USC.
Webster connected on 15 of 29 swings with three errors for a .414 clip in this match. She also added three digs and two blocks. In three postseason matches, Webster leads the Longhorns with 47 total kills.
Sophomore outside hitter Haley Eckerman earned nine kills, five digs and three blocks, while senior utility Sha'Dare McNeal had eight kills on 15 attempts with no errors for a .533 hitting percentage. McNeal also posted two assists, seven digs and four blocks. Junior setter Hannah Allison added three kills, 32 assists, two service aces and eight digs.
Florida (27-5) was led by Chloe Mann with 14 kills on 22 attempts with three errors for a .500 clip. Mann also registered two digs and three blocks.
Down 13-10 in the first set, Texas launched a 7-1 run that was highlighted by two service aces from freshman libero Kat Brooks. The Gators kept it close, but UT secured the set with two consecutive kills from Webster, who posted five kills in the set. Sophomore middle blocker/outside hitter Khat Bell, who earned three kills and one service ace in the set, registered four of Texas' first seven points in set one.
The second set began with three consecutive points for the Gators, but proved to be close throughout with 15 tied scores and five lead changes. A late 4-0 run gave the Gators a 20-17 lead, but the Horns responded with 5-2 run of their own, which featured three kills from Webster, to tie the set at 22. Texas put the set away with four unanswered points, including a kill from Eckerman at set point.
Leading 7-6 in the third, momentum swung in Texas' favor as it launched a 9-2 run that was punctuated by four kills from Webster. A stretch of five unanswered points put UT up 22-11 and gave the Horns their largest margin of the match at 11. Despite a late 5-1 run from the Gators, Texas closed the match with kills from Eckerman and Webster. The Horns earned a .400 team hitting percentage in the third.