NEB VB: Huskers Sweep Missouri, Set to Host NCAA Regional
LINCOLN, Neb. - The top-ranked Nebraska volleyball team beat Missouri 3-0 on Saturday night in the NCAA Second Round to advance to its 12th consecutive NCAA Regional.
In front of a crowd of 8,640 at the Bob Devaney Sports Center, the Huskers (30-1) never trailed in sets one and two and held off the Tigers (18-13) in the third in a 25-14, 25-19, 25-21 sweep.
Nebraska will host Georgia Tech in one regional semifinal at 1 p.m. on Thursday on ESPN2.
Kentucky will play Arkansas in the other regional semifinal in Lincoln at 3:30 p.m. on ESPNU.
The winners will meet in Saturday's regional final at 5 p.m. on ESPNU.
A very limited number of tickets will go on sale online at Huskers.com on Sunday at 7 p.m.
The Huskers hit .264 in the match and limited Missouri to an .089 mark. Nebraska had 14 blocks, its highest total in a three-set match this season. The Huskers also had a strong serving night, producing five aces and only four errors.
Merritt Beason led the Nebraska offense for the second straight night with 12 kills on 23 swings while hitting above .430 for the second match in a row. Ally Batenhorst had seven kills on 22 swings and Harper Murray totaled six kills on 19 attacks. Bergen Reilly dished out 26 assists and added 10 digs and a career-high four aces.
Defensively, Bekka Allick had eight blocks to go along with five kills. Andi Jackson recorded six stuffs, while Beason added five blocks. Lexi Rodiguez (11) and Laney Choboy (10) each had double-digit digs for the Big Red.
Janet DeMarrais (13 kills) and Dilara Gedikoglu (12) led Missouri, which ended its season with an 18-13 record.
Set 1: Reilly started off the match serving a 7-0 run that included three aces, kills by Murray and Beason, and two blocks by Allick. The Tigers stormed back with an 8-3 run to get within 10-8. Nebraska ran off four straight points to go up 16-10, sparked by a Reilly kill and a block by Beason and Allick. Allick added two more blocks, one with Beason and one with Allick, to make it 20-11. Later, Beason and Jackson teamed up for a block as the Huskers went up 11, 23-12. Beason tipped a kill for set point, 24-13, and the Huskers won 25-14 on a Batenhorst kill. Nebraska held Mizzou to -.240 hitting in the opening frame.
Set 2: A 6-1 run put the Huskers in front, 9-4. Jackson had two kills, while Beason and Batenhorst each had one. Back-to-back kills by Beason and Murray made it 13-8, and another Murray kill and a Missouri hitting error gave the Big Red a 15-10 lead at the media timeout. The Huskers had four kills in a row before a Murray ace made it 20-12. Missouri got within 22-17, but Batenhorst terminated and Reilly and Jackson stuffed a Tiger attack, and NU won 25-19 on a Missouri service error.
Set 3: Missouri led 9-8 before a kill by Allick and Reilly's fourth ace flipped the lead to the Huskers, and Nebraska went up 12-9 after two straight Missouri hitting errors. Nebraska led 14-10 before the Tigers went on a 5-0 run to take a 15-14 lead after three kills, an ace and a block. Allick and Beason had kills, and Batenhorst and Jackson recorded a block to put NU back on top, 17-16. Missouri reclaimed a 20-19 lead after back-to-back kills, but two straight Missouri attacking errors gave the Huskers a 21-20 advantage. After a Missouri timeout, Allick and Murray combined for two blocks to put the Huskers ahead 23-21, and the Tigers used their final timeout. Beason ended the match, 25-21, with two straight kills.
Nebraska Post-Match Notes
With the win, Nebraska advanced to an NCAA Regional for the 12th consecutive season and for the 39th time in program history. The Huskers’ 39 regional appearances are the most in NCAA history, while Nebraska’s 12 consecutive regional berths rank second nationally.
Tonight marked Nebraska’s 30th win of the season. The Huskers have won 30 matches in a season for the first time since 2017. Nebraska has won 30 matches in a season 24 times in program history, including 12 times under John Cook.
Nebraska improved to 127-36 all-time in the NCAA Tournament. The Huskers rank second in NCAA history in postseason wins and winning percentage (.779).
Nebraska improved to 29-2 all-time in second-round NCAA Tournament matches.
The win was Nebraska’s 20th consecutive home victory in the NCAA Tournament dating back to 2013. NU improved to 81-7 all-time in home NCAA Tournament matches, including 26-2 at the Devaney Center.
The Huskers improved to 59-1 all-time against unranked opponents in the NCAA Tournament. Overall (regular season and postseason), Nebraska has won 126 consecutive matches against unranked opponents dating back to 2017.
Nebraska won its 18th consecutive match against Missouri to improve to 74-3-1 all-time against the Tigers.
The Huskers moved to 3-0 against Missouri in the NCAA Tournament and 11-0 against current members of the Southeastern Conference.
John Cook coached in the 118th NCAA Tournament match of his career tonight, including his time at Wisconsin. He tied John Dunning (Pacific/Stanford) for the second-most NCAA Tournament matches coached in NCAA Division I history.
Cook improved to 86-19 in the NCAA Tournament as Nebraska’s head coach. He improved to 94-24 in his NCAA Tournament career. Cook ranks second all-time in career NCAA Tournament victories and NCAA Tournament wins at one school.
The Huskers won the first two sets against Missouri and are 96-1 in the NCAA Tournament when taking a 2-0 lead. Nebraska has won 95 consecutive postseason matches when winning the first two sets.
Nebraska held Missouri to a -.240 attack percentage in the opening set. The Huskers had six blocks in the first set as the Tigers had five kills and 11 errors on 25 swings.
NU totaled 14 blocks in the match. That marked the Huskers’ third-highest total this season and highest in a three-set match.
The Huskers had five service aces and four service errors, marking the second straight match Nebraska totaled more aces than errors. Before this weekend, NU had produced more aces than errors only once in its first 29 matches.
Bergen Reilly had a career-high four service aces in the match. She had an ace to score three of the match’s first six points. Nebraska scored nine points with Reilly at the service line in the first set and 15 points on her serve in the match.
Lexi Rodriguez had a match-high 11 digs. She increased her career total to 1,372 digs, moving past Hanna Werth (1,367) and into seventh place on Nebraska’s all-time digs list.
Merritt Beason had 12 kills on 23 swings while hitting .435. Beason hit .457 on the weekend with 25 kills on 46 swings.