The No. 1 overall seed Nebraska women’s volleyball team got past a challenge from Arkansas, winning its Elite Eight match 3-1 on Saturday to advance to the NCAA Final Four for the 17th time in program history.
The Cornhuskers will face fellow No. 1 seed Pittsburgh in the NCAA tournament semifinals Thursday in Tampa, Florida.
Nebraska won its first two sets against the No. 3 seed Razorbacks at the Lincoln Regional, but Arkansas rallied to take the third set. Nebraska prevailed 25-23 in the fourth set. Merritt Beason and Harper Murray combined for 34 kills and 23 digs for the Huskers.
Nebraska has won five national championships, with head coach John Cook guiding the Huskers to four of those (2000, 2006, 2015, 2017). Pitt made the national semifinals for the third consecutive season but is looking for its first national championship.
The Panthers beat ACC rival Louisville on Pitt’s home court Saturday. The teams split their regular-season matches, both winning at home. In Saturday’s regional final, Louisville took a 2-0 lead and it looked as if the Cardinals were going to repeat their win over Pitt in last year’s national semifinals.
But Pitt came back for the reverse sweep, winning the last three sets. The Panthers were led by 18 kills and 11 digs from Torrey Stafford.
Nebraska and Pitt also met in the national semifinals in 2021, with the Huskers winning before losing the championship match to Wisconsin.
This season, Nebraska made history Aug. 30, drawing 92,003 fans — the most ever for a women’s sports event — at Memorial Stadium in Lincoln.
Nebraska (32-1) lost at Wisconsin on Nov. 24. After sweeps in their first three NCAA tournament matches, the Huskers got more of a test from Arkansas.
The other national semifinal will be between the winners of regionals at Madison (Wisconsin vs. Oregon) and Stanford (Stanford vs. Texas) later Saturday.