SALT LAKE CITY — The NCAA Tournament ride comes to an end for Utah women’s volleyball team, who fell to the higher-seeded Texas in the fifth and final set of the Sweet 16 matchup.
Utah (24-10) took a 2-1 set lead before the Longhorns rallied back in the final two sets of the match to beat the Utes and advance to the Elite 8 round of the tournament. Utah used a 3-0 run after Texas took its largest lead of the set, 10-7, to claw back. The two teams traded points in a highly competitive final set that ended with a 16-14 Texas win on a kill by Texas’ Yaazie Bedart-Ghani.
Texas (27-2) jumped to an early 6-2 lead on a 5-0 run to start the fourth set, before extending that lead to six for its biggest lead late in the set with an 18-12 lead. Utah fought to the end and kept Texas from running away with the set, but Texas was too much for the Utes and finished the fourth set with a .444 hitting percentage to secure a 25-21 win.
Texas was led by senior Chiaka Ogbogu, who finished with 16 kills and an impressive .433 hitting percentage. Ogbogu also had four blocks in the match, breaking a 25 year Texas school record as the all-time leader in blocks. Ashley Shook contributed to the team’s win with 50 assists.
The Longhorns had three total players with double-digit kills in the win, with Micaya White (13) and Bedart-Ghani (12) combining for 25 kills. White finished with 20 digs and two blocks as the Longhorns finished with a .284 hitting percentage.
The Longhorns took the first set of the match, jumping out to an early 14-8 lead. Texas would go on to win 25-19. The Utes used a balanced attack in the second (25-16) and third (26-24) sets to take a 2-1 lead. The second set was the most convincing for the Utes, who took an 18-12 lead after it was tied 7-7.
Senior Adora Anae led Utah with 25 kills, three aces, 10 digs and three blocks, finishing with a .188 hitting percentage. Three other Utes finished with double-digit kills, including Carly Trueman (13), Berkeley Oblad (12) and Tawnee Luafalemana (10). The four finished with nine total blocks as Utah finished the night with a .224 hitting percentage.
Utah’s Brianna Doehrmann ended the night with 30 digs, setting an Utah NCAA Tournament digs record. The previous record holder, Chelsey Schofield-Olsen had 21 digs. Bailey Choy contributed 45 assists in the loss.
Texas improves to 4-0 in the fifth set this year. The Longhorns will move on to play the winner of the Stanford-Wisconsin match, which started after the Texas-Utah match concluded.