Huskers Sweep Cougars, Advance to NCAA Regional
LINCOLN, Neb. - The fifth-ranked Nebraska volleyball team put on a dominating display to win its NCAA Tournament second-round match against Washington State, 3-0 (25-13, 25-13, 25-18), on Saturday night.
In front of a soldout crowd of 8,103 at the Bob Devaney Sports Center, the Huskers (28-4) shut down the Washington State attack, holding the Cougars (18-16) to .033 hitting in the match, WSU's second-lowest attacking percentage of the season. The Huskers limited Washington State to a season-low 20 kills, eight fewer than the Cougars had in any other match in 2017.
Nebraska got 11 kills and three blocks from senior Briana Holman, and with the win the Huskers advance to an NCAA Regional for the 23rd time in 24 years. Nebraska will head to Lexington, Kentucky next week and will face Colorado in the regional semifinal. The other pairing in the regional will be fourth-seeded Kentucky and 13th-seeded BYU.
Holman set the tone for the Huskers from the get-go with a pair of early kills, and she finished with a .421 hitting percentage in the match. Annika Albrecht had nine kills and six digs, and Mikaela Foecke chipped in everywhere with seven kills, nine digs, four blocks - including three solo stuffs - and two service aces. Jazz Sweet tacked on five kills on only 10 swings.
Taylor Mims led Washington State with nine kills, but the Huskers held her to a .043 hitting percentage.
Set 1: Holman pounded a pair of kills early to help the Huskers to a 5-0 start. Hayley Densberger served an ace, and Sweet added two kills and Albrecht had one as the Huskers took a 12-6 lead on a 5-0 run. Nebraska continued to click offensively as a kill by Lauren Stivrins made it 17-9. The defense was strong, too, as Holman and Foecke stuffed a Cougar attack to help the Huskers to a 20-11 lead. Holman hammered down an overpass for set point, and NU won 25-13, holding the Cougars to .000 hitting.
Set 2: After Washington State won the first rally, Nebraska reeled off six points in a row with Albrecht and Hunter smashing two kills each and Maloney serving. The Big Red went up 14-3 with Foecke serving a 6-0 run that included an ace and two kills by the West Point, Iowa native. Stivrins placed a pair of kills and Foecke recorded two solo blocks to make it 22-8 Huskers. NU won 25-13 once again on a Holman kill, her ninth kill of the match. The Husker defense was even more stifling in set two, holding the Cougars to -.120 hitting in the set with just three kills on 25 swings.
Set 3: Nebraska never trailed in set three, though Washington State hung around, down 15-13 at the media timeout. But after the break, Holman had a kill and teamed with Sweet for a block after a two-hit call on Washington State, and the Huskers led 18-13. Nebraska finished the match on a 5-0 run with Stivrins posting two kills and a block, and the Huskers finished the sweep at 25-18.
Up Next: Nebraska will play Colorado in a regional semifinal in Louisville, Kentucky. More information, including match time, will be posted to Huskers.com when it becomes available.
Nebraska Post-Match Notes
- Nebraska improved to 28-4 overall and finished the season with a perfect 17-0 home record, its first perfect record at home since 2010.
- Nebraska advanced to an NCAA Regional for the 33rd time in the Huskers’ 36 all-time NCAA Tournament appearances. Nebraska’s 33 regional appearances are the most in NCAA history (Stanford can join Nebraska with 33 NCAA Regional appearances if the Cardinal win tonight against Colorado State).
- The Huskers have advanced to a regional in 23 of the last 24 seasons.
- Nebraska will head to Lexington, Kentucky for an NCAA regional semifinal next weekend. The Huskers played in the Lexington Regional in 2015, the year they won the NCAA Championship. In that regional - which Kentucky was not part of - NU swept BYU in the regional semifinal and beat Washington 3-1 in the final to advance to the NCAA Semifinals in Omaha.
- The Huskers will play Colorado in the regional semifinal next week. Colorado upset 12th-seeded Baylor in the second round. The other teams in the regional will be fourth-seeded Kentucky and 13th-seeded BYU.
- The Huskers won their 15th straight match overall and their 30th straight match at home, extending the longest active home win streak in NCAA Division I.
- The Huskers improved to 73-7 all-time at home in the NCAA Tournament, including an 18-2 record at the Bob Devaney Sports Center.
- Nebraska has won 50 of its last 53 home NCAA Tournament matches.
- The Huskers held Washington State to a season-low 20 kills, eight fewer kills than the Cougars had in any other match in 2017.
- Nebraska also limited the Cougars to an .033 hitting percentage, Washington State's second-lowest mark of the season.
- After never trailing on Friday against Stony Brook, Nebraska trailed just once against Washington State. The Huskers trailed for just one rally over a total of 230 rallies in the NCAA Tournament thus far.