Lincoln, Neb. —
The top-seeded Nebraska volleyball team became the first team to advance to the NCAA Semifinals, as the Huskers were dominant in a three-set sweep of Pac-12 Champion Washington, the No. 7 national seed, on Saturday in front of 8,355 fans inside the Bob Devaney Sports Center.
Nebraska limited Washington to just 26 points in the first two set, taking the opener 25-16 before winning the first nine rallies of set two en route to a 25-10 victory. The third set was tighter, but Andie Malloy's 15th kill on the Huskers' third match point wrapped up the 25-21 victory. The Huskers limited Washington to just 47 total points, the second-fewest points allowed in an NCAA Regional Final in the rally-scoring era, which dates back to 2001.
With the win, the Huskers tied a school record with their 10th consecutive postseason victory and kept their hopes alive for back-to-back national titles. Nebraska (31-2) will face either Texas or Creighton on Thursday in Columbus, Ohio, with a berth in the national championship match on the line. Washington, which lost to Nebraska in the regional final for the second straight year, saw its season end with a 29-5 record.
The Huskers hit an impressive .437 in the match, led by Malloy's 15 kills and 10 kills on 19 swings from senior Kadie Rolfzen, the NCAA Lincoln Regional Most Outstanding Player. Sophomore Mikaela Foecke added nine kills and was strong at the service line, recording two aces while serving several long runs. Senior Amber Rolfzen put down five kills on six error-free swings while recording a match-high four blocks. Leading the dominant offensive performance was junior setter Kelly Hunter, who totaled 36 kills and added three kills and six digs. Senior Justine Wong-Orantes tallied 13 digs for the Huskers.
Photo Courtesy Scott Bruhn/Nebraska Communications
Andie Malloy had 15 kills, including the game-winner on match point to send the Huskers to the NCAA Semifinals.
Crissy Jones paced Washington with nine kills, but the Huskies were held to a season-low 26 kills and a season-low .088 attack percentage. Courtney Schwan added seven kills, while Kara Bajema and Tia Scambray chipped in five kills apiece.
Set 1: Nebraska bolted out to a 4-1 lead with a Holman kill and a Foecke ace. Malloy pounded a trio of kills as the Huskers went up 8-5. A Kadie Rolfzen shot down the line after a string of great defensive plays by both teams made it 13-8, and a pair of Washington errors and a Kadie Rolfzen kill had the Huskers up 16-8 and in control. The Huskers remained up by eight, 22-14, after a rip by Albrecht, and they finished off the 25-16 win on a kill by Malloy, her sixth of the set. Nebraska hit a blistering .467 and held Washington to .097. The Huskers had a distinct edge in defense with a 17-7 digs advantage.
Set 2: The Huskers were dominant, taking a 9-0 lead on Foecke's serve. Holman and Malloy each had a pair of kills during the run, while Washington made a few miscues with the Huskers pounding away at them. A Kadie Rolfzen kill and Wong-Orantes ace put the Huskers up 11-1. Hunter even joined in the action by taking a swing from the right side and tooling the block for a kill and a 14-3 lead. After Washington got within 16-9, Foecke got a kill, Holman and Kadie Rolfzen combined for consecutive blocks and then recorded back-to-back kills for a 21-9 lead. The Huskers resumed their dominance with a kill and ace by Foecke, a block by Holman and Kadie Rolfzen and a Malloy kill to end the set at 25-10. The Huskers hit .565 and held UW to -.080 hitting. The Huskers again outdug Washington, 12-5, and had four blocks to Washington's one.
Set 3: Nebraska took its first lead of the set, 6-5, after a Washington hit long, and Albrecht served an ace for a 7-5 lead. The Huskers' tough serve continued to give Washington problems, as Sydney Townsend served the fifth ace for the Big Red for a 9-8 lead. Washington went back ahead 10-9 wth an ace of its own, but Foecke terminated to even the set. Malloy and Amber Rolfzen added kills before a Washington error made it 16-14 Huskers. Malloy and Hunter followed with swings for kills and an 18-14 lead, forcing a Washington timeout. Hunter and Amber Rolfzen teamed up for a block after the timeout to continue the 5-0 run and build the lead to 19-14. Another block by that pair, and an Amber Rolfzen kill made it 22-16. A tip kill by Holman gave the Huskers a 23-18 edge, and Foecke swung the Huskers match point at 24-19.
Up Next: Nebraska will make its 13th appearance in the NCAA Semifinal next Thursday in Columbus, Ohio. The Huskers will face the winner of Texas-Creighton at a to-be-announced time.
NCAA Lincoln All-Region Team
Penina Snuka, Arizona
Kelly Hunter, Nebraska
Andie Malloy, Nebraska
Kadie Rolfzen, Nebraska
Simone Lee, Penn State
Ali Frantti, Penn State
Crissy Jones, Washington
Most Outstanding Player: Kadie Rolfzen, Nebraska
Nebraska Post-Match Notes
Nebraska (31-2) advanced to the NCAA Semifinals for the second straight season and for the 13th time in school history. The Huskers' 13 NCAA Semifinals appearances rank second in NCAA history.
John Cook is taking Nebraska to the NCAA Semifinals for the seventh time in his 17 seasons.
The Huskers held Washington to 47 total points in the match, the second-fewest points allowed in an NCAA Regional Final in the rally-scoring era, which dates back to 2001. The fewest points ever allowed in a regional final were 46 by Stanford in a sweep of Hawaii in 2008.
Nebraska won its 10th straight NCAA Tournament match, tying for the longest postseason win streak in program history (also 10 straight wins in 2000-01).
NU improved to 13-13 all-time in NCAA Regional Finals.
Cook improved to 60-13 in NCAA Tournament play as Nebraska's head coach. In 17 seasons at Nebraska, Cook has led the Huskers to more postseason victories than all but eight other teams in NCAA history.
Including his time at Wisconsin, Cook notched his 69th career NCAA Tournament win, a total that ranks fifth in NCAA history and fourth among active coaches.
The Huskers won their 13th straight home match and finished the year with an 18-1 home record. The 18 wins are Nebraska's most since moving into the Bob Devaney Sports Center and are the most home wins overall for NU since the 2007 season.
Nebraska improved to 70-6 all-time at home in the NCAA Tournament, including a 16-2 record at the Bob Devaney Sports Center.
The match attendance was 8,355, giving the Huskers a total attendance of 155,986 this season, the highest mark in program history.
NU also had the highest average home attendance in school history in 2016 with an average of 8,210 fans per match.
The Huskers have won 48 of their last 51 home NCAA Tournament matches, including eight straight.
Nebraska improved to 15-2 against ranked opponents this season, including 5-1 vs. top-10 foes.
The Huskers improved to 6-2 all-time against Washington with their fourth straight win vs. the Huskies. All four wins during the streak have come in the postseason, as Nebraska is 5-2 against Washington in the NCAA Tournament, including a 3-0 record in NCAA Regional Finals.
NU never trailed by more than two points in the match, and the Huskers have yet to trail by more than two points in any of their four NCAA Tournament matches.
Nebraska hit .437 in the match, its third-highest total of the season and its first time hitting .400 or above since Oct. 16.
Six of the seven Huskers who took a swing against Washington hit above .350.
NU held Washington to an .088 attack percentage, the Huskies lowest mark of the year. It marked the only time this season Washington has been held below a .131 attack percentage.
The Huskers also held the Huskies to a season-low 26 kills.
Nebraska handed Washington its first set loss of the NCAA Tournament by winning the opening set, 25-16.
The Huskers won the first nine points of the second set.
Senior Andie Malloy produced her 12th match this season with double-figure kills, and her second straight. Malloy totaled 15 kills, including 10 kills on 16 error-free swings in the first two sets. In two matches at the NCAA Lincoln Regional, Malloy finished with 28 kills.
Malloy's 15 kills were one shy of her season high.
Senior Kadie Rolfzen was named the Lincoln Region Most Outstanding Player, while Malloy and junior Kelly Hunter were also named to the all-region team.
Washington Post-Match Notes
Washington saw its 10-match winning streak snapped, as the Huskies ended their season with a 29-5 record. Washington fell one win short of its fourth straight 30-win season and the program's fifth NCAA Semifinals appearance.
Washington fell to 4-6 all-time in NCAA Regional Final matches.
The Huskies dropped to 0-3 vs. Nebraska in NCAA Regional Finals. Overall, Washington is 1-5 against Nebraska in NCAA Regional play and 2-5 vs. the Huskers in the postseason. Washington lost to Nebraska for the fourth straight meeting.
Washington fell to 47-20 all-time in the NCAA Tournament.
The Huskies lost the first set, marking their first set loss of the NCAA Tournament. Through the tournament's first 56 matches entering Saturday, Washington was the only team that had not lost a set in the NCAA Tournament.
Setter Bailey Tanner recorded 23 assists in the match. She increased her season total to 1,288 to finish the season in 10th place on Washington's single-season assists list.
Crissy Jones led Washington with nine kills in the match and had 20 kills in the Lincoln Regional to earn a spot on the NCAA all-region team.