OMAHA, Neb. (AP) – Alli Stumler had a season-high 26 kills, the biggest coming on the match’s final point. Kentucky won its first national championship in women’s volleyball with a four-set victory over Texas on Saturday night. The Wildcats had the nation’s most efficient offense this season, and, except for a few hiccups early in the first set and the start of the fourth, they were in top form with Stumler and sisters Madi and Avery Skinner kill the Longhorns had no chance of handling, ending a 20-25, 25-18, 25-23, 25-22 victory.. After Texas forced a second match point, Stumler hammered a
The Wildcats (24-1) converged on the court and went to their knees in celebration. After exchanging hugs, several players made snow angels in the confetti that had dropped from the ceiling.
Kentucky setter Madison Lilley, the national, was named the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player after finishing with 53 set assists against the Longhorns.
Kentucky freshman Madi Skinner had 19 kills, and Avery Skinner had 14 kills and four blocks.
Stumler, who had only twoon 51 swings, won the battle against Big 12 Player of the Year Logan Eggleston, who had 21 kills and just one error on 50 swings. Skylar Fields added 16 kills for the Longhorns (27-2), who were in the .
Kentucky’s championship was also the Southeastern Conference’s first in women’s volleyball, and commissioner Greg Sankey was at the CHIto see it.
The Wildcat’s only loss thiswas a five-setter against Florida last month. They lost only two sets in five tournament matches. Skylar Fields had five kills, and Texas the first set. Avery Skinner, sensational in the semifinals against Washington, got off to a slow start and had three of the Wildcats’ seven-hitting errors in the opener.
Stumler and the Skinners led Kentucky back in the second set and kept the Wildcats’ mojo in the third.
The Wildcats knocked Texas out of rhythm, mixing deep and short serves. Stumler had six kills in the second set, Avery Skinner had aand two blocks, and Stumler ended it with a serve that landed just inside the left corner for her second race of the set.
Avery and Madi Skinner had back-to-back killed as the Wildcatsfor good in the middle of the third, and Madi finished it with a hammer shot on the second set point.
Kentucky had three errors on its first nine swings of the fourth set and was down 6-1 before it clawed back and went ahead 15-13 on two attack errors and a kill by Madi Skinner.
Texas tied the set three times before Kentucky got it to match point. A rare error by Stumler forced a second-match issue, but there would be no third after Stumbler received a and delivered the finishing cross-court kill.
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