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NCAA Volleyball Final Four: Nebraska vs. Pittsburgh

Nebraska and Pitt face off in the first of two Final Four matchups on Thursday night

NCAA Womens Volleyball: Omaha at Nebraska Dylan Widger-USA TODAY Sports

It is an exciting week for Nebraska sports. Along with big news coming from the football world, volleyball is set for a big showdown with #1 seed Pitt. Nebraska is set to make their 17th appearance in the National Semifinals, also known as the Final Four.

Nebraska has faired reasonably well in Final Four matchups. They have a 10-6 record in the semifinal match and then they are 5-5 in the National Championship match. Hopefully we can make that National Championship record over .500 this year.

Pitt has been one of the strongest teams in the NCAA this year standing at 29-4. While the ACC hasn’t been one of the most competitive conferences this year, they have still shown that they belong at the top with the rest of the Final Four teams.

Pitt in the NCAA Tournament:

Pitt also got to host a regional in this tournament being a #1 seed as well. This is the second time in three years they have been named a #1 seed.

The Panthers started off their run with a rather easy match, like the Huskers did, against Coppin State. They easily won this one 3-0.

Next, they took on #8 seed USC in the second round. USC took them to four sets, but Pitt still came out on top winning 3-1.

Pitt, then, moved on to play #4 seed Washington State in the Regional Semifinal. I think a lot of people were shocked that WSU got swept by Pitt after the how good they were looking so far, but Pitt came out on top 3-0 to knock out the Cougs.

After beating WSU, Pitt set themselves up for a rematch against ACC rival Louisville in the Regional Final. The Cardinals were hungry for a win after Pitt upset them right before the tournament on November 18th.

This match was another close one that went the distance, but, of course, Pitt came out on top 3-2. Pitt completed the reverse sweep in this match which means they won the back three sets while Louisville won the first two sets only.

This brings us to the National Semifinal on Thursday when Nebraska and Pitt meet in Tampa, Florida.

Pitt’s Heavy Hitters and Defensive Weapons:

Pitt has proved to be a strong team all year and on Thursday, the Huskers will see the best of the best from them.

Pitt leads the tournament right now in the hitting percentage column. They are hitting .340 through 4 matches played.

The Panthers have found themselves a star in Freshman Olivia Babcock. In their match against Louisville, Babcock had 16 kills and a 0.286 hitting percentage.

Another freshman, Torrey Stafford, has proven to be one of their stars as well. In the Regional Final, Stafford managed 18 kills and a hitting percentage of .378.

Babcock and Stafford will be the two-headed monster against the Huskers and will need to be shut down early. They had 34 of the 57 kills between the two of them in their match against Louisville. The Nebraska defense needs to play lights out.

Torrey Stafford is also one of their top defensive players as well. She had 11 digs and 2 blocks against Louisville. Junior Emmy Klika also had 11 digs in the match as well.

Their bigs at the net in Olivia Babcock and Emma Monks will look to shut down Huskers hitters. They had 5 and 9 blocks, respectively, in their match against Louisville.

On Thursday, it’s go time to make it back to the National Title game for Nebraska. They will first need to go through Pitt to make it back there. It is Nebraska’s time to show everyone that this is their year and the National Title belongs in Lincoln.

Pitt will look to avenge their 2021 National Semifinal loss to Nebraska and make it to the Title game. This will be an amazing match and Nebraska needs to be on their A game and can’t take a set off.

On the other side of the bracket, #1 seed Wisconsin takes on #2 seed Texas at the conclusion of the Nebraska-Pitt match at 8:30 p.m. CST.

#1 seed Nebraska takes on #1 seed Pitt on Thursday, December 14th at 6:00 p.m. CST in Tampa, Florida at Amalie Arena. The match will be televised on ESPN.

#1 Nebraska (32-1)

#2 Bergen Reilly 6’1” FR S
#5 Bekka Allick 6’4” SO MB
#6 Laney Choboy 5’3” FR DS/Libero
#7 Maisie Boesiger 5’6” SO DS/Libero
#8 Lexi Rodriguez 5’5” JR DS/Libero
#9 Kennedi Orr 6’0” JR S
#10 Caroline Jurevicius 6’2” FR OH
#11 Hayden Kubik 6’2” SO OH
#13 Merritt Beason 6’4” JR OH
#14 Ally Batenhorst 6’5” JR OH
#15 Andi Jackson 6’3” FR MB
#22 Lindsay Krause 6’4” JR OH
#27 Harper Murray 6’2” FR OH
#44 Maggie Mendelson 6’5” SO MB

#1 Pittsburgh Panthers (29-4)

#2 Valeria Vazquez Gomez 6’1” Redshirt SR OH
#3 Cat Flood 6’2” SR OH
#4 Torrey Stafford 6’2” FR OH
#5 Olivia Babcock 6’5” FR RS
#9 Emma Monks 6’4” Grad Student MB
#10 Rachel Fairbanks 6’0” JR S/RS
#12 Emmy Kilka 5’7” JR DS/Libero
#14 Logan Mosley 5’6” Grad Student DS/Libero
#20 Chiamaka Nwokolo Grad Student MB