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NCAA Womens Volleyball

6 storylines to know ahead of the 2023 DI women’s volleyball national championship

Madisen Skinner, texas volleyball

The national finals are set — (1) Nebraska vs. (2) Texas — and it’ll be the first time that the DI volleyball championship will be aired on ABC. Ahead of this historic matchup, here are six intriguing storylines to be on the lookout for:

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1. Extending streaks

Nebraska and Texas have seen each other on the national championship stage on two prior occasions: 1995 and 2015; the Huskers have beaten the Longhorns 3-1 and 3-0, respectively. The Longhorns lead Nebraska 11-5 in their all-time meetings, but Nebraska won their most recent matchup in the 2021 regional finals, 3-1. And though Nebraska’s won five national titles to Texas’ three, the Longhorns are the defending champions this year. Thus, it’s Texas’ two-peat on the line versus Nebraska’s perfect national championship record over Texas.

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2. Madisen Skinner’s rare title quest

Madisen Skinner swinging between Anna Smrek and CC Crawford in the Texas-Wisconsin women’s volleyball semifinal match in December 2023.

Madisen Skinner is on the hunt for her third national title, but this quest is split between two schools. She played her first two years at Kentucky, where she won the 2020 national championship — notably, over Texas — with a then-career-best 19 kills. After transferring to Texas in 2022, she added another national title to her personal accolades, hitting .307 that year.

Now, the junior hitter is having a career season, achieving Big 12 Player of the Year and AVCA All-American honors. She led the 2-seeded Longhorns to upset (1) Wisconsin in four sets on Thursday, notching a career-high six aces at the line. Up to this date, Skinner has only dropped one NCAA tournament match in the 18 she has participated in, racking up a massive 268 kills on .337 hitting.

Winning three volleyball national championships is rare, but it has been done in the recent past, circa Stanford 2016, 2018 and 2019, and Penn State’s four-peat from 2007-2010. Winning three volleyball national championships between separate teams, though, might just make Skinner a unicorn in this case.

3. Starting lineup age gaps

Bergen Reilly, Nebraska volleyballBergen Reilly in Nebraska volleyball’s semifinal win over Pitt in December 2023.

The makeups of these two rosters could not be more different — their average ages are four years apart (Nebraska: 18,…

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