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 wins second consecutive NCAA Championship after sweeping Nebraska

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Madisen Skinner and Asjia O’Neal attempt to block a spike by Toyosi Onabanjo during a game against the University of Kansas on October 6th, 2023

In the midst of a sea of red at Amalie Arena in Tampa, the Texas burnt orange swept Nebraska 3-0 to take its second consecutive national championship with an ace. 

With orange confetti streaming down and Texas players cutting a portion of the net to take home, several key players made history with Texas’ fourth national title. 

In the battle between freshman setters, Texas’ Ella Swindle and Nebraska’s Bergen Reilly, Swindle ended up victorious, becoming the fourth ever true freshman setter to win a national championship. 

Junior outside hitter Madisen Skinner won her third national championship — she has one for every year she has played collegiate volleyball. 

Sixth-year senior middle blocker Asjia O’Neal served a career-high of five aces in the last game she played for Texas volleyball. 

Despite starting out the season 5-3, the Longhorns have clearly grown as a team. Texas was labeled as an underdog in the tournament and in the national championship match as they faced off against a team that hadn’t lost more than one set in the NCAA Tournament. 

“I just think it has to do with our culture,” O’Neal said after the game. “We really trusted the process and because of our love for one another, we’re able to continue to get better and peak at the right time.”

Although Texas took an early lead in the first set, Nebraska was not far behind. Points went back and forth between the two teams. 

Junior outside hitter Jenna Wenaas had several good hits in the game, getting two kills in a row in the first set. Despite having some ups and downs throughout the season, Wenaas got nine kills against Nebraska. 

The Huskers momentarily got the momentum as Texas head coach Jerritt Elliott was handed a red card, giving Nebraska a point. But the Longhorns didn’t let that stop them and they won the opening set 25-22. 

Despite frustration at the end of the first set, Texas dominated the second set. 

Nebraska got a 3-0 run to take the lead, but a tip by Wenaas sent O’Neal to the service line. O’Neal got four aces in a row, even when Nebraska tried to mess up her streak with a timeout. O’Neal’s serves propelled the Longhorns into a 13-10 lead. 

“The service pressure today from us today was insane,” Skinner said. “They were out of system, so it just gave us so many options in transition.”

The Huskers were able to figure out O’Neal’s serve, but the Longhorns were not willing to give up the lead that easily. With back row kills by junior outside hitter Madisen Skinner and good blocking, the Longhorns went on a 11-0 run that ended only with an attacking error by Texas. 

Swindle made her way to serve, getting two aces in a row. A bad hit by Nebraska gave Texas the second set by 11 points, holding Nebraska to a -0.036 hitting percentage. 

Texas was equally dominant in the third set. Last year, Keonilei Akana won the set point and championship with an ace. This year, O’Neal had the honor, ending the last set and her last game up by fourteen points. 

“I’m so excited for my team and proud of them,” Skinner said, breaking into tears. “I love everyone in this program so much and I’m absolutely obsessed with Longhorn Nation. I cannot wait for next year.”

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