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PROVO — Texas' Micaya White had a match-high 21 kills on 50 swings to lift the Longhorns to a 25-10, 27-29, 29-27, 25-19 win over unseeded Michigan in the first regional semifinal in the Smith Fieldhouse.
Logan Eggleston added 17 kills and nine digs for the Longhorns (23-4), and teammate Jhenna Gabriel dished out 53 assists.
“I think we started out really strong, but we knew they were going to come back in the second set,” Eggleston said. “I think we did a really good job of fighting and pushing all the way to the very end.”
Carly Skjodt led Michigan (24-10) with 16 kills, nine digs and two aces, and Paige Jones supplied 12 kills for the Wolverines.
The Longhorns rolled to a 25-10 rout in the opening set, but Michigan staved off elimination with a 29-27 victory in set two that tied the match.
The Wolverines hit just .111 in the first set, and trailed by as much as 20-4 early. With an eye on the program’s first trip to the regional final since 2012, Michigan was overwhelmed against a team making its 13th-straight regional semifinal appearance.
But the Wolverines turned the match on its head, leading early in the second set before rallying from a 22-18 deficit to win in extra points.
Michigan cruised to a 20-15 lead in the third. The Longhorns tied the match at 23-all on back-to-back kills from White, and clinched the 29-27 win with a kill by Brionne Butler.
“We had four freshmen out there,” Texas coach Jerritt Elliott said. “The challenge when things become chaotic is just to stay together. It felt a little chaotic out there. Big credit to (libero Sydney Peterson, who had 19 digs) and her mental toughness.”
Texas capped a 6-0 run in the fourth to take a 19-16 lead on a kill by Eggleston, and the Longhorns captured the four-set victory with a 25-19 win.
Texas will No. 4 BYU in Saturday’s Provo regional final. First serve is scheduled for 6 p.m. MT in Smith Fieldhouse.
“Obviously, BYU is better at home with their home crowd behind them. I’d rather play a team on a neutral match, but it doesn’t matter to me,” Elliott said. “That’s more for the media. We just have to figure out our game plan, and if we have to deal with the crowd, that’s the fun part about college athletics.”