Huskers Headed to Omaha

By NU Athletic Communications
Nebraska's next match is at the Qwest Center on Thursday.
Nebraska's next match is at the Qwest Center on Thursday.
Photo by Scott Bruhn/Nebraska Communications

Gainesville, Fla. – Sarah Pavan and Jordan Larson combined for 41 kills, as No. 1 Nebraska clinchéd the first berth in the NCAA National Semifinals with a 25-30, 22-30, 30-20, 30-25, 15-9 victory over No. 9 Minnesota Saturday afternoon at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center in Gainesville, Fla.

 

The Huskers, who improved to 31-1 on the season, did it the hard way, winning the final three games after falling behind 2-0 to earn their 10th trip to the national semifinals. It marked the 10th time in school history and the first time in NCAA tournament play that Nebraska had rallied back from a 2-0 deficit.

 

“This is the way it should be to get to the Final Four.” Nebraska Head Coach John Cook said. “Our team certainly showed a lot of character tonight, and prior to this we weren’t sure we had a lot of character because we hadn’t been put in a situation like this before. Minnesota played very, very well, especially in the first two games, but we hung in there and did what we’ve been working on all year, which is playing point by point and not taking our eyes off of this match and looking ahead to Omaha.”

 

Larson posted her 21st double-double of the year, totaling a career high 21 kills and 17 digs en route to Regional Most Outstanding Player honors. Pavan finished with 20 kills and 11 digs for her fourth double-double of the year and joined Larson and freshman setter Rachel Holloway, who totaled a career-high 65 assists, on the Regional All-Tournament team. It marked the first time that two Huskers had at least 20 kills in a match since the 2004 campaign.

 

The Huskers would not be going to Omaha if it weren’t for the efforts of seniors Dani Mancuso and Dani Busboom, both of whom made major contributions in NU’s comeback. Mancuso totaled a season-high 15 kill, while Busboom tied Larson for team-high honors with 17 digs. Tracy Stalls was the fourth Husker to finish in double figures in kills, totaling 13 kills on .375 hitting and adding a team-high six stuffs.

 

Cook said the comeback capped an amazing season that will see the Huskers shoot for their third national title in school history in front of sellout crowds at the Qwest Center in Omaha beginning Thursday evening. Nebraska will play in Thursday's first national semifinal, slated for a 6:30 p.m. start.

 

“I can’t tell you how much this team has been living with what I want to call pressure to play in the Final Four in Omaha in front of a sold-out Qwest Center,” Cook said. “They’ve done an amazing job of handling those expectations, so this is a tremendous and historic win for Nebraska since it’s the first time we’ve made it to the Final Four without going outside of Nebraska to get there.”

 

Busboom, one of three captains, said the Huskers showed the fortitude to be the first Nebraska volleyball team to win a regional away from home.

 

“All year we’ve been saying that this team is different than all of the other Nebraska teams in the past, and I think it really showed tonight,” Busboom said. “Everyone was struggling in the first two games, and then everyone picked it up instead of putting it all on one person’s back.”

 

The comeback was never more evident than in game five, when the Huskers hit a match-high .522 on 23 swings, including four kills by Pavan and three each from Stalls and Larson after the Huskers hit under .300 in each of the first four games.

 

It looked bleak for the Huskers early on, as Nebraska struggled offensively in the first two games, hitting under .120 in both games in falling behind 2-0 for the first time all season. NU committed 22 errors in the first two games, while the Gophers played inspired ball early on.

 

According to Larson, the Huskers’ intermission talk awoke NU from its sluggish start.

 

“We came into the third game knowing we were better than how we’d been playing. We’ve worked all year to get this far, and so I think we all just had a complete mental change.”

 

In game three, the Huskers took control midway through the game, as strong serving from Rachel Schwartz and Tracy Stalls keyed a 7-1 run, turning a 9-all deadlock into a 16-10 advantage after a Gopher hitting errors. Minnesota pulled to within 17-14, but could not get closer as a Larson kill began a run of four straight points with the sophomore at the service line, as Minnesota would not get closer than five points the rest of the way.

 

Nebraska continued the momentum in game four, hitting .255 as Larson keyed a 30-25 win. The Huskers jumped on the Gophers early, racing out to an 11-3 lead after a Pavan service ace. Minnesota, which ended its season with a 26-8 mark, fought back to within 22-20, but kills by Mancuso and Larson gave NU a four-point lead. UM got to within 24-21, but two Pavan kills and a Gopher hitting error gave Nebraska the margin they needed to get into a game five.

 

The Huskers, who had played only two five-game matches all season, used strong serving from Holloway to jump on the Gophers, scoring the first five points. From there, the Huskers continued to add to thei lead, pushing the margin to 11-4 on Rachel Schwartz’s third ace of the night. Minnesota cut the lead to 14-9, but Pavan slammed home her 21st kill for match point, setting off a jubilent celebration among the Husker supporters who traveled to Florida for the regional.

 

 

Minnesota vs Nebraska (Dec 09, 2006)



Volleyball Box Score


Volleyball Box Score Nebraska Volleyball #9 Minnesota vs #1 Nebraska (Dec 09, 2006 at Gainesville, Fla.)

Minnesota | ATTACK |SET| SERVE |SRV|DEF| BLOCK |GEN ## Name GP| K E TA PCT| A| SA SE| RE|DIG|BS BA BE|BHE|POINTS ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ 1 Bowman, Kelly....... 5| 7 5 17 .118| 2| 0 1| 3| 9| 1 3 0| 0| 9.5 4 Cumpston, Meghan.... 5| 6 8 38 -.053| 0| 3 3| 0| 13| 0 1 0| 0| 9.5 5 Nelson, Meredith.... 5| 15 5 33 .303| 0| 1 2| 0| 2| 1 3 1| 0| 18.5 8 Hartmann, Rachel.... 5| 0 2 5 -.400| 49| 2 2| 0| 7| 1 2 1| 4| 4.0 11 Jones, Jessy........ 5| 14 3 32 .344| 0| 0 0| 0| 1| 2 8 0| 0| 20.0 12 Roehrig, Kyla....... 5| 15 5 44 .227| 0| 0 0| 0| 1| 0 5 0| 0| 17.5 6 Peniata, Malama..... 5| 2 0 3 .667| 1| 0 0| 4| 23| 0 0 0| 0| 2.0 15 Tan, Christine...... 5| 0 0 0 .000| 0| 0 0| 1| 18| 0 0 0| 0| 0.0 16 Vatterrodt, Katie... 1| 1 0 2 .500| 0| 0 0| 0| 0| 0 0 0| 0| 1.0 ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ Totals.............. 5| 60 28 174 .184| 52| 6 8| 8| 74| 5 22 2| 4| 82.0

TEAM ATTACK PER GAME TOTAL TEAM BLOCKS: 16.0 Game K E TA Pct 1 14 5 39 .231 GAME SCORES 1 2 3 4 5 TEAM RECORDS 2 13 4 32 .281 Minnesota........... (2) 30 30 20 25 9 26-8 3 11 9 33 .061 Nebraska............ (3) 25 22 30 30 15 31-1 4 15 9 51 .118 5 7 1 19 .316

Nebraska | ATTACK |SET| SERVE |SRV|DEF| BLOCK |GEN ## Name GP| K E TA PCT| A| SA SE| RE|DIG|BS BA BE|BHE|POINTS ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ 5 Schwartz, Rachel.... 5| 0 0 0 .000| 0| 3 1| 2| 9| 0 0 0| 0| 3.0 9 Pavan, Sarah........ 5| 20 8 53 .226| 0| 3 4| 0| 11| 0 2 0| 0| 24.0 10 Larson, Jordan...... 5| 21 6 54 .278| 0| 1 3| 2| 17| 0 1 0| 1| 22.5 11 Stalls, Tracy....... 5| 13 4 24 .375| 0| 0 0| 0| 7| 2 4 0| 0| 17.0 12 Holloway, Rachel.... 5| 1 5 15 -.267| 65| 0 1| 0| 3| 0 3 0| 4| 2.5 15 Cooper, Kori........ 5| 6 2 14 .286| 2| 0 0| 0| 1| 0 3 2| 0| 7.5 7 Mancuso, Dani....... 5| 15 7 41 .195| 0| 0 0| 0| 2| 0 1 1| 0| 15.5 18 Busboom, Dani....... 5| 0 0 0 .000| 1| 1 2| 2| 17| 0 0 0| 0| 1.0 ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ Totals.............. 5| 76 32 201 .219| 68| 8 11| 6| 67| 2 14 3| 5| 93.0

TEAM ATTACK PER GAME TOTAL TEAM BLOCKS: 9.0 Game K E TA Pct 1 16 12 45 .089 Site: Gainesville, Fla. (O'Connell Center) 2 16 10 51 .118 Date: Dec 09, 2006 Attend: 2206 Time: 2:29 3 14 5 34 .265 Referees: Donna Carter, Kathy Ferraraccio 4 18 5 48 .271 ID-518784 5 12 0 23 .522

1 2 3 4 5 Total Tie scores 3 3 5 1 0 12 Lead changes 1 2 3 0 0 6


Short Box Score


Short Box Score (Match) Nebraska Volleyball #9 Minnesota vs #1 Nebraska (Dec 09, 2006 at Gainesville, Fla.)

Nebraska def. Minnesota 25-30,22-30,30-20,30-25,15-9

Minnesota (26-8) (Kills-aces-blocks) - Roehrig, Kyla 15-0-5; Nelson, Meredith 15-1-4; Jones, Jessy 14-0-10; Bowman, Kelly 7-0-4; Cumpston, Meghan 6-3-1; Peniata, Malama 2-0-0; Vatterrodt, Katie 1-0-0; Hartmann, Rachel 0-2-3; Totals 60-6-16.0. (Assists) - Hartmann, Rachel 49. (Dig leaders) - Peniata, Malama 23; Tan, Christine 18; Cumpston, Meghan 13; Bowman, Kelly 9

Nebraska (31-1) (Kills-aces-blocks) - Larson, Jordan 21-1-1; Pavan, Sarah 20-3-2; Mancuso, Dani 15-0-1; Stalls, Tracy 13-0-6; Cooper, Kori 6-0-3; Holloway, Rachel 1-0-3; Schwartz, Rachel 0-3-0; Busboom, Dani 0-1-0; Totals 76-8-9.0. (Assists) - Holloway, Rachel 65. (Dig leaders) - Larson, Jordan 17; Busboom, Dani 17; Pavan, Sarah 11; Schwartz, Rachel 9

Site: Gainesville, Fla. (O'Connell Center) Date: Dec 09, 2006 Attend: 2206 Time: 2:29 Referees: Donna Carter, Kathy Ferraraccio ID-518784


MORE NEWS

More News Sponsor - First National Bank

TICKETS

Tickets Sponsor - StubHub