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NCAA Women's Volleyball Championship: Preview, How to Watch Texas v Louisville

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The 2022 DI Women’s Volleyball National Championship match will be between Texas and Louisville. The Cardinals are in the championship game for the first time in program history, as Texas looks to win its first championship since 2012. The Longhorns have been in the championship game three times since then, but finished runner-up all three times. The Cards are looking to make a lot of history – a win would mean a first in program history, the first ACC school to win, and the first female coach to lift the trophy.

After last season’s title match between two Big Ten programs, we have a Big 12-ACC battle on Saturday night. The #1 seed overall Texas Longhorns will face fellow top seed Louisville for the trophy in 8:00 pm ET Saturday, December 17 on ESPN2🇧🇷 We’ll be covering the championship live here with updates, stats and in-match analysis, and you can stream the game here.

How each team fared in the semifinals:

The Texas Longhorns played the first match of the night and defeated San Diego in four sets. The Toreros entered the match as underdogs, but came out on fire. The Longhorns were the best team in the country all season, but had some early game jitters. The Longhorns were held to a low clip of . 056 in the first set. Logan Eggleston, the AVCA National Player of the Year, only had four kills hitting . 000 with three service errors. Madi Skinner led Texas with five kills hitting . 833, but the team struggled with many errors early on.

The Longhorns adjusted and responded as Eggleston found his way. Saige Ka’aha’aina-Torres began to utilize his other hitters, giving Molly Phillips, Madi Skinner and Asjia O’Neal some time to shine. They picked up the slack. If it shows how deep this cast is, the team hit .330 in the second set while Eggleston was still down .100. They have a lot of offensive parity, and the defense has started to show up as well. Zoe Fleck did a phenomenal job in the backcourt, allowing Eggleston to pick up the pace and get the game back on track. In the third set, the Longhorn defense was at 11 blocks and San Diego was at .000 hits.

From there, Texas crossed. Skinner scored the offense with 17 kills batting . 394 and Eggleston finishing close with 16 kills batting . 196 – including the clincher.

Texas v San Diego: Highlights of the 2022 NCAA Volleyball Semifinals

The Cards defeated Pitt in five sets in the second match. These two teams had already met twice in the regular season, splitting the series. A strong start was vital for the Cards, and that’s exactly what they did. They started the first set with a 6-0 run and had their foot on the gas the entire time. Pitt was relentless, however. The Panthers can overwhelm their opponents and have gone the distance in this matchup. After tying the match at one set apiece, the Cards made a fantastic run towards the end of the third set to take a 2-1 lead in the match. Both teams were very strong behind the service line, putting a lot of pressure on the passers, but the Cards were dominating at the line. Elena Scott and Anna DeBeer started piling up aces, and Scott had two in a row by the end of the third.

The Panthers did the exact same thing in the next set, however. They came back from two points down and went on a 5-0 run to win the fourth and force the fifth. Fair enough, with how competitive the game was. But WOW the Cards made a statement in the fifth. PK Kong absolutely fired, beating the Panthers point after point as the Cards advanced to a 15-2 soul break in the fifth. Kong ended up totaling 11 blocks in the match.

The fifth set was just an indication of how strong this Louisville team is – they made a big statement with that performance. They put up crazy defensive numbers in the win, with 19 total blocks as a team and 10 service aces. They won the net battle and their tough service put them in a good position to win throughout the match. This Louisville team looks strong and confident heading into a national title shot.

Louisville v Pitt: Highlights of the 2022 NCAA Volleyball Semifinals

The national championship match

We have a fantastic showdown for the 2022 national title, with two of the best teams of the entire season facing each other. There’s a little historical twist to this too. To refresh your memory, just a few years ago, in 2019, Louisville rose to prominence after defeating Texas in the third round of the tournament. Dani Busboom Kelly was wearing a bright red blazer, and it was a miracle. So it seemed at the time. Little did we know that the likes of Aiko Jones would become some of the most recognizable names in college volleyball as Louisville continued to rise to prominence on the national stage.

Now these teams are the top seeds, fighting for the national title. The stories are endless. Logan Eggleston has been one of the best players in the country for years. She returned for her fifth and final season with only one goal in mind – the national title. She can cross NPOY off her list now. The Longhorns most recently fell in their championship game to Kentucky in 2020 when one of their hitters, Madi Skinner, was wearing blue. They want this title, they’ve been here before and failed multiple times. And now they want to break up.

Louisville, as I mentioned earlier, has the potential to make a ton of history. To repeat these feats, a win would be the first title in program history, the first ACC program to win, and the first female coach to win. Also, there are more stories inside. Many players were part of this program’s rise to power and are now playing in their final season. Claire Chaussee, their Chaser, is in her final season. And Anna DeBeer, the leader and heart and soul of this offense, left for 12 games this season due to injury and returned just in time to dominate it in the postseason.

As far as these two teams actually matching each other, we have two very deep teams and they should be a really fun match. Louisville ranks third in the nation in blocks per set at 3.02. Texas is second in the nation in hitting efficiency with a . 335 clip. Something has to give. In addition, we have two very strong service teams. The Cards had 10 service aces in their semifinal victory, and Texas has been putting a lot of pressure on the service line all season. Eggleston and DeBeer are two of the toughest servers in the NCAA.

In addition, we have two of the best sweepers on the net in Elena Scott for Louisville and Zoe Fleck for Texas. Fleck was named a first-team All American and Scott was named a second-team All American, but both are phenomenal.

Aiko Jones, who plays opposite, will have the big task of matching Eggleston over the net. They will need to limit Eggleston a bit and force Texas to use other options again. The Longhorns will need to serve Louisville hard to keep them out of the system for as long as possible. Cards can get very dangerous once they start to work.

The best part is that any of these teams can win this matchup. We have two of the deepest lineups in the country, two teams with a lot of energy, fighting for the trophy. I couldn’t be more excited.

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