Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

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October 4, 2022

Texas volleyball outlasts Wisconsin, heads to the NCAA Championship to defend last season’s title

Mackenzie Coleman
Madisen Skinner spikes the ball during the Texas vs. Standford game on Sep. 3, 2023.

On a night when No. 2-seeded Texas came in as the underdog, Texas needed to find its edge to take down another No. 1 team in Wisconsin. Texas found that edge in the third set behind its serve, never surrendered its momentum and will advance to the national championship game on Sunday.

Led by star junior outside hitter Madisen Skinner, Texas totaled a team season-high of 11 aces, with Skinner owning six of those, a career-high for her. Skinner’s career night put her atop the list for most aces in the tournament and the history books for most aces in a semifinal or championship match in NCAA history. Her huge serving night allowed Texas to play with the lead for most of the night and propel the team into the championship match.

“We’ve been working on this so much in practice; sometimes you feel a rhythm, and sometimes you don’t, but just be aggressive,” Skinner said.

Skinner paired her excellent night at the service line with a team-high 18 kills, nine digs and an assist. 

A huge defensive performance from libero sophomore Emma Halter eased the Texas backline and kept momentum for her team numerous times throughout the match. Halter tallied 19 digs, seven assists and two service aces. Senior Asjia O’Neal grabbed 11 kills as well as four total blocks. Senior Molly Phillips and junior Jenna Wenaas both tallied 10 kills.

Despite the talk surrounding the Texas team headed into the match and being overlooked throughout the season, Skinner and the team have their eyes locked on their objective of defending the title. 

“We don’t have to prove anything to anyone. We know how good we are,” Skinner said. “It doesn’t matter what people say on social media, it’s all just a bunch of crap, and we’re gonna play Texas volley[ball].”

Huge plays from the backline to the net throughout the match put on display the emotion and passion that has fueled the Texas team throughout the tournament. 

“It means everything. This team has been tested and challenged in so many ways and just persevered and trusted one another and trusted the process, and here we are, and we knew we could do it,” Skinner said. “We’re just so excited to prove it on Sunday that we deserve to be here and we can win it all.”

Texas will play for the 2023 NCAA Championship and defend its title against Nebraska on Sunday at 2:00 p.m. on ABC.

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