Huskies Make First Trip To Austin In 21 Years For Round Of 16
THIS WEEK IN HUSKY VOLLEYBALL
NCAA CHAMPIONSHIPS • REGIONAL ROUNDS
THURSDAY, DEC. 9 • ROUND OF 16
(15) Washington at (2) Texas, 4:30 pm PT • ESPNU
Illinois vs. (10) Nebraska, 6:30 pm PT • ESPNU
SATURDAY, DEC. 11 • QUARTERFINAL
Winner match 1 vs. Winner match 2, 7:00 pm PT • ESPNU
SEATTLE -- For the first time since the turn of the century, the Husky volleyball team is on its way to Austin, Texas. Into the NCAA Round of 16 for the ninth time in 10 seasons, the 15th-seeded Huskies will look to take down No. 2-seed Texas to get to a third-straight Elite Eight. Both Final Four teams a year ago and champions of their respective conferences, Washington and Texas will meet for the first time in the NCAA tournament despite both teams being regulars into the latter stages of the bracket.
The round of 16 match will take place on Thursday, Dec. 9, at 4:30 p.m. Pacific time inside Gregory Gymnasium. Paul Sunderland and Salima Rockwell will have the nationally televised broadcast on ESPNU.
Following the UW-UT match, the second Austin round of 16 match will see Big Ten rivals No. 10-seed Nebraska and unseeded Illinois facing off. The winners of the two matches will then have a day off before playing the quarterfinal on Saturday, Dec. 11, at 7 p.m. Pacific time, again on ESPNU. One winner will then be on to Columbus, Ohio for the Final Four.
The Huskies (26-4) reached the Regional rounds by sweeping Ivy League champion Brown and Big West champion Hawaii last weekend at Alaska Airlines Arena. The Dawgs have now won 10 in a row and 19 of their last 20.
Despite multiple Final Four appearances over the past 20 years for each program, including just last spring, the Huskies and Texas have never met in the tournament. The last meeting came in 2006, when Texas scored a 15-13 fifth set win over the defending national champion Huskies at a neutral site in Madison, Wisc. The only match in Austin was a UW five-set win in 2000, in a rare season where neither program made the NCAA tourney.
Texas has lost just once on the season, a 3-1 loss at No. 5 tourney seed Baylor. The Longhorns won the Big 12 title for the fifth-straight season with a 15-1 conference mark, and they are now 26-1 overall. Texas and Washington both fell in four sets in the Final Four last spring to Kentucky, however the Wildcats were one of two seeded teams to not reach Regionals this season, as Illinois knocked off the champs in Lexington, Ky. last Saturday to earn its spot in Austin.
Texas leads the NCAA with a .347 attack percentage, and is second nationally with 2.28 aces per set. All-American Brionne Butler is second in the NCAA with a .474 attack percentage. Fellow All-American Logan Eggleston leads the team with 3.86 kills per set, hitting .307, and Skylar Fields has 3.53 kills per set hitting .339. Asjia O'Neal posts 1.21 blocks per set while hitting .384 with 1.89 kills per set, and Nalani Iosia digs 3.37 p/s. Texas defeated Sacred Heart and Rice in the first two rounds in straight sets.