Texas Longhorns sweep Florida Gators in NCAA Round 3, one win away from going to Final Four

Sara Beth Purdy

Bailey Webster controlled the power at Gregory gym Friday night against the Gators. The junior outside hitter sent Gregory Gym to its feet off multiple kills well above the heads of the Florida blocking crew. The Longhorns swept the Gators, 3-0, in Round 3 of the NCAA tournament at Gregory Gym Friday night (25-22, 26-24, 25-17).

“I am just really proud about my team and how they played,” said Texas head coach Jerritt Elliott after the win. “Our team had a lot of resolve, we stayed steady throughout the match.”

Against the Gators, Webster led Texas with 15 kills and a hitting clip of .414. As a team, the Longhorns hit .290 with 40 kills and 11 errors. Florida had 42 kills and 23 errors with a final hitting clip of .173.

Florida came out swinging earning the first point in each of the three sets. In set one, Florida led through the first set until Texas came out with a 7-1 run to go ahead. Sophomore Khat Bell had three kills and one ace in the set before the Longhorns put it away 25-22.

The Gators looked to take set two and force extra sets. Although the lead changed hands several times, the Gators seemed to pull ahead at the end, reaching set point up 24-22. The Longhorns scored four straight to end any Florida momentum and win the set 26-24.

Set three started out close as well, with Texas edging Florida through the first ten points. The Texas offense exploded and went on a 9-2 run against Florida to put the set out of reach for the Gators. Texas put the game away on a kill by sophomore Haley Eckerman with a set three score of 25-17.

Texas will face USC at 8 pm Saturday night in Gregory Gym in the Elite 8. USC overwhelmed Wichita State 3-0 earlier Friday afternoon to earn a spot in the round four game. The winner of Saturday night’s match-up will travel to the Final Four next week.