It also marks the third national championship claimed by the Big 12 in the sport of volleyball, with Nebraska winning the title as members of the Conference in 2000 and ‘06. It is the 49th national team title by the Conference and the 48th by the University of Texas, including its 15th as a member of the league.
The title has been long awaited as the Longhorns also reached the NCAA Final Four in 2008, ‘09 and ‘10, including a trip to the finals in ‘09, which resulted in a five-set loss to Penn State. This marked UT's eighth overall Final Four appearance. Tonight's attendance of 16,448 is the second-highest championship match attendance in tournament history.
In the first meeting of the two teams since 1984, Texas dominated the first set with a 25-11 victory. The Longhorns recorded seven team blocks and hit .400 to Oregon's -.083. 2011 Big 12 Player of the Year Bailey Webster led the Horns with seven kills, three blocks and a .714 hitting mark, while freshman Molly McCage recorded five blocks.
The second set was much closer, featuring 13 ties and three lead changes with UT winning 26-24. At one point, the Longhorns trailed 17-13, before rattling off four straight points to tie the match at 17-17. UT hit .515 in the second set with eight kills from Webster, who hit at a .636 mark.
In their 22nd sweep of the season, the Longhorns closed out the match with a 25-19 third set win, hitting .387. Overall, the Longhorns hit .438 and were led by Webster's 14 kills and .500 hitting percentage. She earned Most Outstanding Player honors for her performance. Eckerman also contributed 12 kills, hitting .400, while Sha'Dare McNeal added eight kills. Texas finished with 15 team blocks.
Oregon was led by head coach Jim Moore, who coached five seasons in the Big 12 (1996, K-State & 1997-2000, Texas).
Texas finished the postseason with a .449 clip. UT lost just three sets in its six NCAA postseason matches. Texas ends the 2012 season having won 23 of its last 24 matches.
UT used a 3-2 win over Michigan in the national semifinal on Thursday to advance to its fourth national championship (1988, ‘95, 2009). The Longhorns also picked up wins over Colgate (first round), Texas A&M (second round), Florida (regional semifinal) and Southern California (regional final).
The Big 12 is 76-23 in NCAA first round action, 45-34 in second round play, 25-20 in regional semifinals, 11-14 in regional finals and 165-99 overall. Additionally, the league is 5-6 in national semifinal matches and 3-2 in championship matches. This marked the fourth straight season five or more Big 12 teams have earned bids to the NCAA postseason event. The league has sent at least five teams to the tournament in all but one season.
Texas has been ranked in the top 10 all season and claimed its sixth Big 12 title this year, finishing the conference season with a 15-1 record. The Longhorns are led by head coach Jerritt Elliott, who is in his 12th season at Texas and was named the 2012 AVCA Division I Coach of the Year. The Longhorns finished 2012 leading the league in hitting percentage, opponent hitting percentage and blocks.
Haley Eckerman, So., OH
Hannah Allison, Jr., S
Sha'Dare McNeal, Sr., UTL
Bailey Webster, Jr., OH (Most Outstanding Player)
TEXAS IN THE 2012 NCAA CHAMPIONSHIP
Thursday, Nov. 29
No. 3 Texas 3, Colgate 0
Friday, Nov. 30
No. 3 Texas 3, Texas A&M 1
Friday, Dec. 7
No. 3 Texas 3, No. 14 Florida 0
Saturday, Dec. 8
No. 3 Texas 3, No. 6 Southern California 0
Thursday, Dec. 13
No. 3 Texas 3, Michigan 2
Saturday, Dec. 15
No. 3 Texas 3, No. 5 Oregon 0