An upset bid by the Missouri Tigers comes up short as Nebraska advances to the Sweet Sixteen of the NCAA tournament with a 20-25, 25-20, 32-30, 25-18 win.
The difference in the match was the third set victory, which appeared to take something out of the visiting Tigers. The crowd of 8091 might have been a contributing factor as well. The Huskers fans watched their team for the final time this season. Next stop is the Regional Semifinals in Madison, Wisconsin against Hawaii, who swept San Diego 25-23, 25-21, 25-21.
The first set, set the tone for an incredible night at the Bob Devaney Sports Center as Missouri started off strong, taking the first set 25-20, the first set win over Nebraska since 2009.
“We were taking good shots,” Jazz Sweet said. “We were going either too high or trying to paint the line.”
That energized the sold out crowd as Nebraska fought back in the second set, hitting .400 compared to Missouri’s .345 to flip the script, taking the set 25-20.
The third set was one to remember as the two teams combined for 62 points. Nebraska started off slow being down 11-6 before going on an 8-0 run to make the set 14-11 before the Tigers clawed back to tie it. The teams went back and forth from there in a marathon before Nebraska ended the set with a Sweet block, winning 32-30.
“It was definitely a huge team effort to push and keep the game close and tie it up all those times going all the way to 32,” Sweet said.
It is the longest set the Huskers have ever played in the tournament since it was moved to the 25-point system.
The fourth and final set went Nebraska’s way as they won a rare opening point during the weekend, continuing to use the momentum from the wild third set to march their way to the Sweet Sixteen by winning 25-18 to end the Tigers season.
Leading the Huskers was Sweet with 17 kills along with Lexi Sun who had 13 on the night.
The Huskers are on the road next weekend, in Madison, Wisconsin where they take on Hawaii, a 3-0 winner over San Diego late Saturday night. The Badgers make the Regionals with a sweep of UCLA. They will meet Texas A&M, a 3-1 winner over Rice.
Nebraska makes the Regionals for an eighth consecutive season, the 25th time in the last 26 years, and a 35th time overall, which is best all time in the NCAA.
Nebraska and Wisconsin are joined in the Regional Semis by three other Big Ten teams: Minnesota, Penn State and Purdue. Michigan and Illinois were eliminated.
The Fifth-seed Huskers (26-4) are after a fifth consecutive trip to the National Semis, which would a first for the program. They may need to beat Wisconsin to get there. The Badgers have handed the Huskers two of their four losses this season.