Nebraska Cornhuskers

Murray, Allick lead Nebraska to a 3-set sweep over Pittsburgh in the NCAA volleyball semifinals

The Huskers (33-1) won 25-20, 25-23 and 25-7


Oct 21, 2023; Lincoln, NE, USA; The Nebraska Cornhuskers celebrate after a point against the Wisconsin Badgers during the fifth set at the Bob Devaney Sports Center. Mandatory Credit: Dylan Widger-USA TODAY Sports

Harper Murray had 13 kills, Bekka Alllick had 10 blocks and Nebraska continued its relentless march to an NCAA volleyball championship with a 3-0 sweep of Pittsburgh in the semifinals on Thursday night.

Nebraska advanced to its 11th championship match and will go for its sixth title on Sunday against the winner of the second semifinal between Wisconsin and defending champion Texas. The Badgers are the only team to defeat the Huskers this season, ending a 27-game winning streak with a sweep.

The Huskers (33-1) won 25-20, 25-23 and 25-7. Pitt (26-5), which had 22 attacking errors, lost the first set on an attack error, lost the second with a service error and the third on a net violation. Pitt’s only leads were 1-0, 3-2 and 4-2 in the first set.

The Cornhuskers, who do not have a senior on their roster, set the tone with eight blocks in the first set and hit .407 in the third to improved to 15-0 against Pitt. The last meeting was in the 2021 semifinals, won by Nebraska 3-1.

“These guys thrive in the big moments," Nebraska coach John Cook said. "I had no idea how they’d play, such a big stage. A couple of players have been on this stage but most of our starters have not. They love the big show.”

Both teams were seeded No. 1 in their regional with Nebraska the overall No. 1 seed.

It was expected to be a defensive struggle with the Huskers (.134) and the Panthers (.138) the top team teams in the country in hitting percent defense. Nebraska finished at .245 but the Panthers, who hit at .307 for the season, finished at .137.

Merritt Beason and Ally Batenhorst both had eight kills for Nebraska. Andi Jackson had five, hitting .556, and Allick four, hitting 571. Beason also served four aces, three in the third set. Lexi Rodriguez had 14 digs and Bergen Reilly 31 assists.

Olivia Babcock, the national Freshman of the Year, had 12 kills but only hit .148 for Pitt and Torrey Stafford, another freshman, had 10, hitting .094. Rachel Fairbanks had 29 assists and nine digs.

The Panthers had 13 errors and hit .000 in the first set. They trailed 24-20 in the second and scored three straight before the service error. They were trailing 16-10 in the third set when Beason served three-straight aces.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
Contact Us