No. 5 Texas could not contain Roni Jones-Perry on Saturday in a 25-23, 25-23, 25-21 loss to No. 4 BYU in Provo, Utah.
The defeat ends UT’s season in a regional final for a second straight year. The Longhorns had reached the Final Four in five straight seasons from 2012-16. BYU (31-1) will instead join Illinois, Nebraska and Stanford in next week’s Minneapolis-hosted Final Four.
Texas was the first team to 20 points in Saturday’s opening set, but a kill from setter Lyndie Haddock-Eppich and two points by Jones-Perry spurred the Cougars’ closing run. After Texas fought off three set points in the second session, Jones-Perry’s kill closed out a set that featured a 19-19 tie. The Longhorns lost a 21-20 lead in the final frame as BYU ended the match with a 5-0 run.
Boasting .317 and .313 percentages, BYU and Texas entered their showdown as the two top-hitting teams in the nation. The Cougars hit .241 on 112 swings, although the 6-foot Jones-Perry finished with 25 kills and a .367 hitting percentage. Texas hit .222 as a team.
Texas ends its 2018 season with a 23-5 record. The Longhorns were led by freshman Logan Eggleston, whose 15 kills gave her double-digit snipes in each of the four matches in her first postseason. Eggleston was joined on the Provo Regional’s all-tournament team by teammates Brionne Butler and Micaya White.
Yaazie Bedart-Ghani had seven kills and eight blocks while Morgan Johnson contributed seven blocks in their last matches as Longhorns. Bedart-Ghani and Johnson are the only seniors on the Texas roster. The Longhorns started four freshmen throughout the NCAA Tournament and White, a junior, was the Big 12’s Player of the Year this fall. Redshirting middle blocker Asjia O’Neal was the nation’s second-ranked recruit in 2018, and UT’s 2019 recruiting class is made up of outside hitter Skylar Fields and middle blocker Molly Phillips.
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