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Huskers Punch Ticket to Tampa with Thrilling Victory Over Arkansas

LINCOLN, Neb. – The No. 1 Nebraska volleyball team demonstrated resilience and skill in a thrilling 3-1 victory over third-seeded Arkansas, earning their place in the NCAA Semifinals. The intense match, witnessed by 8,713 fans at the Bob Devaney Sports Center, showcased the Huskers’ determination and ability to perform under pressure.

The Huskers (32-1) are now set to make their 17th appearance in the NCAA Semifinals, and the sixth in the last nine years, a testament to the team’s consistent excellence. Their upcoming battle against No. 4 Pittsburgh at Amalie Arena in Tampa, Fla., promises to be an epic showdown.

Saturday’s match was a rollercoaster of emotions, starting with Nebraska overcoming a late five-point deficit to claim the first set 26-24. The Huskers then dominated the second set with a 25-14 win. Arkansas (28-6) responded fiercely, taking the third set 25-21 and marking the Huskers’ first set loss in the tournament. The fourth set was a nail-biter, with Nebraska rallying from a 19-17 deficit to secure a 25-23 win.

Statistically, the Huskers outperformed the Razorbacks in kills (57-47), blocks (17-9), and digs (78-62). Merritt Beason, named the NCAA Lincoln Regional Most Outstanding Player, led with a match-high 19 kills and added 11 digs and eight blocks. Harper Murray contributed with 15 kills and 12 digs, while Bergen Reilly notched a double-double with 40 assists and 16 digs.

A standout performance came from Bekka Allick, who set a rally-scoring era record for Nebraska with 12 blocks, the most ever by a Husker in an NCAA Tournament match. Lexi Rodriguez led the floor defense with 20 digs, as five Huskers finished with double-digit digs.

Arkansas posed a strong challenge, led by Jillian Gillen with 14 kills. The Razorbacks displayed formidable serving skills, delivering eight aces to Nebraska’s lone ace at the match’s start.

The Huskers’ victory was a result of teamwork, strategic plays, and an unyielding spirit. Their 21-0 home record this season is a testament to their skill and dedication, setting the stage for what promises to be an exciting NCAA Semifinals in Tampa.

Nebraska’s journey to the Semifinals is a story of persistence, skill, and the unbreakable spirit of a team determined to excel. As they prepare to face Pittsburgh, the Huskers carry with them the momentum of an outstanding season and the support of a passionate fan base.

Nebraska Post-Match Notes:

  • With this win, Nebraska has advanced to an impressive 17 NCAA Semifinals, holding the second-most appearances in NCAA history.
  • The victory marks Nebraska’s 32nd win this season, tying the record set by the 2006 team.
  • Bekka Allick’s career-high 12 blocks set a new standard in Nebraska’s storied volleyball history.
  • Merritt Beason’s outstanding performance underlines her vital role in the team’s success.

The Huskers’ journey to the Semifinals is not just a testament to their athletic prowess but also a narrative of teamwork, strategic planning, and an undying competitive spirit. As they gear up to face Pittsburgh, the Huskers are not just carrying the expectations of a successful season but also the hopes and dreams of their ardent followers.

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