Nebraska volleyball’s season ends in the Elite Eight with 3-0 loss to Wisconsin

jkoller@klkntv.com

No. 5 Nebraska volleyball’s season comes to an with a 3-0 loss (25-18, 25-22, 25-19) to No. 4 Wisconsin in the NCAA Tournament’s Elite Eight.This is the first time since 2014 that the Huskers will not reach the NCAA Tournament’s Final Four round. Nebraska finishes the season 28-5 overall with three losses to Wisconsin.

The Huskers hit .062 on the match, compared to Wisconsin’s .192 hitting percentage. Nebraska totaled 27 attack errors, 11 of which came on Wisconsin blocks. Leading the way for Nebraska, Lexi Sun produced 11 kills and 11 digs, with Jazz Sweet turning in 11 kills as well. Molly Haggerty turned in a match high 13 kills for Wisconsin.

Courtesy: UNL Media Relations

Huskers’ Season Comes to an End at Wisconsin

MADISON, Wis. – The Nebraska volleyball team’s season came to an end in the NCAA Regional Final against Wisconsin on Saturday evening at the Wisconsin Field House in front of a crowd of 7,052. The fifth-seeded Huskers were swept by the fourth-seeded Badgers, 25-18, 25-22, 25-19. 

Nebraska finished the season 28-5 overall, reaching an NCAA Regional Final for the eighth straight season. No other program in the nation has an Elite Eight streak spanning the last eight years. Three of the Huskers’ five losses came at the hands of the Big Ten champion Badgers, who advanced to the NCAA Semifinals for the first time since 2013. 

Unlike the first two matches this season, the Huskers did a much better job slowing down the Badgers’ high-powered attack, limiting Wisconsin to a season-low .192 hitting percentage. However, the Huskers could not get on track offensively either, hitting a season-low .062 for the match. The Badgers also had four more aces (5-1) and seven more blocks (11-4). 

Jazz Sweet continued her strong play in the NCAA Tournament, pacing the Huskers with 11 kills. Lexi Sun added 11 kills and 11 digs for her 10th double-double of the season, and Madi Kubik added seven kills and 11 digs. Sweet and Sun were named to the All-Regional Team.

Nicklin Hames had 26 assists to go with seven digs, and libero Kenzie Knuckles had a match-high 22 digs, just two shy of the school record for digs in a three-set NCAA Tournament match. 

Molly Haggerty led the Badgers (26-6) with 14 kills. Grace Loberg added nine kills, while Dana Rettke had seven kills and eight blocks. Tiffany Clark led Wisconsin with 17 digs, and Sydney Hilley had 31 assists. 

Set 1: Sweet had a pair of kills and Wisconsin hit long on back-to-back shots to put Nebraska up 5-3 early. Wisconsin then went on an 8-1 run to take an 11-6 lead. The lead went to six at 13-7, but the Huskers chipped away to within two, 14-12, after kills by Sweet and Sun. Wisconsin came back with two kills by Haggerty to go up 16-12, and Nebraska called timeout after the UW lead went back to five, 19-14. Wisconsin’s fifth ace of the set earned it set point at 24-16, and the Badgers won 25-18 to take the early advantage in the match. 

Set 2: Kubik served Nebraska’s first ace against Wisconsin in three matches this season, and Sun posted a kill to put NU on top, 8-6. Schwarzenbach and Sun tallied back-to-back kills to make it 10-7, but the Badgers answered to tie it up at 10-10. Sweet recorded her eighth kill and ninth kills and teamed up with Stivrins for back-to-back blocks to make it 15-11 Big Red. Wisconsin scored three points in a row to get within 16-15, and the Badgers tied it 17-17 on a cross-court kill by Haggerty. The Badgers claimed a 20-19 advantage after a block for their first lead of the set. But the Huskers turned to Sweet for back-to-back kills to reclaim a 21-20 lead. An NU service error tied the set again, and a Husker hitting error put Wisconsin back in the lead, 22-21. Kubik terminated for the Big Red to tie it at 22-22, but the Huskers then committed three straight hitting errors, as the Badgers won 25-22. 

Set 3: Wisconsin was the first team to take a two-point advantage after a kill by Hilley and an attack error by the Huskers made it 12-10 Badgers. Wisconsin led 14-11 before a service error and kill by Kubik cut it to 14-13. The Badgers maintained an 18-15 lead, but Sun posted back-to-back kills, and Anezka Szabo and Schwarzenbach stuffed a Haggerty attack to tie the score at 18-18. Wisconsin answered with a kill by Haggerty and went back up 20-18. After an UW attacking error made it 20-19, Wisconsin scored the final five points of the match to win 25-19. 

Notes

  • Nebraska’s season ended with a 28-5 overall record. The Huskers have won at least 28 matches five years in a row. 
  • Nebraska’s season came to an end in an NCAA Regional Final for the first time since 2014, ending a streak of four straight NCAA Semifinals appearances. 
  • Nebraska is the only program in the nation to reach the Elite Eight in each of the past eight seasons. 
  • The Huskers fell to Wisconsin for a third time, marking the first time an opponent has beaten Nebraska three times in the same season since Texas did so in 2009. 
  • Nebraska fell to 15-14 all-time in NCAA Regional Finals, including 9-8 under Head Coach John Cook
  • Cook is now 83-21 in his NCAA Tournament career. He ranks third in NCAA history in NCAA Tournament coaching victories. 
  • Cook is 75-16 in the NCAA Tournament as Nebraska’s head coach, which has him in third place for the most postseason coaching victories at one school in NCAA history.
  • Nebraska held Wisconsin to a season-low .192 hitting percentage. Meanwhile, the Huskers hit a season-low .062, the lowest hitting percentage in Cook’s tenure at Nebraska (2000-present). It was the first time in the postseason and the third time overall under Cook that Nebraska hit lower than .100. 

 

 

 

 

 

Categories: Husker Sports