Top-seeded Texas advances to eighth consecutive regional final
LINCOLN, Neb. -- Top-seeded Texas overcame a rare postseason deficit to advance to its eighth consecutive NCAA regional final with 3-1 victory against American on Friday in a regional semifinal match at the Bob Devaney Sports Center.
With the win, Texas advances to Saturday's NCAA regional final at 9 p.m. Texas will play the winner of Friday's second semifinal between No. 8 Nebraska and No. 9 San Diego.
In advancing to a regional final for the eighth consecutive year, Texas had to come from behind, something the Longhorns have only needed to do twice during their school-record nine-match postseason win streak. After American won the opening set 27-25, Texas cruised to an 11-point victory in set two (25-14) and a nine-point win in set three (25-16). The Longhorns then pulled away late for a 25-20 victory in set four.
Texas featured a balanced attack against the Patriot League champions, as four Longhorns produced double-digit kills. All-American Bailey Webster produced 18 kills, while Khat Bell totaled 16 kills and Haley Eckerman and Chiaka Ogbogu each added 11 kills. Bell's 16 kills were a season high while the freshman Ogbogu tied her season and career highs with 11 kills. Setter Hannah Allison recorded 54 assists while directing a Longhorn offense that hit .324 in the match, including above .350 in each of the final three sets. Texas also added 14.0 blocks, including seven from Bell. Sarah Palmer produced a season-high 25 digs from her libero position, as UT out-dug American 77-63.
Texas (26-2) will take a 22-game win streak into the Longhorns' eighth consecutive NCAA regional final. UT's win streak is tied with Penn State, a 3-1 winner against Michigan State on Friday, for the nation's longest win streak.