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National Finals! Nebraska Volleyball Powers Through Pitt Into Championship Game

Jordan Opp

Nebraska 3 vs Pitt 1- 16-25, 25-17, 25-20, 25-22

Nebraska started slow with poor passes on serve receive but played through it and found a way to play their style of volleyball against a fast and offensive Pitt team.

The Nebraska vs Pitt match started later than scheduled because of the five set back and forth match between Wisconsin and Louisville. There were many long rallies packed with offense and defense. Wisconsin came up with key plays in set five and won the match to advance to the national championship match. 25-23, 15-25, 25-21, 23-25, 15-9.

Set 1 - Lexi Rodriguez was off to a slow start. She was aced early and also missed her serve. She played solid defense and tried to work herself out of it. Pitt passed very well in set one and was able to run anything they wanted on offense.

Kenzie Knuckles came to the service line and started to disrupt the Pitt offense by making the setter move off the net. With the setter off the net the Nebraska block was able to set up and blocked Member-Meneh deep in the court. Ultimately, Pitt served tough and Huskers didn’t pass well. Pitt took set 1.

Set 2 - Madi Kubik was on fire attacking and from the service line. She had her third ace of the match. Nicklin Hames continued the trend of tough serves and took the score to 10-7, Nebraska. Huskers continued to struggle passing serve which caused trouble for their offense.

Pitt called their first timeout of the match at 14-9 Nebraska. Nebraska was able to set up their block. Kubik made two big blocks and forced Pitt to call a second timeout 18-11. Pitt made service errors in key times during set 2. Those along with better Husker passing and serving led to a Nebraska win 25-17.

Set 3 - The passing was much better for Nebraska this set. Pitt also missed fewer serves so the set was close. Rodriguez went back to serve at 13-13. Lindsey Krause produced a kill on the right side, 14-13. Both teams seemed to have settled down and this was the best volleyball on both side of net so far in the match.

Early in set 3, Ally Batenhorst fell backwards on her wrist. She was not able to produce kills after this small injury. Late in the set, Lauren Stivrins went back to serve and produced an ace, 19-18 Nebraska. Kubik dug a tough ball in left back that led to a Kayla Caffey kill on the slide 20-18. A one armed dig by Kubik led to a backrow attack by Stivrins for a kill, 23-18. Lindsay Krause ended set 3 with a kill, 25-20.

Set 4 - Knuckles went to the service line early and earned an ace. Her next serve produced an overpass that Caffey took care of with a kill. Nebraska started moving Stivrins around on offense and this produced kills, 8-5. Hames attacked the ball on second contact, Pitt dug it but over the net, Stivrins attacked for the kill, 11-7.

Pitt continued to miss serves. They reached 12 this set. Krause began to fire shots and earned her 8th kill of the match, 14-10. A couple odd mistakes reduces Nebraska’s lead to 18-16. An overpass dropped on Nebraska’s floor without anyone touching it and Caffey hit the next ball well out of bound.

Late in the set Kubik hit high off hands to reach 20-18. The match was tied and Member-Meneh was stuffed to the court by Krause and Stivrins. The next play Member-Meneh hit a powerful shot but it hit the antennae then the block for a Nebraska point, 22-20. A Stivrins kill on the slide takes it to 24-21. A block finishes the match 25-22.

Nebraska advances to the NCAA Championship Final on Saturday, Dec. 18 at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio. The match is set for 6:30 p.m. CT and will be televised on ESPN2.