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In a semifinal shocker, University of Texas volleyball swept No. 1 seed Wisconsin 3-0 to advance to the NCAA Championship Tournament finals.
The team is looking to bring home their fourth national championship title as they head into their first national championship match since 2016.
Even with just a few fans in the Omaha, Nebraska stadium, the anticipation was palpable as they made a comeback from a 20-16 deficit to take the first set 26-24. Then again as they sailed to a 25-19 second-set victory. Finally, it looked like a tie game, 24-24. after a hit by Logan Eggleston shot out of bounds in the third set. But Head Coach Jerritt Elliott noticed that a slight touch might have been made by Wisconsin blockers as it fell. The point was challenged, then overruled.
Texas had punched the golden ticket to the championships.
Eggleston nearly dished out a double as she led the team with 17 kills. Eggleston also contributed nine digs, one block and a service ace to the match. Middle blockers Brionne Butler and Asjia O'Neal notched 11 kills apiece, with each holding over .600 hitting percentage. Longhorns setter Jhenna Gabriel contributed 42 assists to the match, as well as eight digs and one block.
The Longhorns officially marred Wisconsin's perfect record with the sweep and advanced to the national championships. At No. 3, Texas' record is near-perfect itself, with one 3-2 misstep against Rice on March 23.
Texas has long been a volleyball stronghold. They've consistently made it to Regionals since 2016, when they last made a championship run but fell to Stanford in the finals.
With a matchup against No. 2 Kentucky on the horizon, the team will look to plaster their name on the National Champions trophy for the first time since 2012.
The final match of the 2020-21 season will kick off against Kentucky at 7 p.m. on Saturday in Omaha, Nebraska.
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A week after Texas added two congressional seats and California lost one, state officials reported a population decline in 2020 for the first time in the Golden State's history.
California fell by over 182,000 people from January 2020 to January 2021, dropping almost 0.5% to cap out at around 39.5 million people. It is still the nation's most populous state.
For over thirty years, California has seen more people leave than move in from other states, state officials said, with 6.1 million people moving out and 4.9 million coming in last year. Immigration and births kept California growing, but the state saw a shrink in international migration in 2020 due to COVID and the White House's hold on visas.
Of the steady flow of ex-Californians moving to other states, more are moving to Texas than any other state. Many are relocating to Austin, which has been labeled a "little California" by billionaire resident Elon Musk and continues to grow astronomically.
Meanwhile, California cities including Los Angeles, San Diego, San Jose and San Francisco saw a population decline.
With immigration and state migration on the decline, the Golden State was also hit with a spike in deaths- 51,000 people died from COVID in 2020, and all but seven of the state's counties saw death rates higher than the three-year average.
Still, the California Department of Finance said a "slightly positive annual growth" can be expected next year as the state recovers from COVID deaths and political repercussions.
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