By NU Athletic Communications
Lincoln – The Nebraska volleyball team kept a pair of impressive streaks alive with a dominating sweep of UAB in second round NCAA Tournament action at a sold out NU Coliseum on Saturday evening.
Nebraska trailed only three times and never by more than one point while rolling to a 25-14, 25-15, 25-12 victory over the Blazers. With the win, the Huskers advance to their 15th consecutive NCAA Regional, the longest active streak in the nation. Fourth-seeded Nebraska (29-2) will take on the Michigan Wolverines on Friday at the semifinals of the NCAA Seattle Regional, hosted by the University of Washington.
The win was not only enjoyable for the Husker fans that packed the Coliseum for the 120th consecutive time, it was also a historic one. The victory was Nebraska’s 87th straight home win, tying the NCAA record for consecutive home victories set by Penn State between 1995 and 2000. Nebraska’s senior class also finished with a 72-0 career record at home, the first class in program history to never lose a home match.
Nebraska dominated all facets of the game on Saturday. The Huskers improved their hitting percentage by at least .100 points in each set, finishing with a season-high .467 attack percentage. The .467 mark was just .019 points shy of Nebraska’s NCAA Tournament record for attack percentage in a three-set match. The Huskers had only five hitting errors in the match, a season low.
Jordan Larson paced Nebraska with 15 kills, and she also added 10 digs to pick up her ninth double-double in her last 10 matches. Lindsey Licht enjoyed the best postseason performance of her career, pounding 12 kills on only 18 swings for a whopping .556 attack percentage. Overall, no Husker who took a swing hit lower than .375 in the match, while three of Nebraska’s six attackers hit .500 or better.
It was a different story on the other side of the net, as UAB scored its fewest points of the season and finished with just 30 kills and a .105 hitting percentage. The Blazers also had 19 hitting errors, as Nebraska totaled 10 blocks on the night. Playing her final match, Ivana Bozic led UAB with 10 kills.
Despite the loss, the Blazers finished a terrific season with a 27-8 record. UAB established a school-record winning percentage in 2008 and advanced the second round of the NCAA Tournament for the first time in program history.
Nebraska used its defense to gain control of set one, posting six blocks and holding UAB to a .030 attack percentage. The Huskers went in front 12-6 with runs of 4-0 and 5-0. NU’s fifth block of the set put the Huskers ahead 18-11 and UAB spent its final timeout two points later when it still trailed by seven. The timeout did not faze NU, as consecutive kills from Larson, a UAB ball-handling error, a double block and a Licht kill capped a 6-0 run and gave Nebraska a set point at 24-12. The Huskers took the set three points later on another Licht kill.
After the Huskers’ defense was the story of set one, the NU offense dominated the second set. Nebraska pounded out 17 kills on 32 swings and had just one error while hitting .500. Licht was perfect in five swings in the set, while Jordan Wilberger put down three kills in four swings. The Huskers jumped out to an early 7-4 lead on the strength of two blocks. After UAB pulled to within one, Nebraska responded with four straight points to go in front 13-8 and force a Blazer timeout. The Huskers continued to lead by at least four and won by 10 when Tara Mueller closed out the 25-15 win with her third kill of the set.
The Huskers scored six of the first eight points in set three and never looked back. After calling an early timeout, UAB spent its final timeout when NU pulled in front by 10 at 17-7. Nebraska punched its ticket to the next round when Amanda Gates put down her final swing in the NU Coliseum. The Huskers hit .600 in the set, totaling 19 kills on 30 swings with only one error.