This is the fifth appearance by a Big 12 member in the title event (2009, ‘06, ‘05, ‘00), while Texas will be making its fourth championship final after last appearing in the 2009 match where the Longhorns faced Penn State and lost in five sets.
UT opened their eighth national semifinal match with a 25-11 set one win, hitting .469 and holding Michigan to a .000 hitting percentage. The Longhorns would drop the next two sets, however, before claiming the fourth set (25-12), hitting .455 compared to Michigan's .026. In just its sixth five-set match of the season, UT finished off Michigan with a 15-11 final set victory.
Texas was led by 2011 Big 12 Player of the Year Bailey Webster who recorded 18 kills and 2012 Player of the Year Haley Eckerman who notched 16. Sha'Dare McNeal posted a .524 hitting percentage with 13 kills, while Khat Bell also recorded double-digit kills with 11. Sarah Palmer contributed 31 digs, while Hannah Allison chipped in 53 assists.
Texas is hitting .379 this postseason while limiting opponents to a .182 clip. Texas has lost just three sets in its five NCAA postseason matches.
UT used a sweep of No. 6 national seed Southern California (30-6) in the NCAA Volleyball Championship Regional Final last Saturday night in Austin to punch a ticket to the 11th national semifinal by a Big 12 team. The Longhorns have claimed just one NCAA title - in 1988.
This is the first time since 2009 a Big 12 team will be making an appearance in the national championship, with Nebraska winning the title as members of the Conference in 2000 and ‘06.
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 164-99 overall. Additionally, the league is 5-6 in national semifinal matches and 2-2 in championship matches.
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.
BIG 12 IN THE NCAA CHAMPIONSHIP
FIRST ROUND RESULTS
Thursday, Nov. 29
No. 3 Texas 3, Colgate 0
No. 15 Iowa State 3, IP Fort Wayne 2
Northern Iowa 3, Kansas State 0
Friday, Nov. 30
Oklahoma 3, Arizona State 2
No. 11 Kansas 3, Cleveland State 1
SECOND ROUND RESULTS
Friday, Nov. 30
No. 3 Texas 3, Texas A&M 1
No. 15 Iowa State 3, North Carolina 2
Saturday, Dec. 1
Wichita State 3, No. 11 Kansas 1
No. 12 BYU 3, Oklahoma 0
REGIONAL SEMIFINAL RESULTS
Friday, Dec. 7
No. 3 Texas 3, No. 14 Florida 0
No. 2 Stanford 3, No. 15 Iowa State 0
REGIONAL FINAL RESULTS
Saturday, Dec. 8
No. 3 Texas 3, No. 6 Southern California 0
NATIONAL SEMIFINAL RESULTS
Thursday, Dec. 13
No. 3 Texas 3, Michigan 2
Saturday, Dec. 15
No. 3 Texas vs. No. 1 Penn State/No. 5 Oregon, 6 p.m. CT - Louisville, Ky. [ESPN2]