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Nebraska Volleyball’s Championship Journey Ends as NCAA Runner-Up

TAMPA, Fla. – In a dramatic culmination of an incredible season, the No. 1 Nebraska volleyball team found themselves up against a formidable opponent in the NCAA Championship match, falling 3-0 to a powerful No. 5 Texas team. Despite the loss, the Huskers’ remarkable journey to the final will be remembered as a testament to their skill, resilience, and team spirit.

The match, played in Tampa’s Amalie Arena before an audience of passionate fans, saw Texas dominate with a striking service game, recording an unprecedented 12 aces – the highest number faced by the Huskers in the rally-scoring era. This aggressive serving strategy proved challenging for Nebraska, contributing to their season lows in both kills (20) and hitting percentage (.013). Texas, showcasing their offensive strength, recorded a .264 hitting percentage with a significant 38-20 advantage in kills.

Nebraska’s season record concluded at an impressive 33-2, marking them as NCAA runner-ups for the sixth time in the program’s storied history. Texas, with a 28-4 record, claimed their second consecutive national championship and fourth overall.

Freshman Harper Murray led Nebraska with seven kills, while sophomore Bekka Allick added three kills and four blocks, demonstrating her attacking prowess. Freshman Andi Jackson contributed four kills and three blocks. Defensively, Lexi Rodriguez and Bergen Reilly each added six digs, with Reilly also contributing 17 assists.

Madisen Skinner of Texas led all players with 16 kills, while Asjia O’Neal added five service aces to her team’s impressive tally.

The first set set the tone for the match, with Texas seizing an early 4-0 lead. Despite Nebraska rallying to tie at 6-6 and later taking a brief lead, the Longhorns clinched the set with a late surge, winning 25-22. The second set saw Nebraska gain an early advantage, but Texas responded with an 11-0 run, eventually taking the set 25-14. In the third set, Texas established an early lead and maintained control, closing the match with a 25-11 win.

Despite the defeat, Nebraska’s performance throughout the season and their journey to the NCAA Final is a remarkable achievement. The team’s resilience and skill have been a source of pride and inspiration for Husker fans.

The match also marked several individual milestones. Merritt Beason finished the season with 455 kills, placing her ninth in Nebraska’s rally-scoring era records. Andi Jackson set a new standard for freshman hitting percentage at Nebraska, finishing the season at .399.

The All-Tournament team honored Nebraska’s Bekka Allick and Merritt Beason for their exceptional performances throughout the tournament. Texas’ Madison Skinner was named the Most Outstanding Player.

While the Huskers didn’t claim the ultimate prize, their journey to the NCAA Championship match and their performance throughout the season affirm the strength and future potential of this storied program.

#HuskersVolleyball #NCAAVolleyball #NebraskaVsTexas #NCAAChampionship2023

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