In the first of four NCAA Regional Finals on Saturday, the #4 seed Nebraska Huskers took on the #5 seed Washington Huskies. Nebraska knocked off Washington 3- 1 (25-17, 21-25, 25-20, 25-21).
The teams started the first set trading points, but the Huskers quickly opened a 6-2 lead with a 5-0 run to force the first Washington timeout early in the set.
Washington took the first set out of the timeout, but the Rolfzen Twins block kept Washington from going on a run. Washington got the next point, but then Nebraska earned the sideout and put Mikaela Foecke on the line with the score 8-4. Foecke ran off three straight, including an ace, and Washington used their second timeout of set with the score 11-4 Nebraska.
Foecke pushed the run to five before the Huskers lost the serve, but Washington only held serve for one point before an Amber Rolfzen kill gave the Huskers the ball back.
The Huskers held and eight point advantage for a good part of the set, but Washington began to close the gap and with the score 17-12 in the Huskers' favor, Coach Cook called the first Husker timeout.
Washington kept slowly chipping away, whittling the Nebraska lead to four at 18-14, but Nebraska began opening the lead again at 22-17, using a 4-0 run to finish the set 25-17.
The Huskers hit .304 in the first set to .148 for Washington. The Huskers also had four blocks to two for Washington.
Kelly Hunter started the Husker scoring in the second set with the solo block on the Washington overpass, but three straight Nebraska errors gave Washington the 3-1 lead before Kadie Rolfzen got the kill and the sideout.
The teams then took to trading sideouts briefly, but the Huskers tied it with a Mikaela Foecke kill at five and took the lead with an Amber Rolfzen kill.
After the Huskers took the 6-5 lead, the teams traded points to 9-8 Nebraska, when a Kelly Hunter dump gave the Huskers the two point lead. The Huskers extended the lead to 11-8 when Washington Coach Keegan Cook took the first Huskie (Husky? What is the singular that Washington uses?) timeout of the set.
Amber Rolfzen aced the Washington right out of the timeout, but then Washington put together a three-point run to close within one before the Huskers took the sideout.
Washington tied the score at 15 with another three-point run to force Nebraska's first timeout of the second set.
Cecilia Hall tipped to ball to the middle of the Washington floor to retake the lead for Nebraska out of the timeout.
The Huskers began to extend the lead at 19-17 which led to Washington taking a quick timeout in an attempt to stop the building Nebraska momentum.
Washington scored the next four points to make the score 21-19 Huskies and force Nebraska to take their second and final timeout of the set.
Washington pushed the run to 5-0 before a hitting error gave the ball to Nebraska with the score 22-20 Nebraska. Alicia Ostrander subbed in for an ineffective Kelsey Fien before Amber Rolfzen's serve. Nebraska scored another point, but then Rolfzen's serve found the bottom of the net to give Washington the 23-21 lead. The Huskies took the set 25-21.
The Huskers defense somewhat fell apart in the second half of the second set. Passes and serve-receives ran Kelly Hunter all over the court, which made it very difficult to get the ball to the hitters. When the ball was there, the hitters couldn't get the ball down, or got blocked.
Washington took a quick 2-0 lead in the second set, and then opened it to 6-2 with two straight aces, leading to an early Nebraska timeout.
The Washington serve found the middle of the net out of the timeout, and then Foecke buried the Washington overpass to make it 6-4 Huskies. A sloppy point with a lot of net play ended with a Hunter kill to make the score 6-5 Washington.
Kadie Rolfzen's next serve missed out of bounds, but another Foecke kill brought the Huskers back to within one.
Sydney Townsend made her return to the line-up after sitting out the last three matches, and found the sideline with her serve to tie the score at eight.
Washington opened up a 10-8 lead, but the Huskers tied it again at ten and played with Washington having the sideout advantage while the teams traded points.
The Huskers took their first lead of the set at 14-13 on a Washington attack error. The Huskers then kept the advantage as the teams traded points briefly, but the Huskers opened the lead to 16-14 leading to the first Washington timeout of the set.
Washington tied the score at 16 out of the timeout, but Kelly Hunter ended the brief run with a dump in the middle of the Washington defense. That sparked a 3-0 Husker run that resulted in Washington's second timeout of the set.
Washington ended the Husker on the first point after the timeout, but Hall got the next point to push the lead back to three. Hunter then had two straight aces to make the score 22-17 Nebraska.
A Fien kill pushed the lead to 23-17 Nebraska before Washington blocked Kelsey Fien to make it 23-18 Huskers.
Washington fended off the first Husker set point by tooling the Husker block, but Foecke ended the set with an off-speed kill to the middle of the court.
The Huskers opened up a quick 3-0 lead in the fourth on a dynamic offense that included hard attacks and off-speed shots.
The teams traded points with the Huskers holding that advantage and then Nebraska opened the lead up to 7-3 which led to Washington's first timeout of the set. Nebraska pushed the lead to five out of the timeout.
The Huskers had a 9-4 lead, but then Washington put together a 3-0 run to close the score to 9-7. The Huskers traded points with the Huskies until a 3-0 Husker run made the score 15-10 Nebraska and forced the final Washington timeout of the set.
The lead for Nebraska stayed between four and six points until Washington closed the score to 22-19 Nebraska, when Nebraska used their first timeout of the fourth set.
An Amber Rolfzen/Kelly Hunter roof block made the lead four for the Huskers again after the timeout, and the teams traded points to give the Huskers their first match point, 24-20. Washington fended off the first one, but a Kelsey Fien kill finished the match, 25-21.
Kadie Rolfzen had a phenomenal final set, hitting .818 with 9 kills on 11 attempts. The team hit .436 in the fourth set.
The Huskers hit .296 for the match to .204 for Washington. Kadie Rolfzen had 20 kills for the Huskers and hit .472. Mikaela Foecke had 11 kills on 23 swings with three errors to hit .348.
The Huskers outdug Washington 61-49, led by Justine Wong-Orantes' 18. Kadie Rolfzen had her second double-double in as many nights, adding 15 digs to her 20 kills.
The Huskers had one more block than Washington, 12-11. Amber Rolfzen was a part of eight of those blocks, taking care of one of them on her own. Kelly Hunter had one solo block, which was spectacular, and five assisted blocks.
The Final Four is set for next weekend in Omaha. The Huskers will take a 14-match win streak into their national semi-final match against the Kansas Jayhawks who stunned USC in San Diego at 1 am central. That match will air at 8:30 central on ESPN2. It will be preceded on ESPN2 by Minnesota-Texas at 6:00 central. Both matches will be played at the CenturyLink Center.
I hate to embed my own tweet, but I called this Final Four after Nebraska knocked off Washington.
Just throwing it out there again. Check the time stamps on these. pic.twitter.com/fP6eiNkTmt
— Ty Peteranetz (@Coach_Ty6) December 13, 2015