After a tough week on the road, where the Husker Women’s Volleyball team lost in five to Illinois and in three to Penn State, the ladies spent Sunday evening watching ESPNU to see where, when, and who they’d be playing in the NCAA tournament which starts December 5th at campus sites and concludes December 20th in Oklahoma City.
The good news is that for the 33rd straight year, the Huskers made the tournament. The bad news is that if the Huskers hope to make it to the Final Four, they’ll likely have to go through the Washington Huskies in Seattle.
The Huskers will host Kansas State, Utah, and Hofstra at the Devaney Center for the first round of the tournament. Kansas State takes on Utah at 4:30 on Friday the 5th, and then the Huskers take on the Colonial Conference Tournament Champions Hofstra at 7:00 or half an hour after the conclusion of the first match, whichever is later.
The winner of the Friday matches will play Saturday night at 7:00. Both Kansas State and Utah have impressive resumes, with Kansas State bringing a 22-8 record into the tournament, and the Utes finishing the regular season 19-12, but that record includes a win over Washington. Hofstra has a 28-5 record.
If the Huskers play the way they’ve shown they’re capable of playing, they should make it out of the second round and on to Seattle. However, it would require this team to play the best matches of their season to advance beyond the Sweet Sixteen. Washington has only lost two matches all year, in one road trip through Boulder, Colorado and Salt Lake City, Utah.
What remains to be seen for the Huskers is how well the Rolfzens can play on the big stage this year, as many fans are looking to them to be the leaders of the team. The other big question for the Huskers is who will play middle blocker? Will we see Cecilia Hall and Meghan Haggerty consistently, or will Kira Larson see significant time.
It’s hard to be real confident going into the post-season with so many questions, but the Huskers have shown on multiple occasions this year that they have the ability to beat elite competition. The question will be how well and how long this young team can come together and play with the country’s best.