LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Bailey Webster had 18 kills, Haley Eckerman added 16 and third-seeded Texas overcame a 2-1 deficit for a five-set victory over Michigan on Thursday night in the NCAA women's volleyball semifinals.
The Longhorns won 25-11, 21-25, 23-25, 25-12, 15-11. They will play the winner of the second semifinal between top-seeded Penn State and fifth-seeded Oregon on Saturday night.
Texas (28-4) dominated the first and fourth sets and took a 4-0 lead in the final set before Michigan tied it at 8. After a timeout, the Longhorns won three straight points and held off the Wolverines.
Sarah Palmer had a career-high 31 digs for the Longhorns, 3-0 lifetime against the Wolverines.
Junior outside hitter Lexi Erwin had 26 kills and a career-high 87 attempts for unseeded Michigan (27-12), which was appearing in its first Final Four. Senior captain Claire McElheny added 15 kills and had a .419 hitting percentage.
Texas entered the semifinals having won 21 of 22 matches since a 6-3 start that included a loss to Penn State. That roll earned the Longhorns their fourth Final Four berth in the past five years with a bigger goal of closing the deal after blowing a 2-0 lead and losing to Penn State in the 2009 final.
The Longhorns wasted no time carrying out their strategy, using their size and power to dominate the first set.
Webster had six kills, Khat Bell four and Eckerman three as Texas mounted several runs and put the set out of reach with seven straight points for a 14-5 lead.