No.5 Nebraska Huskers (30-4, Big Ten Conference) beat the odds and defeated No.4 Kentucky Wildcats (29-4, Southeastern Conference) on the court of the rivals at Memorial Coliseum in Lexington, Kentucky, in one of four Regional Finals – 3-1 (25-19, 25-22, 25-27, 25-22). Led by 18 points from the junior outside hitter Mikaela Foecke, the Huskers advanced to the NCAA D1 Final Four for the third time in a row and the 14th overall, which is the second-best achievement of a kind in the tournament’s history.
In the biggest derby of all four Regional Finals, which was at the same time the rematch of the last season’s title encounter, the defending champions and also No.3 Stanford Cardinal (30-3, Pac-12 Conference) have blown away No.6 Texas Longhorns (27-3, Big 12 Conference) by a 3-0 (25-21, 25-21, 25-21). In front of own crowd at Maples Pavilion, Stanford, California, the Cardinal celebrated their 21st appearance in the championship semis, which is the NCAA Women’s Volleyball record. A sophomore outside hitter Kathryn Plummer had another huge display, 21 points, being named the MVP of the Stanford Regionals.
Top-seed and also the hosts Pennsylvania State Nittany Lions (33-1, Big Ten Conference) achieved a straight-set win against non-seeded Michigan State Spartans (24-9, Big Ten Conference), at the Rec Hall, University Park, Pennsylvania, partially 25-23, 25-13, and 28-26. Senior middle blocker Simone Lee pushed the Nittany Lions to the 13th national semifinals in program history and the first since 2014.
The second-seed Florida Gators (29-1, Southeastern Conference) were on the verge to fall to the tenth-seed University of Southern California Trojans (25-10, Pac-12 Conference) at home ground at O’Connell Center, Gainesville, Florida – 3-2 (25-23, 20-25, 18-25, 26-24, 15-11). Since they didn’t, the Gators earned their first ticket to the Final Four in 14 years! A senior outside hitter from Canada Shainah Joseph highlighted the winning side with 16 points.
The National Semifinals pairs (the Final Four is co-hosted by the University of Missouri – Kansas City and University of Kansas at the Sprint Center in Kansas City, Missouri, on December 14 and 16):
No.1 Penn State vs. No.5 Nebraska
No.3 Stanford vs. No.2 Florida
See the bracket.