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Home / Sports / After significant improvements, the Nebraska volleyball team is back in the final four | volleyball

After significant improvements, the Nebraska volleyball team is back in the final four | volleyball



MINNEAPOLIS – Over the past two weeks, Nebraska coach John Cook has said the Huskers are the country's most improved volleyball team from the start of the season to the present day.

Huh. There is a magic formula to determine that.

Nebraska lost games against big teams this season, but a loss is a loss. Prove it, right?

This week, the Huskers undoubtedly won two strong games against two major opponents in the NCAA Minneapolis Regional, bringing them back to familiarity with the Final Four. [1

9659003] Sixth-placed Nebraska defeated No. 14 Oregon 25-22, 25-23, 25-17 in the Elite Eight game on Saturday.

On Friday the Huskers swept the number 10 Kentucky. Nebraska (28-6) will win 12 times in the last week of the college season.

And now, suddenly, NU is a team that wins close sets. After a season in which Nebraska had lost a couple of times in big games because they could not win tight sets, NU won two very tight sets to start the game on Saturday.

Mikaela Foecke, senior underdog Mikaela Foecke, led the Huskers to come with 14 kills and 14 over the last two sets. She had a percentage of 400. Lauren Stivrins had 11 kills and scored .526. Lexi Sun's 10th kill of the game was the winner and triggered a familiar December scene in which the Huskers flocked to the square to celebrate.

Then the team that suffered three consecutive losses in October – unheard of for this program in the last 20 years – went to his locker room and celebrated.

"Usually I'm not a person who likes hugs, but, man, we were happy and everyone got hugs," said Stivrins.

Now the defending national champions Huskers They have the chance to defend their title if they return to the Twin Cities in the last four days. Two more victories and they will be champions again.

Nebraska will play at 8:00 pm in the national semifinals against Illinois. Thursday

It is the fourth Final Four appearance of the Huskers. Nebraska has never managed to reach the Final Four three times in a row, and now it's four in a row.

The Huskers had expected to play Minnesota in the regional final, but the Gophers were surprised Oregon on Friday. Instead, Nebraska only had to beat Oregon, who twice defeated second place in Minnesota and his wickedly good deed.

A bad October, when Nebraska went 3 to 5, meant that the Huskers were number 7 for the tournament They never scored the really big win in the regular season.

With four newcomers and a transfer to play, Cook called this team Day 1 a work in progress.

The players and coaches said they had improved, but the progress report was due this week. The huskers passed the test. Nebraska has defeated all four games of the tournament.

Against Kentucky Nebraska was big in the third set before it ended the 7-1 race. Again in the second set in Oregon, the Ducks took a quick lead of five points, but Nebraska won seven of the last eleven rallies of the set.

There were countless games that showed NU's progress. Like the second set on Saturday, when Sun took over a kick-off set by Megan Miller in an out-of-system game but still got the kill. Or if Stivrins won the second set with a tip instead of the shot.

The way Nebraska has won tight sets and the confidence of the players shows the improvements that have been made, Cook said.

"We can score points if we have to," said Cook. "We can stretch out if we have to get out. Get an ace serve if you need an ace serve. It is the belief and the level at which we can play and defensively what we can do with teams.

About 12 months after Nebraska won a national championship during a rebuilding year, the Huskers will get a chance it again.

"I thought today that I did not think it could be better than last season. But this season, these guys are seeing and growing and overcoming what we've overcome to make that point pretty cool, "Cook said.

Nebraska's Kenzie Maloney (11) made one shot on Saturday in the NCAA Regional Final at the Maturi Pavilion in Minneapolis in the second set against Oregon.




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