In a matchup that felt as tense as a football game, Texas defeated Oregon to become the 2012 NCAA Division I Women's Volleyball Champions.
It became evident early on in this game that the Longhorns were the superior blockers. Texas came out blocking from the very beginning, utilizing its taller players and swatting down plenty of the Ducks' volleys.
It seemed that Oregon was leaving a small hole in the middle of its side of the court by playing two up front and the rest towards the back. Texas saw this and scored several key points by taking advantage of this flaw.
Besides the formation issues, the Ducks really hurt their championship hopes by coming out flat in the first set. Oregon was dominated out of the gate, with Texas winning the first set 25-11 after starting the game on a 9-3 run.
Oregon's main nemesis in this contest was the Longhorns Haley Eckerman. She had 10 kills and 20 attack attempts midway through the third set alone.
Liz Brenner of the Ducks did her best to counter Eckerman's output. She put up 23 attack attempts and 10 kills of her own in the same time period.
The third set was tightly contested at times, but if you watched the game from start to finish, you never felt Texas was in danger of losing this bout.
Liz Brenner, Oregon Ducks: B
Brenner was one of the sole reasons that her team was even able to keep sets two and three close in this contest. Teammate Katherine Fischer did her best as well, with 12 kills and eight digs.
But other than that they had little help.
Both ran into the same trouble during the game, however, and that was not putting together enough offense to keep up with Texas. It's hard to discredit Brenner for doing her best, but as the old cliche goes: Her best just wasn't good enough on this night.
Statistically speaking, she can go home feeling satisfied with her contributions, but Brenner just couldn't get her teammates involved enough to win even one set against Texas.
Haley Eckerman, Texas Longhorns: A
You can't get much better than Eckerman's output in this championship game.
She posted 12 kills, five digs and 25 attack attempts en route to her team's victory. Her and teammate Bailey Webster were the leader's of Texas' block party.
Eckerson and Webster were two of the key players that helped bring the volleyball national title to Austin for just the second time in NCAA history.
Eckerman had the production on the court, but her passion and enthusiasm from beginning to end seemed contagious. Her dominating stat sheet and ability to pump up her teammates earns Eckerman a well-deserved A.
Final Score: Texas 2, Oregon 0
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