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Published: Friday, 12/14/2012

Michigan falls to Texas in NCAA volleyball semifinals

ASSOCIATED PRESS

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 Thursday night over Michigan 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.

"The fans got their money's worth. What a battle," Texas coach Jerritt Elliott said.

"I've been saying it, that we're good in the crunch. You never see them give up. Even though we give up games, you can just see that they stay in their routine and just battle."

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 bigger goals of winning their first title since 1988 and closing the deal after blowing a 2-0 lead and losing to Penn State in the 2009 final.

"I thought our team did a great job of pulling through and competing extremely well," said Michigan coach Mark Rosen, calling Texas the most athletic team his squad has faced this season.

Michigan's loss ended a resilient run to its first Final Four.



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