COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Dec. 14, 2023) – The University of Texas earned the chance to defend its title at the NCAA Division I Women’s Volleyball Championship by defeating Wisconsin 3-1 (25-23, 20-25, 25-13, 25-16) on Thursday at Amalie Arena in Tampa, Fla.

Texas (27-4) will face Nebraska (33-1) in the final at 12 p.m. PT on Sunday, Dec. 17. The match will be broadcast live on ABC. Wisconsin finished its season with a 30-4 record.

It will be Texas’ eighth national championship appearance in program history. The Longhorns have won three times. Texas and Nebraska have faced each other twice in the national finals — 1995 and 2015 — and the Longhorns have yet to beat the Huskers for the title.

“It’s an iconic matchup,” Texas Head Coach Jerritt Elliott said. “It’s really fun that it gets to be Texas and Nebraska on ABC, the first time that we’ve been able to do that. So, it’s great for the sport. I think it’s great that both social media and fan bases will be pumping this up. Hopefully we’ll be setting a record for viewed match in our ratings.”

Texas outside hitter Madisen Skinner (Katy, Texas) led all scorers with 24 points on 18 kills and six aces. Three of the aces came in the third set when Texas went on an 11-point run to go from leading 4-3 to 15-3. As a team, Texas led Wisconsin in aces 11-4.

“We had scouted pretty well, and we knew their weaknesses and individual players and who we wanted to serve,” Skinner said. “Just working at depths and putting up the pace on the ball and trusting myself and trusting my serve, and Jerritt called for me, and that was that.”

Skinner will be looking for her third National Championship on Sunday. She won with Kentucky in 202 as a true freshman and again in 2022 with Texas. Skinner played on USA Volleyball’s 2021 Collegiate National Team.

Middle blocker Asjia O’Neal (Southlake, Texas), another player with ties to USA Volleyball, scored 15 points on 11 kills (.688 hitting efficiency), two aces and four block assists. O’Neal played with the U.S. Women’s National Team this season.

O’Neal credited setter Ella Swindle for helping the team come back from the second-set loss and start working around Wisconsin’s big blockers.

“Ella did a good job moving us around, so we had a lot of good one-on-one opportunities where there was a lot of seams,” O’Neal said. “So credit to Ella for getting us good positions.”

Swindle (Columbia, Mo.) scored six points on four kills, one ace and two block assists. She set Texas to a .274 hitting efficiency.

Opposite Molly Phillips (Mansfield, Texas) scored 11.5 points on 10 kills and three block assists. Outside hitter Jenna Wenaas (Frisco, Texas) totaled 10.5 kills on 10 kills and one block assist.

Libero Emma Halter (Indianapolis, Ind.) scored two points on aces and was credited with 19 digs.

Middle blocker Anna Smrek (Welland, Ontario) led Wisconsin with 15 points on 13 kills and four block assists. Outside hitter Sarah Franklin (Lake Worth, Fla.), a member of the 2022 U.S. Collegiate National Team, totaled 14.5 points on 13 kills, one solo block and one block assist.