Last Updated 4:23 PM, April 25, 2021

Kentucky makes history with its first-ever DI women's volleyball national title

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Kentucky defeats Texas 3-1 to claim its first DI women's volleyball title
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4:14 am, April 25, 2021

Kentucky wins the 2020-21 DI women's volleyball national championship

We have finally crowned a 2020 national champion. After almost two full seasons this year, the Kentucky Wildcats have made history. Kentucky took down No. 4 Texas to win the first national championship in program history and become the first team from the SEC to win the volleyball title. With the win, the Wildcats became only the 11th program to ever win it all. 

Madison Lilley became the first Kentucky player to win AVCA National Player of the Year. She tallied 53 assists and 19 digs in the win. She joined NCAA.com's Michella Chester after the match to discuss the emotional moment. 

Madison Lilley reflects after Kentucky's first NCAA volleyball title

Head coach Craig Skinner also won AVCA Coach of the Year, and after 16 years with the program, he finally won the national championship.

2:05 am, April 25, 2021

Kentucky makes history, beats Texas for first title

Kentucky has just made history. The Wildcats won the national championship for the first time in program history and became the first SEC team to win a DI women's volleyball title after beating Texas, 3-1. Alli Stumler had an absolutely phenomenal match with 26 kills on .471 hitting. Madi Skinner, who came up so big down the stretch, tallied 19 kills on .455 hitting, while Avery Skinner notched 14 kills and four blocks. Their offense was spectacular, led by AVCA National Player of the Year Madison Lilley, who dished out 53 assists and totaled 19 digs. Kentucky outhit Texas .366 to .233, the ultimate difference maker. 

Texas did not want this thing to be over. The Longhorns came out swinging and they came out swinging hard. They had a 6-1 start to the set, but three of those points were off of Kentucky errors. If you make mistakes at this level, Texas is going to capitalize. Logan Eggleston was huge for Texas with some major kills and zero errors. But Stumler got four big kills for Kentucky to get them back in it and it was a tight set from there. 

Quick sets and kills were working for the Longhorns with Eggleston and Butler in the middle. Gabriel was doing a great job of getting the set to beat the block. But Kentucky showed its ability to adjust. The Wildcats saw what was working for Texas and were able to stop it. A huge block in the middle by Elise Goetzinger got them up 21-19 before Texas answered with two in a row to tie it up. You could see it happening, Kentucky wasn't going to let it go to five — it ended fittingly with a Stumler hammer. 

The Kentucky Wildcats are your 2020-21 DI women's volleyball national champions.

1:45 am, April 25, 2021

Kentucky takes 2-1 lead, wins set three 25-23

What a match. Texas just hit .417 in that set and Kentucky still came out on top. The Wildcats took a 2-1 lead in the match with a 25-23 win in set three. Stumler has been absolutely smashing balls. She has 18 kills on .447 hitting and this match isn't over yet. She came up big right from the start to set the tone for Kentucky in set three. But, Texas stayed in it the whole set. Fields was fighting off some really tough Kentucky serves, O'Neal was successful off the slide and Eggleston kept taking big swings on the left side. 

Madi Skinner went from a slow start in set one to an absolute domination in set three. Lilley started giving the ball to Skinner after Stumler's early success and she was unstoppable. She currently has 14 kills on .500 hitting efficiency. This match is so even that the winner is going to be whoever's offense is performing better. For the last two sets, it's been Kentucky. 

Back-to-back kills from Eggleston brought the Longhorns within one, 23-22. but then a service error gave the Wildcats set point and Madi Skinner finished it off. 

Madison Lilley is still playing like the National Player of the Year. Setting, blocking, digging, you name it. 

1:07 am, April 25, 2021

Kentucky wins set 2 25-18, ties up match 1-1

Kentucky tied up the match 1-1 with a 25-18 win in set two, and looked like a different team out there. For one, they got ahead right from the start — not allowing a team like Texas to gain momentum will be really important. Gabby Curry played phenomenally in the backcourt, giving the crowd and team a spark. In set one, Texas was getting production from everyone, and Kentucky was not. All of their points were coming from Alli Stumler and Avery Skinner, but they will need everyone to beat Texas. 

In set two, Azhani Tealer and Madi Skinner came alive. The Wildcats went on a 4-0 run to take a 15-10 lead and three out of the four points came from Tealer. She was the difference in this set. On top of that, the Wildcats started to give Texas a taste of its own medicine with some tough serving. Fields was still getting points consistently and Butler is extremely hard to stop out of the middle, but Kentucky kept their offense rolling. 

They hit .375 on the set compared to Texas' .241. The Longhorn's hitting percentage dropped significantly from its .455 percentage in the first set, most likely due to the Wildcats service pressure. The Longhorns gained some momentum at the end of the set when Kentucky had a perfect pass and set for Tealer to absolutely hammer it down for set point, and then Stumler finished it off the next point. 

We have got a tied national championship match. 

12:36 am, April 25, 2021

Texas takes set 1, 25-20

What a big way to start the national championship match — the Longhorns came out with energy and a lot of power, taking set No. 1, 25-20. They outhit the Wildcats .455 to .216. The biggest difference between this match for Texas and the semifinal match vs. Wisconsin is that everyone is active early. Skylar Fields did not need to settle in, she started taking some big swings right away and found the court from the start. She is currently leading with five kills on .556 hitting, wile Logan Eggleston has four kills on .400 and Brionne Butler is finding some success in the middle with three kills on .500 hitting. 

Texas is doing what it does best — getting its opponents off the net. Their defense is a big difference this year as well. Kentucky is seeing some early action from Avery Skinner and Alli Stumler, but Madi Skinner and Azhani Tealer had a slow start.

11:44 pm, April 24, 2021

Pregame — Kentucky vs. Texas

The national championship is here. After a season full of ups and downs, an ongoing pandemic, sacrifices, and almost two volleyball seasons for Kentucky and Texas, they have taken the court to compete for the title. 

The Wildcats are seeking their first ever national title, and the Longhorns are looking to win their first title since 2012. First serve is at 8 p.m. Eastern on ESPN2. This match will feature the AVCA National Player of the Year Madison Lilley for Kentucky and first-team All Americans Avery Skinner and Alli Stumler. For Texas, first-team All Americans Logan Eggleston and Brionne Butler. 

For live stats and play-by-play, click or tap here. 

2:07 pm, April 24, 2021

Kentucky and Texas will meet in the national championship tonight

Texas women's volleyball

It's been 490 days since a national champion was crowned in DI women's volleyball. That'll change tonight, when No. 2 Kentucky and No. 4 Texas meet in the title game at 8 p.m. ET on ESPN2. NCAA.com's Michella Chester provides an in-depth preview ahead of the championship match.

7:47 pm, April 23, 2021

Here is Kentucky vs. Texas, previewed

Kentucky vs Texas volleyball: The 2020-21 national championship, previewed

NCAA.com's Michella Chester previews the championship game right here, including a recap of how each team made it to finals and a side-by-side look at how they match up, statistically. Here's a few other notes from the preview:

  • Both Texas and Kentucky have played practically two seasons this year. The SEC and Big 12 were two of the few conferences to start play in the fall and then continue in the spring when the rest of the conferences started.
  •  Those extended seasons mean the Longhorns are 27-1, including a perfect 16-0 in the Big 12 Conference during the regular season. The Wildcats went 23-1 in the regular season with just one loss to Florida, who they swept the next night. 
  • Kentucky dropped its first set of the tournament in the second against Washington. They sparked a 9-1 run to win the third set after falling behind.
  • Texas held Wisconsin All-Americans Dana Rettke and Molly Haggerty to only six kills.

You can read more here.

12:57 pm, April 23, 2021

Kentucky and Texas will play for the national title Saturday night

The Texas volleyball team celebrates in Omaha.

No. 4 Texas and No. 2 Kentucky will play under the bright lights in Omaha on Saturday night to decide the 2020-21 DI women's volleyball champion.

The game will be broadcast live from the CHI Health Center on ESPN2 at 8 p.m. ET and will stream on ESPN. NCAA.com's Michella Chester is live in Omaha all week covering the action too. Here's a quick catch-up ahead of tomorrow night's game, which will crown the first DI women's volleyball champion since Stanford defeated Wisconsin in December of 2019.

  • No. 2 Kentucky is in the championship game for the first time in school history. The Wildcats defeated No. 6 Washington 25-18, 23-25, 25-23, 25-17 on Thursday.
  • Texas, seeded third, can win its third national title. The Longhorns swept overall No. 1 Wisconsin in straight sets, 26-24, 25-19, 25-23. This is the program's fifth national championship appearance since 2009. Texas won national titles in 1988 and 2012 and, with a win, joins USC, Long Beach State and Hawaii with three national titles. You can see the list of teams with the most here.
  • Kentucky's Avery Skinner had one of the stand-out performances from the semifinals. You can watch all of her match-high 19 kills against Washington here. Here's what she told NCAA.com's Michella Chester right after the game:
  • Texas' Logan Eggleston led her team with 17 kills. You can watch her below break down the final point that sent her team to the semis. Spoiler: she "knew Skylar was going to put the ball away."
3:36 am, April 23, 2021

Texas sweeps Wisconsin to reach the national championship match

Texas is headed to the national championship match after a dominating sweep over the No. 1 team in the country. Texas won the third set by a score of 25-23 to sweep Wisconsin after taking the first two sets 26-24 and 25-19. Texas will play Kentucky for the title on Saturday.

The story of the match? Dana Rettke was held to just six kills and Haggerty hit .000 percent with six kills. On the other side of the net, Texas had four players with double-digit kills: Logan Eggleston (17), Asjia O'Neal (11), Brionne Butler (11) and Skyler Fields (12). They had a lot of success in the middle and kept Wisconsin out-of-system often.

Click or tap here for complete match stats.

Wisconsin Hitting percentage
(Kills)
Texas
.225 (14) Set 1 .275 (19)
.105 (11) Set 2 .311 (18)
.289 (15) Set 3 .325 (18)
3:10 am, April 23, 2021

Texas takes 2-0 lead, wins second set 25-19

The Longhorns take a two set lead to the match with a 25-19 win in the second set. Wisconsin will now face a must-win third set. The Longhorns out hit the Badgers .286 to .152 in the set. There is no standout player, all of them are performing extremely well. Butler is having extreme success in the middle, especially when Rettke is on the sideline. She now has eight kills on .583 hitting. 

Skylar Fields started to heat up in this set. If she gets the ball set to her in system it is almost always a rip across court, extremely difficult to defend even if you know it is coming, Wisconsin has been out-of-system a lot, sending over free balls. Devyn Robinson has been leading the Badgers with eight kills, but they are really going to need Rettke and Haggerty to get way more involved if they want to turn this match around. 

2:38 am, April 23, 2021

Texas wins set one 26-24

Texas won the first set 26-24 after being down 20-16. This is going to be a good one. Set one certainly proves that. So far we have everything we anticipated. A lot of energy, a lot of firepower, some huge blocks on both ends, and a battle. 

Grace Loberg was active early for the Badgers and Devyn Robinson had a really strong start to the match with five kills on .833 hitting. Dana Rettke has not been as prominent as usual, which could change soon. The Longhorns got a good performance from Logan Eggleston with seven kills so far, and Brionne Butler has been perfect with five kills on 1.000 hitting. Skylar Fields has had a bit of a slow start but came up with some big kills when it mattered most. 

After falling behind 20-16, the Longhorns went on a 3-0 run to get back in it and a big kill by Asjia O'Neal tied it up at 22. She and Fields got Texas' next two points before an unforced error gave them the set. 

2:11 am, April 23, 2021

No. 1 Wisconsin vs. No. 4 Texas is underway!

Our second semifinal matchup has begun. The No. 1 Wisconsin Badgers are taking the court against The No. 4 Texas Longhorns with a trip to the national championship at stake. 

Click or tap here for live stats. 

 

2:07 am, April 23, 2021

Hear from Avery Skinner after Kentucky took down Washington

Avery Skinner had a huge game in the national semifinals with 19 kills in the 3-1 win over Washington. Skinner discussed the win with Michella Chester after the match. 

Hear from Kentucky volleyball's Avery Skinner after her 19 kills in the semifinal win over Washington