Lincoln - The eighth-seeded Nebraska volleyball team posted its third straight postseason sweep on Friday, topping No. 9 San Diego in straight sets in an NCAA Regional Semifinal in front of 8,297 fans at the Devaney Center.
The Huskers never trailed by more than three at any point in the match, but were constantly pushed by a Torero squad who entered the match with the nation's third-longest winning streak at 17 matches. San Diego produced more kills than Nebraska, but the Huskers committed fewer errors to advance to Saturday's primetime NCAA Regional Final against No. 1 Texas.
First serve tomorrow Saturday is set for 8 p.m. and the match will be televised live on ESPNU. The Longhorns defeated Nebraska, 3-1, in the 2009 NCAA Regional Final in Omaha, and Texas topped the Huskers in five sets in Austin earlier this season.
Nebraska (26-6) was led by a match-high 14 kills from Kelsey Robinson and 11 kills from Meghan Haggerty on Friday. Haggerty hit .588 in the win, committing just one error in 17 swings. Robinson hit .265 and contributed nine digs and four blocks for the Huskers. Kadie Rolfzen narrowly missed a double-double with nine kills and 11 digs, while Mary Pollmiller dished out 29 assists and Justine Wong-Orantes totaled 14 digs. Wong-Orantes also added an ace, as a trio of Husker freshmen combined to produce four aces, including two from Alexa Ethridge and one from Brenna Lyles.
The Huskers hit .254 as a team and out-blocked the Toreros, 9-4.
San Diego was led by 12 kills from Chloe Ferrari and 10 kills from Sandra Lozic. USD produced three more kills than Nebraska (46-to-43), but the Toreros committed 18 attack errors and 10 service errors. C'era Oliveira produced a match-high 17 digs, while Jianna Bonomi (22) and Rachel Alvey (19) combined to produce 41 of San Diego's 45 assists. The Toreros ended their season with a 26-4 record while matching the best finish in school history.
In set one, the teams traded sideouts until seven consecutive points on strong serving from Lyles gave the Huskers a 9-3 lead and forced San Diego to call an early timeout. Nebraska, which produced 10 kills in its first 16 attacks, stretched the lead to 15-7 with three straight points. San Diego spent its final timeout after Robinson's fifth kill gave NU a 19-10 advantage. The Toreros won back-to-back rallies for the first time following the timeout, then used three consecutive points to trim the lead to 22-16. Three straight Husker attack errors pulled USD within four at 23-19, before two Robinson kills in the final three rallies closed out a 25-20 victory. Robinson produced eight kills in the set, as Nebraska hit .325 and out-blocked San Diego, 3-0.
Three consecutive points gave Nebraska an early 6-3 lead in set two, before San Diego stormed back to tie the score at 7-7. The Huskers could not regain a three-point advantage until taking a 15-12 lead at the media timeout. Nebraska stretched the lead to four after the timeout and the teams then traded sideouts for the next 15 rallies before San Diego held serve to cut the lead to 23-21 and force a Husker timeout. A Haggerty kill gave Nebraska three set points and the Toreros fought off the first two before the Huskers spent their final timeout. The timeout was well spent, as a service error gave Nebraska a 25-23 win. Errors doomed San Diego in set two, as the Toreros produced seven hitting errors and five service errors. USD produced a 21-12 advantage in kills in the set, out-dug Nebraska by five and matched the Huskers with a pair of blocks.
Set three was a back-and-forth affair that featured 13 ties and five lead changes. San Diego won the first three rallies of the set to take its first multi-point lead of the match. Four straight Torero errors - including back-to-back Husker blocks - quickly put Nebraska in front 4-3. USD regained the lead at 10-8 after NU committed three consecutive errors. Nebraska fought back to regain the lead at 14-13 before San Diego won the next two rallies to earn a one-point advantage at the media timeout. The teams traded sideouts until back-to-back Ethridge aces put the Huskers back on top, 19-17. A service error and a Kadie Rolfzen roll shot pushed the NU lead to 21-18. A thunderous Robinson kill put Nebraska two points away from taking the match and forced a Torero timeout with the score 23-20. A Husker block gave NU four straight match points and again San Diego spoiled two straight opportunities and forced a Husker timeout. A Haggerty ricochet kill following the timeout gave Haggerty her 11th kill and Nebraska a 25-22 win. NU held San Diego to a .125 attack percentage in the third set, while Kadie Rolfzen put down five kills.
Nebraska Post-Match Notes
- Nebraska improved to 26-6 with its 16th sweep of the season.
- NU posted its 199th consecutive home sellout with an attendance of 8,297.
- The Huskers improved to 89-28 all-time in the NCAA Tournament. Nebraska ranks second in NCAA history in postseason wins.
- Nebraska advanced to the NCAA Regional Final for the second straight season and for the 23rd time in 32 all-time NCAA Tournament appearances.
- The Huskers joined fellow conference members Penn State, Purdue and Wisconsin in the NCAA Regional Finals, as four of the eight teams still alive in the tournament are from the Big Ten.
- Nebraska improved to 34-17 in NCAA Regional matches, including a 23-6 mark in NCAA Regional Semifinals.
- Nebraska moved to 66-7 in home matches during the NCAA Tournament, including an 8-1 record at the Bob Devaney Sports Center.
- The Huskers improved to 11-5 vs. ranked opponents this season.
- Nebraska moved to 6-0 against San Diego, including a 3-0 record in the NCAA Tournament.
- Kelsey Robinson had 14 kills to eclipse 500 kills this season. Robinson is just the sixth Huskers to total 500 kills in a season and her 509 kills rank eighth in school history.
- Robinson produced 14 kills after totaling 14 combined kills in Nebraska's first two NCAA Tournament matches.
- Amber Rolfzen produced two blocks, to push past the century mark in blocks this season (101).
- Meghan Haggerty's .588 attack percentage ranked just outside of the top-10 postseason hitting percentages in school history.
San Diego Post-Match Notes
- San Diego ended its season with a 26-4 record. The Toreros saw their 17-match winning streak snapped, the third-longest streak in the nation and second-longest in school history.
- USD's 26 wins are the most under 15th-year head coach Jennifer Petrie and the second-most in school history, trailing the 28 wins in 2011 when Petrie missed the season while spending time with her newborn daughter.
- The Torerors were swept for only second time this season and for the first time by a ranked opponent.
- San Diego ended its year with a 5-2 record vs. ranked teams. The Toreros had won five straight matches against ranked opponents before losing to Nebraska.
- San Diego fell to 13-17 record in its 17 all-time NCAA Tournament matches. The Toreros advanced to the third NCAA Regional appearance in school history, matching the best finish in school history. USD has been eliminated by Nebraska in two of the Toreros' three NCAA Regional appearances.
- USD fell to 0-6 all-time against Nebraska, including an 0-3 mark in the NCAA Tournament.
- San Diego had 10 service errors in the loss. It marked the first time in 28 consecutive matches that the Toreros finished with double-digit service errors.
- Senior Chloe Ferrari finished her San Diego career in 10th place in school history with 1,228 career kills.
- Ferrari finished the 2013 season with a .444 hitting percentage, smashing her own school-record mark of .403 in 2010. Ferrari is the only player in USD history to post a .400 season hitting percentage.
- Ferrari finished her senior season with 100 blocks, and she ranks eighth all-time at USD with 329 career blocks.
- Ferrari and classmate Katie Hoekman ended their careers ranked first and second, respectively, in career hitting percentage at USD.
- Senior Katie Hoekman ended her career with 365 blocks, good for sixth in USD history.
- Senior C'era Oliveira produced a match-high 17 digs to finish her career with 1,337 digs. She ranks third all-time in digs at San Diego.
- Oliveira finished with 520 digs this season, good for third place in school history.