The Louisville Cardinals recorded a season-high 19 blocks Thursday night en route to a five-set (25-18, 23-25, 25-22, 22-25, 15-2) victory over Pitt at the NCAA Division Women's Volleyball Championships in Omaha, Nebraska.
COLORADO SPRINGS, COLO. (Dec. 17, 2022) – The University of Texas won its third national title Saturday night by defeating Louisville, 3-0 (25-22, 25-14, 26-24) in front of a sellout crowd of 16,953 at the CHI Health Center in Omaha, Neb.
Texas, playing in its seventh NCAA title match, finished 28-1; they previously won the title in 1988 and 2012. Louisville was in its first title match and finished the season 31-3.
Senior outside hitter Logan Eggleston, who has been part of USA Volleyball’s National Team Development Program (NTDP) and trained with the U.S. Women’s National Team coaches in the spring, was named tournament MVP after leading all scorers with 21 points on 19 kills, one block solo and two block assists.
The first set stayed close until Texas took leads of 16-12 and 17-13 on kills by Asjia O’Neal (2022 WNT spring training)and Madisen Skinner (2022 WNT spring training). Louisville moved within one point at 17-16 with two kills from Claire Chaussee (2022 U.S. Women’s Collegiate National Team). Texas kept the Cardinals at bay, winning 25-22. Eggleston had 10 kills in the first set.
The second set was all Texas. The Longhorns started up 3-0 and never looked back, cruising to a set two win, 25-14.
But Louisville showed its mettle in set three, using a balanced attack to stay in the set. A kill by Cardinal Anna DeBeer (2018 U.S. U20 Women’s National Training Team) gave Louisville two set points at 24-22, but a kill from O’Neal and an attack error by Chaussee evened it at 24. With the serve, Texas won the next two points on a final Eggleston kill and an ace gave Texas the set (26-24) and match.
“I’ve been coaching 22 years at Texas and I think another six or seven years at USC prior to that, and I told my wife today this was the most important match I’ve ever coached in regards to the match I wanted to win the most because of the two women sitting beside me (Eggleston and O’Neal) and also the 16 women that were battling every single day in our gym,” Texas head coach Jerritt Elliott said after the match. “As a coach, when you manage teams, there’s a lot of problems sometimes. And this team, I didn’t have one the entire season. Everybody gave; they were committed to the process.”
Texas led the match in kills (48-36), blocks (9-4) and aces (5-4). They had a .371 attack percentage to Louisville’s .189. Behind Eggleston’s 21 points, Madisen Skinner (2022 WNT Spring Training, 2021 Women’s Collegiate National Team) scored 14.5 points (12 kills, one ace, three block assists), O’Neal scored 11.5 (nine kills, one ace, 3 block assists), and Molly Phillips (2018 and 2019 U20 Women’s National Teams) scored seven (six kills, two block assists). Setter Saige Ka’aha’aina-Torres had 37 assists and a solo block, and libero Zoe Fleck (2022 and 2021 Women’s Collegiate National Team) collected 14 digs and two service aces.
“I’m just so grateful to have the opportunity to have a fifth year and come back and get to play with these girls,” Eggleston said. “There’s so many girls on the team that I would never have gotten the chance to be teammates with without this COVID year…it’s a lot more fun to not be crying sad tears at the end of the season. We can actually say we won our last game. It feels amazing.”
Chaussee led Louisville with 12 points on 12 kills. DeBeer scored 9.5 on nine kills and a block assist; and Aiko Jones scored nine on eight kills and two block assists.
“Texas is great. They passed great, the defended great. We really couldn’t do anything to stop them,” said Louisville head coach Dani Busboom Kelly. “Any time we felt like we got a little momentum, they took it away so quickly. But I’m really proud of this team. Our senior class … [it’s] unbelievable what they accomplished. It’s tough. It’s tough being in this moment and not taking advantage of it.”
Elliott praised Busboom Kelly for the work she has been doing with her program.
“Congratulations to Louisville,” he said. “An amazing season. It’s really hard when one team has to lose. I’ve been on the other side of that a lot of times. It’s really challenging. We were there two years ago. What Dani’s doing at Louisville is really special. She’s building her own brand. She’s doing it by empowering women, and it’s great where the sport is headed.”
MVP: Logan Eggleston, Texas, OH
Saige Ka’aha’aina-Torres, Texas, S
Asija O’Neal, Texas, MB
Madisen Skinner, Texas, OH
Claire Chaussee, Louisville, OH
Anna DeBeer, Louisville, OH
Aiko Jones, Louisville, OPP