Nebraska advanced to the Wisconsin regional by sweeping South Dakota State and Wichita State. Iowa State may have done the Huskers a big favor when they swept Wisconsin to advance to the Madison regional. Not only did they sweep the highest seed the Huskers would face, but they reinforced the idea that the tourney goes to the team playing best, not necessarily the best team.
The Cornhusker volleyballers continue NCAA Tourney play tonight, taking on Michigan State at around 7:00 pm or after the Iowa State - California game. You can see Friday's game streamed live on UWBadgers.com. The Regional final will be shown on ESPNU at 8:00 pm Saturday night.
On paper Nebraska has the easiest path to the Final Four, as the Huskers must defeat Michigan State and the winner of Iowa State/Cal to advance. By comparison, check out what Texas has to do to advance to the Final Four:
Madison, Wisconsin Regional
Iowa State (19-13) vs. (10) California (24-7)
Michigan State (21-13) vs. (2) Nebraska (29-1)
Stanford, California Regional
(1) Stanford (29-2) vs. (16) Cal Poly (23-7)
Oregon (22-10) vs. (8) UCLA (22-10)
Gainesville, Florida Regional
(5) Southern California (27-4) vs. (12) St. John's (33-3)
(13) Florida (29-2) vs. (4) Texas (26-3)
University Park, Pennsylvania Regional
(3) Penn State (30-2) vs. Michigan (24-10)
Middle Tennessee (35-2) vs. BYU (23-7)
Other Volleyball Bits:
- Nebraska had five first-team AVCA Central Region selections – Rachel Holloway, Christina Houghtelling, Jordan Larson, Sarah Pavan and Tracy Stalls. The Huskers were the only program in the nation to have five first-team all-region selections.
Being named to the regional team makes the players eligible for AVCA (American Volleyball Coaches Association) All-America team. Sarah Pavan is on her way to becoming only the fourth player in NCAA Division I history to become a four-time first-team All-American.
- Going through the notes on Huskers.com, a few things stick out:
Christina Houghtelling is four kills shy of 1,000, while Sarah Pavan needs 26 kills to be the first Husker with 2,000 kills.
Nebraska has won 15 straight matches against Big Ten teams dating back to the 1999 season, while NU Head Coach John Cook is 13-0 against teams from the Big Ten since taking over the Husker program in 2000.
I still have to remind myself that Rachel Holloway is a sophomore.
- The Grand Island Independent has an update on Houghtelling's injury - toward the bottom of the article. Watching the Wichita State game online, it was clear she was in pain, although it was unclear whether the pain was physical or she was upset that she wasn't playing. As Bill Callahan would say - she's "day to day". Let's hope she's able to go.
- Mrs Corn Nation loves how Jordan Larson serves. She has good taste, as Larson is currently fourth on Nebraska's All-Time Service Ace list with 145. She is two ahead of Pavan.
- If you're on Facebook, you might consider joining the group "Husker Volleyball: Easy on the Eyes ...Hard on the Balls". BTW, Corn Nation is available on Facebook with the profile "Corn Nation".