Fayetteville, Ark. - Nebraska erased a nine-point deficit with 4:32 remaining to take an 80-79 lead with 1:04 left in the game, but Arkansas made enough plays in the closing minute to hold on for 84-80 women's basketball win over the Huskers at Bud Walton Arena on Tuesday night.
Trailing 77-68 with 4:32 left, Nebraska erupted on a 12-2 surge with seven points from freshman Sam Haiby during a 1:43 span. Her final point of her team-high 16 came on the first of two free throws to put the Big Red up 80-79 win 1:04 left.
But before the second free throw, the scoreboard inside the arena reset, putting the score to 1-0 Nebraska with 10:00 on the clock, while resetting all the team fouls and the timeouts for both teams. The scoreboard malfunction put more than two minutes between Haiby's first and second free throw. Haiby missed the second shot.
Twenty seconds later, Chelsea Dungee scored to put Arkansas back up 81-80. She added a free throw with 25 seconds left to extend the Arkansas margin to 82-80. Dungee scored 20 of her game-high 23 points in the second half to lead a group of five Arkansas starters that finished in double figures and scored all 53 points for the Razorbacks in the final 20 minutes.
Trailing by two, Nebraska got a good look at the rim from Haiby, but the challenged shot fell off the rim. The Huskers fouled and Kiara Williams, who finished with 10 points and nine rebounds made both free throws to close the scoring.
Nebraska finished non-conference play with a 5-6 record, while Arkansas improved to 8-3 including 5-1 at home with its only loss coming 85-83 to a ranked Arizona State team.
In addition to the 16 points from Haiby, Nebraska got 14 points and five rebounds from freshman Ashtyn Veerbeek off the bench. Leigha Brown added nine points, while Kayla Mershon pitched in six points, four rebounds, two blocks and two steals while being involved in several big plays to swing momentum. Overall, Nebraska's bench outscored the Arkansas bench 45-11.
But it wasn't enough to overcome foul trouble on Kate Cain that limited her to just four points, five rebounds and three blocks before fouling out in just 17 minutes. Maddie Simon managed four points and six boards, while Nicea Eliely contributed four points and three boards.
Taylor Kissinger led the Husker starters with 12 points, while Hannah Whitish pitched in 11 including five points in the final 5:16.
As a team, Nebraska hit 45.9 percent (28-61) of its shots from the field, including 9-of-21 three-pointers (.429), but the Big Red went just 2-for-8 from long range in the second half. The Huskers also hit 15-of-23 free throws in the game (.652), while Arkansas knocked down 17-of-23 (.739).
Nebraska won the battle of the boards, 41-37, but Arkansas won the turnover battle 15-10 and scored 25 points off Nebraska's turnovers, while the Huskers managed just 10 of the Razorbacks' 10 miscues.
Arkansas hit 40.3 percent (27-67) of its shots, including 13-of-37 threes (.351). In the second half, the Razorbacks knocked down 9-of-18 threes.
After an up-and-down first half for both teams, Nebraska took a 36-31 lead to the locker room after a running three-pointer from 40 feet as time expired heading to the half. That huge shot by by Brown capped a 5-0 NU run in the final 20 seconds, and was sparked by a steal from Mershon 30 feet away from the basket, where she dove to the floor and found Brown on the run to set up the three.
Brown scored all five of her first-half points in the final 1:12, while Haiby added a layup with 20 seconds left to give NU a 33-31 lead.
Haiby contributed seven points off the bench in the first half, while Kissinger contributed a team-high eight first-half points, including a pair of threes.
In the half, Nebraska hit 43.8 percent (14-32) of its shots from the field, including 53.8 percent (7-13) of its three-pointers. The Huskers were just 1-of-2 at the free throw line in the half. NU controlled the first-half glass, 22-18, but lost the turnover battle, 8-4.
Nebraska held Arkansas to just 33.3 percent (11-33) first-half shooting, including just 4-of-19 (.211) from three-point range, but the Razorbacks went 5-for-8 at the free throw line in the opening half. Malica Monk scored eight first-half points to lead the Hogs, while Jailyn Mason pitched in six points in the opening 20 minutes.
The Huskers got off to a great start on the road, building a 15-2 lead in the opening 6:30 after a putback from Kissinger with 3:30 left in the first quarter. But Nebraska went scoreless the final 3:30, and Arkansas closed the quarter on an 8-0 run to cut the Husker lead to 15-10 at the quarter.
NU maintained a lead through the first five minutes of the second quarter before Arkansas took its first lead on a layup by Monk with 3:28 left in the half to give the Razorbacks 27-26.
Husker senior Maddie Simon then answered with a three, before Monk tied the score at 31 on a layup with 38 seconds left.
Nebraska will enjoy its longest break from competition during the season over the next nine days before returning to Pinnacle Bank Arena to open Big Ten Conference play against Michigan on Friday, Dec. 28. Tip-off between the Huskers and Wolverines is set for 6 p.m. (CT), and tickets are on sale now at Huskers.com.
Sioux Falls, S.D. - James Palmer Jr. had a game-high 29 points to place three Huskers in double figures, while Nebraska clamped down in the second half, as the Huskers posted a 79-56 win at the Sanford Pentagon.
The Huskers (9-2) took control with a 22-4 run over an eight and half minute span, turning a seven-point deficit into a 43-32 lead with 15:07 remaining.
Isaac Copeland Jr. had 16 points and five rebounds, while Thomas Allen came off the bench for 14 points on 5-of-7 shooting, as Nebraska’s 9-2 start continued its best start since the 2003-04 campaign.
The Huskers shut down Oklahoma State (4-6) defensively, holding the Cowboys to its second-lowest output of the season. NU also limited the Cowboys to 2-of-15 from 3-point range after OSU entered the game averaging over 9.0 3-pointers per game and ranking among the national leaders in 3-point percentage at 42 percent.
Nebraska was down 28-21 before using an 11-2 run to take a two-point lead into the locker room. Isaac Copeland led the spurt, scoring five straight points to pull the Huskers within 30-26 before Palmer’s third 3-pointer of the half made it a one-point game.
On OSU’s final possession of the half, Glynn Watson Jr. drew a foul on Michael Weathers on one end before hitting a corner 3-pointer with two seconds left to give the Huskers a lead they would not relinquish. After Watson’s 3-pointer, Oklahoma State’s bench got a technical on the way to the locker room, which Watson would convert before the second half started to extend the lead to four.
OSU pulled to within 34-32 after a Yor Anei basket before a pair of Palmer free throws started a 9-0 run capped by Isaiah Roby’s 3-point play with 15:07 remaining that pushed the lead to 11.
The Cowboys only cut the Husker lead under double figures one time, at 43-35, but Allen’s 3-pointer started a 9-2 run that stretched the lead to 52-37 after Tanner Borchardt’s basket with 11:30 left.
Nebraska’s free throw shooting and defense kept OSU at bay, as the Cowboys shot just 37 percent in the second half, including 0-of-9 from 3-point range, while NU went 18-of-20 from the line in the second half as part of a season-best 91 percent effort from the line.
Nebraska kept building on the lead and led by as many as 25 before completing its first win over a Big 12 team since joining the Big Ten in 2011.
Early on, it was a dual between Palmer and Oklahoma State’s Lindy Waters as it was a one or two possession game for most of the first 20 minutes.
Palmer kept NU in the game by hitting 6-of-11 from the field, including all three of his 3-point attempts, for 16 first-half points while Waters scored all 13 of his points in the opening 20 minutes.
Leading 23-21, the Cowboys stretched the lead to seven on a drive by Weathers and a 3-pointer from Waters before the Huskers closed the half with a flourish.
Anei finished with 17 points and eight boards, while NU limited Cameron McGriff to just two points on 1-of-8 shooting after he entered the contest averaging a team-high 13.9 points per game.
The Huskers return home for its final game before Christmas, as they host Cal State Fullerton next Saturday at Pinnacle Bank Arena. Tipoff is set for 1 p.m. and will be televised on BTN and carried on the Husker Sports Network.
*-With the win, Nebraska improved to 9-2 on the season, matching the program’s best start since the 2010-11 season,
*-The victory marked NU’s first win over a Big 12 team since joining the Big Ten and snapped a six-game losing streak to Big 12 teams dating back to the 2010-11 season.
*-James Palmer Jr. with his 13th 20-point game, as he led all scorers with 29 points. It was his fifth 20-point game of the season. Palmer also led the Huskers with five assists.
*-Thomas Allen had 14 points off the bench and has been in double figures in each of the last two games
*-Nebraska now has four non-conference wins over power conference teams for the first time since the 1995-96 season
*-With the win, Nebraska Coach Tim Miles matched Mo Iba for third place on NU’s career wins list with 106.
*-Nebraska closes non-conference play with a 3-1 mark away from Lincoln, with the only loss coming to unbeaten Texas Tech.
*-Six of Nebraska’s nine wins have been by at least 20 points.
*-Nebraska held Oklahoma State to 2-15 from 3-point range. OSU averaged 9.1 3s per game and was among the national leaders at 41.6 percent.
*-Oklahoma State’s 56 point was its second-lowest total of the year.
MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. - The Nebraska volleyball team fell just short of a second straight national title Saturday night, falling to No. 1 Stanford in a five-set thriller at the Target Center.
Nebraska fought off five set points before dropping the first set, 28-26. The Huskers evened the match with a 25-22 victory in set two, before Stanford grabbed a 2-1 lead with a 25-16 win in set three. But the Huskers fought back as they have done all season, handing the Cardinal its worst set loss of the season with a 25-15 victory in the fourth set. In set five, Nebraska led early and the set was tied at nine before Stanford won six of the final rallies to win its NCAA-leading eighth national title. In one of the closest final matches in NCAA history, only one point separated the two teams as Stanford outscored Nebraska 105-104 in the match.
Nebraska (29-7) finished as the NCAA runner-up for the fourth time in school history, after winning the national title in two of the last three seasons (2015 and 2017). First-team All-American Mikaela Foecke was brilliant in her final match, recording a career-high 27 kills and hitting .296. She also had 12 digs to post her fourth straight double-double. Fellow first-team All-American Lauren Stivrins was unstoppable, putting down a career-high 19 kills on only 26 swings. Stivrins hit .615 for the match, the second-highest total ever in an NCAA Final by a player with at least 20 attempts. Foecke and Stivrins were both named to the NCAA Championship All-Tournament team, with Foecke earning the honor for the third time in her career.
Jazz Sweet added 10 kills and five blocks for Nebraska, while Kenzie Maloney had a team-high 17 digs to pace five Huskers with double-digit digs. Nicklin Hames had a career-high 62 assists while running an efficient Husker offense.
Nebraska had nine more kills than Stanford and hit .271 to the Cardinal's .250, but Stanford had eight more digs and 2.5 more blocks than the Big Red. The Cardinal also served up nine aces, while Nebraska had just two aces with each team committing eight service errors.
Kathryn Plummer, the 2018 national player of the year an co-Most Outstanding Player of the NCAA Championship, led the Cardinal with 19 kills. She shared most-outstanding-player honors with libero Morgan Hentz, who had 32 digs for Stanford. Holly Campbel (15 kills) and Audriana Fitzmorris (14 kills) also finished with double-figure kills for the Cardinal.
Stanford (34-1) finished the season with a 32-match winning streak.
Set 1: Sweet and Foecke each had a pair of early kills as the Huskers connected on five of their first seven swings to take a 6-3 lead. Foecke served an ace and the Huskers led 9-4 after a 3-0 run, as Stanford called timeout. Stanford scored five of the next seven points to cut the Huskers' lead to 11-9, and Nebraska used a timeout. Davis terminated a kill for sideout after the timeout, but a Plummer kill and a Stanford ace brought the Cardinal within 12-11. Foecke kept Nebraska in front with a kill, and Stivrins and Sweet blocked a Plummer shot before Foecke pounded another kill for a 15-11 lead. The Cardinal rallied to take a 19-18 lead with a 4-0 run keyed by back-to-back aces by Kate Formico. After a timeout, Schwarzenbach put down a kill on the slide to tie the score at 19-19, but Stanford responded with a kill and another ace, its fifth of the set, to go up 21-19. The Cardinal pulled ahead 23-20 before Foecke notched a kill. But Plummer grabbed sideout for Stanford on the next rally. The Huskers fought off three set points with a block by Sweet and Stivrins, a Stanford hitting error and a Stivrins joust, and the score was tied again 24-24. The teams traded kills to a 26-26 tie, but a Nebraska hitting error put Stanford up 27-26 before a Cardinal block gave them the 28-26 lead.
Set 2: Stivrins, Sun and Foecke sparked a 3-0 run with kills to give Nebraska an early 6-4 advantage. Sun and Schwarzenbach blocked a Stanford attack to keep NU up two, 8-6, and the teams sided out for five rallies before a pair of Husker hitting errors wide put Stanford up 11-10. Stivrins and Sun terminated kills to put Nebraska back up 13-12, and a Stanford hit wide gave Nebraska a 15-13 lead at the media timeout. Two Stanford kills tied the score at 15-15, but a service error and block by Sweet and Schwarzenbach restored a two-point lead at 17-15. Davis and Foecke killed back-to-back rallies for a 19-16 Husker lead, and Stanford called timeout. On the next rally, the Huskers scrambled defensively to save two Stanford shots, and Foecke came up with another kill to make it 20-16. A service error by the Big Red and a block by Stanford cut the margin to two, 21-19. After a timeout, Foecke smashed her 13th and 14th kills on back-to-back rallies to put Nebraska ahead 23-19. Stanford answered with a block and a kill to cut the deficit in half, but Foecke connected again for set point at 24-21. Fitzmorris found the floor for Stanford to make it 24-22, and a Stanford net violation gave the Huskers the 25-22 win and evened the match at 1-1.
Set 3: Stanford jumped out to a 7-2 lead, getting two blocks and five kills along the way. The Huskers chipped away with three kills by Foecke and one for Schwarzenbach, and a block by Schwarzenbach and Sweet got the Huskers within two, 9-7. After Davis got a kill to keep NU down two, 10-8, Stanford rattled off seven straight points in a row to go up 17-8. The Cardinal pulled ahead 20-9 before the Huskers gained a little momentum with a 3-0 run to make it 20-12. Nebraska would get as close as seven, but the Cardinal took the 25-16 win to go up 2-1. Nebraska hit just .027 in the set after hitting .302 and .326 in the first two sets.
Set 4: Sweet opened the set with back-to-back kills, and a blast by Foecke combined with two Stanford errors had the Huskers up 5-0. Stivrins powered down overpasses on back-to-back rallies, and a two-hit violation on Stanford made it 9-1 Huskers before the Cardinal used their second timeout of the set. A trio of breakdowns by the Huskers allowed Stanford within 13-7, and NU called timeout. After Stanford cut it to five, Sun produced a kill and an ace on consecutive rallies, and Sweet added a kill for a 17-9 Husker lead. Sweet added another kill, and a hustle play by Maloney to save a ball led to a kill by Stivrins to make it 19-11. Stivrins and Foecke then stuffed a Stanford attack, and the Cardinal hit long for a 21-11 Husker lead. Stivrins' 17th kill of the night pushed the Huskers to a 23-14 advantage, and her 18th kill gave NU set point at 24-15. A back-row blast by Foecke clinched the set at 25-15, forcing a game five. NU hit .412 in set four and held Stanford to .121.
Set 5: Foecke opened set five with a kill and Sweet and Schwarzenbach followed with a block. Foecke tied her career high in kills with 25 to put NU ahead 3-1, but Stanford scored the next four to take a 5-3 lead. Foecke and Stivrins tallied important sideout kills, and Stanford hit long to tie the score at 6-6. Nebraska served long, but Hames dumped a kill to keep it tied 7-7. However, Nebraska served long again, and Stanford led 8-7 as the teams switched sides. Campbell tipped a kill down for Stanford to make it 9-7 Cardinal, but Sun answered with back-to-back kills to knot the score at 9-9. Campbell tooled a block and Plummer drew a touch for a kill to make it 11-9 Stanford. Davis subbed in and earned sideout, but Campbell responded for Stanford, and Nebraska called timeout down 12-10. Gray dumped a kill and Wilson served an ace for match point at 14-10. Foecke kept NU alive with her 27th kill, and Plummer committed an attacking error to make it 14-12. But Stanford won 15-12 on a back-row kill by Meghan McClure.
Nebraska Post-Match Notes
- The loss snapped Nebraska’s 13-match winning streak, as the Huskers (29-7) finished as the NCAA runner-up for the fourth time in school history (1986, 1989, 2005, 2018).
- Nebraska fell to 5-4 all-time in the NCAA Final, including a 4-2 record under John Cook. The Huskers had been victorious in their last three NCAA Final appearances (2006, 2015, 2017) before Saturday’s loss.
- The Huskers’ school-record postseason winning streak was snapped at 11 straight victories, as Nebraska suffered its first postseason loss since a 2016 NCAA Semifinal defeat to Texas.
- Nebraska dropped to 113-32 all-time in the NCAA Tournament. The Huskers’ 113 postseason victories and .779 winning percentage both rank second in NCAA history behind Stanford (125 wins, .801 winning percentage).
- John Cook fell to 72-15 in the NCAA Tournament at Nebraska. Including his seven seasons at Wisconsin, Cook is 80-19 in his NCAA Tournament career.
- Nebraska lost to the No. 1-ranked team for the first time since a 3-1 loss to top-ranked Texas in the 2013 NCAA Regional Final. The Huskers had won their last three matches against the No. 1 team, including postseason wins in two of the past three seasons (Washington in the 2015 Regional Final and Penn State in the 2017 NCAA Semifinal).
- Nebraska defeated Stanford 25-15 in the fourth set, holding the Cardinal to its lowest-scoring set of the season.
- Nebraska’s two seniors who were with the program each of the last four years – Mikaela Foecke and Kenzie Maloney – finished with a 21-2 record in their NCAA Tournament careers. Foecke and Maloney played in more postseason sets and matches and won more NCAA Tournament matches than other players in Husker history.
- Foecke and Maloney finished with a 52-3 combined record in the months of November and December.
- Foecke had a career-high 27 kills in the match on a career-high 71 swings. The 27 kills tied for the second-highest total by a player in a five-set NCAA Final. Foecke also had 11 digs, posting her fourth straight double-double.
- In her three career NCAA Finals, Foecke totaled 66 kills on .301 hitting. She had at least 19 kills in all three of her NCAA Finals matches.
- Foecke has 129 kills in her career in NCAA Semifinals/Finals matches. That total ties for third in NCAA history.
- Foecke served up nine aces in her career in NCAA Semifinals/Finals matches. That total ranks in a tie for eighth in NCAA history.
- In her overall NCAA Tournament career, Foecke totaled 309 kills and 26 aces. Her 282 postseason kills and 25 aces both rank second in Nebraska postseason history.
- Foecke finished her outstanding career with 1,684 career kills. Foecke ranks third all-time at Nebraska in kills, including second in the rally-scoring era (since 2001).
- Foecke also totaled 135 service aces in her career, the seventh-most in Nebraska history and the fourth-highest total in the rally-scoring era.
- Foecke finished her senior season with 514 kills, tied for the eighth-highest total in Nebraska history and third during the rally-scoring era. Foecke joined Sarah Pavan (2006) and Kelsey Robinson (2013) as the only Huskers to have 500 kills in a season during the rally-scoring era (since 2001).
- Foecke also had 46 services aces in 2018, the fifth-highest total by a Husker in the rally-scoring era.
- Maloney finished with 86 digs in her career in NCAA Semifinals/Finals matches. That total ranks in a tie for fourth in NCAA history and is the most in the rally-scoring era.
- Maloney finished her career with 229 digs in the NCAA Tournament digs to rank third on Nebraska’s postseason career digs list.
- Maloney had 84 digs in the 2018 NCAA Tournament, the fourth-highest total in Husker postseason history.
- Maloney finished her career with 1,406 digs. That total ranks fifth all-time at Nebraska.
- Maloney had 536 digs in her senior season, the fourth-highest total in Nebraska history. Maloney averaged 4.03 digs per set – the eighth-highest total in school history – to become the fifth Husker to average 4.0 digs per set in a season.
- Lauren Stivrins hit .615 in the match. That ranks as second-highest total in NCAA Finals history (minimum 20 attempts) behind Pacific’s Elaina Oden, who hit .690 in the 1986 NCAA Final.
- Stivrins hit .421 in 2018 to become the fifth Husker to hit over .400 in a season and the first since Brooke Delano in 2010. Stivrins’ .421 attack percentage was the third-highest mark in school history and ranked second during the rally-scoring era.
- Jazz Sweet had 10 kills, her first match with double-figure kills since Oct. 24 at Ohio State.
- Nicklin Hames had a career-high 62 assists against Stanford. She finished her freshman season with 1,395 assists, which ranks as Nebraska’s third-highest season total during the rally-scoring era.
- Callie Schwarzenbach finished the season with 177 blocks, a Nebraska freshman record and the eighth-highest total by a Husker in the rally-scoring era.
- Mikaela Foecke and Lauren Stivrins were both named to the NCAA Championship All-Tournament team. Foecke made the team for the third time in her career.
Lincoln - Taylor Kissinger led five Huskers in double figures with 18 points, as Nebraska displayed a prolific offense for 40 minutes in a 96-71 women's basketball win over visiting Denver on Saturday at Pinnacle Bank Arena.
Nebraska notched its third consecutive win to complete a three-game home stand and improve to 5-5 on the year, while Denver slipped to 7-4 on the season.
Kissinger, a 6-1 sophomore from Minden, Neb., knocked down four three-pointers to lead the Huskers from long range, while freshman Leigha Brown came off the bench to add 18 points and a career-high five assists.
Fellow freshman Ashtyn Veerbeek added 14 big points off the bench along with five rebounds. Sophomore center Kate Cain also contributed 14 points on 7-of-9 shooting while pitching in five rebounds and a pair of blocks. Junior wing and Colorado native Nicea Eliely scored a season-high 14 points on 6-of-8 shooting to go along with five rebounds, three assists and two steals.
Nebraska also got a solid all-around effort from freshman guard Sam Haiby, who scored seven points along with career highs of six rebounds and eight assists. Haiby's eight assists came without a turnover. As a team, the Huskers put together their best passing game of the season with 27 assists on 34 made baskets while committing just 11 turnovers against the Pioneers.
The impressive team effort by the Big Red offset one of the top individual performances by an opponent in Husker history. Denver point guard Samantha Romanowski erupted for a career-high 33 points on a building record 8-for-8 three-point shooting. Overall, Romanowski went 12-for-18 from the field while playing more than 39 minutes in the game.
Romanowski, who was averaging just 8.5 points per game coming into the contest, helped Denver hit 10-of-24 threes on the day, but the rest of the Pioneers were just 2-for-16.
While Romanowski went off, the Huskers silenced DU's leading scorer Lauren Loven, who came into the game averaging 17 points per contest. Loven got just two points on a pair of free throws.
Madison Nelson also played 39 minutes for the Pioneers and produced 19 points, including a pair of threes, while Courtney Smith pitched in 10 points and seven rebounds before fouling out.
Nebraska hit 50.7 percent (34-67) of its shots for the game on the way to outscoring Denver in each of the four quarters. The Huskers hit just 28 percent (7-25) of their threes but knocked down 77.8 percent (21-27) of their free throws. Nebraska won the rebound battle 39-36 and the turnover war 16-11. Most importantly, the Huskers outscored the Pioneers 23-0 in points off turnovers, and dominated Denver 52-14 in the paint. The Big Red bench also outscored the Denver reserves 40-3.
The Huskers held Denver to 39 percent (23-59) shooting, and the Pioneers hit just 57.7 percent (15-26) of their free throws in a tightly but consistently called game that featured 43 combined fouls.
Nebraska used the highest scoring first quarter in school history to jump our to a 31-19 lead. The Husker bench played a huge role in the first-quarter outburst as Veerbeek (8), Brown (6) and Haiby combined for 16 of the 31 points in the quarter. Haiby capped the quarter with her end-to-end layup to beat the buzzer in the final four seconds.
Kissinger added six points on a pair of first-quarter threes, while Eliely pitched in five points despite early foul trouble. Cain contributed four points in the opening period.
The Huskers continued to extend the lead throughout the second quarter, building their biggest first-half margin at 52-35 on Haiby's bucket with 34 seconds left in the quarter. Denver scored in the final seconds to make the halftime margin in Nebraska's favor, 52-37.
Veerbeek led the Big Red with 12 points and three rebounds in nine first-half minutes, while Kissinger contributed 11 points on a trio of threes. Brown put three Huskers in double figures in the half with 10 points.
In the half, Nebraska hit 50 percent (16-32) of its shots, but just 4-of-13 threes. The Huskers were also a strong 16-of-19 (.842) at the line, while forcing all kinds of foul trouble on the Pioneers.
Romanowski led all scorers with 15 first-half points on 4-of-4 shooting from three-point range, but the Huskers also forced five turnovers by Romanowski in the half, outscoring the Pioneers 10-0 in points off turnovers Nelson pitched in 10 points in the half for the Pioneers, including 2-for-2 three-point shooting.
Nebraska held Denver to 12-of-30 shooting (.400) in the half, including 6-of-11 (.545) three-point shooting, but hit just 7-of-14 free throws. The Huskers outworked Denver 20-16 on the boards and won the first-half turnover battle 8-6.
The Huskers complete their non-conference season Tuesday, when they travel to Arkansas. Tip-off between Nebraska and the Razorbacks from Bud Walton Arena in Fayetteville is set for 7 p.m. (CT) with live radio coverage by the Husker Sports Network. A live video stream will be available through SEC Network plus.
Aurora Senior Maya Nachtigal
Aurora Senior Baylor Scheierman
MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. - For the second year in a row, the Nebraska volleyball team won a five-set thriller in the NCAA Semifinals, this time rallying from an 0-2 hole for a dramatic come-from-behind victory over Illinois Thursday Night at the Target Center. With the win, the Huskers advanced to Saturday's NCAA Final, where Nebraska will take on Stanford in an attempt to win back-to-back national titles.
Nebraska (29-6) lost the first two sets, 25-22 and 25-16, and set three was tied at 23 before Mikaele Foecke delivered consecutive kills to send the match to the fourth set. The Huskers then won set four, 25-20, to send it to a decisive fifth set. The fifth set was tied at 11 before Nebraska scored the final four points, with Foecke closing out the match with her 19th kill on match point.
Foecke and Lexi Sun each had 19 kills to lead Nebraska, and each player produced a double-double with Sun recording 12 digs and Foecke tallying 11 digs. Nicklin Hames also had a double-double with 46 assists and 19 digs, while running a Husker offense that hit .251 for the match. Jazz Sweet had nine kills on only 20 swings and Lauren Stivrins produced eight kills on 16 error-free swings for a match-high .500 attack percentage. Kenzie Maloney led Nebraska with 20 digs, while Megan Miller had 19 digs. Maloney also added a career-high 10 assists to post her first career double-double. The Huskers had nine more kills than Illinois and out-dug the Illini, but Illinois out-blocked Nebraska and served up nine aces.
Jacqueline Quade had a match-high 28 kills for Illinois (32-4), the most by a Husker opposing player this season. Beth Prince added 10 kills for an Illinois offense that hit .237. Morgan O'Brien had a match-high 27 digs, while Quade added 10 digs to produce a double-double.
Set 1: The Huskers had kills on their first three swings to take a 4-1 lead. Foecke had a block with Schwarzenbach and back-to-back kills to keep the Huskers up three, 7-4. But Illinois answered with a 3-0 run to tie the score at 7-7. Illinois tied the set at 9-9 and 10-10, but Hames dumped a kill after each point to not allow Illinois to go in front. Sun blasted a pair of kills and served an ace to give NU a 14-11 lead, but the Illini wouldn't go away, scoring three in a row to tie the set once again. Sweet and Schwarzenbach blocked an Illinois attack to give the Huskers a 15-14 advantage at the media timeout. Illinois took its first lead at 16-15 after a kill and ace by Quade on consecutive rallies, and Ali Bastianelli and Ashlyn Fleming added kills to take the Illini to an 18-16 lead. Foecke and Sun answered with kills for the Huskers out of a timeout, and the score was tied once again, 18-18. Hames dumped her third kill of the set, and Nebraska regained a 19-18 lead. After an Illinois timeout, Foecke served the Huskers' second ace of the set to make it 20-18. Illinois scored the next two to tie it 20-20, and the Illini went back in front, 22-21, on Quade's eighth kill. A pair of Husker hitting errors gave Illinois set point at 24-21. The Huskers fought off one point before the Illini won 25-22 on Quade's ninth kill. There were nine ties and three lead changes in the opening set.
Set 2: Illinois setter Jordyn Poulter served a 6-0 run to begin the set for the Illini, including three aces, and Nebraska used both of its timeouts during the run. The Illini led 12-4 after kills by Megan Cooney and Quade and a block by Bastianelli. Stivrins, Sun and Foecke strung together four straight kills for the Big Red to trim the deficit to 13-9, but Illinois went right back to Quade for two more kills and a 16-9 lead. Illinois led 19-12 when Sweet had three kills in a row to pull the Huskers within 19-15. The Huskers could get no closer than four, however, as Illinois scored a 6-1 run to win the set, 25-16.
Set 3: Stivrins had three early kills and Nebraska led 7-5 after an ace by Foecke. With the score tied 9-9, the Huskers scored four straight points after Illinois made its first service error of the match, and Sun added an ace that was followed by an Illinois error and a Sweet kill to make it 13-9. After Illinois pulled within one at 14-13, the Huskers put together another 4-0 run, this one with two kills by Foecke and one each by Sweet and Hames. Foecke and Sun added kills to make it a six-point lead at 20-14, but a Husker service error followed by a receiving error on Illinois' next serve made it 20-16, and the Huskers took a timeout. Nebraska led 21-16 when Illinois went on a 5-0 run to tie the score at 21-21. Foecke earned an important sideout for the Huskers with her 13th kill, but Nebraska's 10th service error knotted the score at 22-22. Illinois took a 23-22 lead, but Schwarzenbach and Foecke terminated for set point for the Huskers at 24-23. An Illinois net violation gave the Huskers the 25-23 win to extend the match.
Set 4: The Huskers trailed 5-3 before rallying to take a 7-5 lead on a 5-0 run served by Miller. A kill by Sun made it 9-6 Huskers, but Illinois scored the next three to tie it at 9-9. Illinois gained a 12-11 lead, but the Huskers clawed their way to a 15-14 lead at the media timeout, aided by kills from Sun and Schwarzenbach. An ace serve by Miller following an Illinois serve into the net put NU ahead 17-15. After Illinois tied the set at 17-17, Stivrins and Foecke blocked a Quade attack, and Stivrins and Sun took the Huskers to a 20-18 lead with back-to-back kills. The Illini hit wide after a timeout, but Poulter and Fleming had kills to cut to the Huskers' lead to 21-20. But once again an Illinois service error was followed by a Nebraska ace - this one from Hames - and NU led 23-20. After Illinois' second timeout, Sweet gained set point for the Huskers with her seventh kill, and Sun found the corner to force a fifth set after the 25-20 Husker win.
Set 5: The teams went back and forth early on with Illinois committing three service errors but siding out each time the Huskers served the next rally. Foecke blasted a kill for a 6-5 Husker lead, but Beth Prince answered for Illinois. The Illini won a joust at the net to go ahead 7-6, but Stivrins sided out for the Huskers with her eighth kill. Sun put NU up 8-7 at the crossover. Foecke struck a kill out of the back row to make it 9-7, and another kill by Sun had the Huskers up 10-8. A kill by Quade and an ace by Fleming tied the score at 10-10, and the Huskers took a timeout. Capri Davis sided out for the Huskers, but Quade answered. Sweet came right back with her ninth kill, and the Huskers won a challenge call that Foecke's shot deflected off an Illinois fingertip before going out, making the score 13-11. Maloney served an ace for match point at 14-11, and Foecke closed out match on the next rally with a kill.
Nebraska Post-Match Notes
- With the win, Nebraska (29-6) advanced to the NCAA Final for the ninth time in program history (third-most in NCAA history). The Huskers have made back-to-back NCAA Finals for only the second time in school history (2005 & 2006) and are playing for the national title for the third time in the past four seasons.
- The Huskers will go for their sixth national title and second in a row on Saturday. Nebraska has never won back-to-back national championships.
- NU rallied from an 0-2 deficit for the first time ever in an NCAA Semifinal or Final. The Huskers had been 0-4 in NCAA Semifinals when losing the first two sets and 0-3 in NCAA Finals when losing the first two sets.
- The Huskers became the first team to rally from an 0-2 deficit in an NCAA Semifinal or Final since Penn State came back to defeat Texas in the 2009 NCAA Final. The last time a team rallied from an 0-2 hole in an NCAA Semifinal match was in 2008, when Stanford defeated Texas.
- Nebraska set a school record with its 11th consecutive NCAA Tournament victory. The 11-match postseason winning streak ranks sixth in NCAA history.
- Nebraska improved its all-time NCAA Tournament record to 113-31. The Huskers’ 113 victories and .785 winning percentage in the postseason rank second in NCAA history to Stanford (124-31).
- Nebraska improved to 9-6 all-time in NCAA Semifinal matches, including a 6-3 record under John Cook. Cook moved to 72-14 overall in NCAA Tournament play as Nebraska’s head coach and 80-18 in his career, including his seven seasons at Wisconsin.
- John Cook has taken a Husker team to the NCAA Final for the sixth time in his 19 seasons at Nebraska, winning four national championships. Cook’s six finals appearances rank fifth among all coaches in NCAA history.
- Cook improved to 8-1 against Big Ten teams in the NCAA Tournament at Nebraska.
- The Huskers extended their winning streak to 13 matches with the win over third-ranked Illinois. Nebraska is 7-0 against ranked opponents during its win streak, including 3-0 vs. top-10 foes.
- Illinois won five of the final six rallies in set one to hand Nebraska its first set loss of the NCAA Tournament, 25-22. The Huskers had won all 12 sets in the postseason and 22 straight sets dating back to Nov. 16.
- Nebraska was held to 16 points in the second set, its third-fewest points in a set this season.
- NU fell behind 0-2 for just the third time this season. The previous two times both occurred in the first six matches of the year. The Huskers are 2-1 when losing the first two sets of a match, with both wins coming over top-15 opponents (Creighton and Illinois).
- Nebraska’s two seniors who have been with the program all four years – Mikaela Foecke and Kenzie Maloney – improved to 21-1 in their NCAA Tournament careers. The duo has won more postseason matches than any other players in Husker history.
- Foecke and Maloney each played their 22nd NCAA Tournament match on Thursday, setting a school record for the most postseason matches by any player in program history. The duo have also each played 77 career sets in their NCAA Tournament careers, the most by any player in Nebraska history.
- Foecke and Maloney are a combined 52-2 all-time in the months of November and December.
- Foecke had 19 kills in the match, giving her 102 career kills in the NCAA Semifinals/Finals. She became just the 10th player in NCAA history to have 100 kills in NCAA Semifinals/Finals matches.
- Foecke also had two aces, giving her eight in her career in NCAA Semifinals/Finals matches, which ties for the 10th-most in NCAA history. Her two aces also moved her up to seventh on Nebraska’s all-time list.
- Maloney had a team-high 20 digs against Illinois to give her 519 digs this season. She became just the fourth Husker to have 500 digs in a season, and her 519 digs rank fifth in school history.
- Maloney also had a career-best 10 assists to post the first double-double of her career.
- Nicklin Hames produced her 24th double-double of the season, extending her school record.
- Hames also tied her career high with five kills.
- Illinois’ Jacqueline Quade had 28 kills, the most by Husker opponent on the season. She had at least 22 kills in all three matches against Nebraska in 2018.
- Illinois had nine aces in the match, the most the Huskers allowed in 2018. Nebraska had been aced only five times in its first four NCAA Tournament matches combined.
Freshmen Contributing Early for Huskers• Nebraska has received production early and often from its 2018-19 freshman class. The four-player class, which was ranked among the top 20 recruiting classes in the nation by ESPN last season, features Sam Haiby (10.9 ppg, 3.1 rpg), Ashtyn Veerbeek (7.7 ppg, 7.0 rpg), Leigha Brown (7.7 ppg, 2.1 rpg) and Kayla Mershon (2.2 ppg, 2.0 rpg).
• Haiby, a 5-9 guard from Moorhead, Minn., leads Nebraska with 10.9 points per game off the bench. She has led the Huskers in scoring in four games, including against nationally ranked Drake (13) and Miami (14), while also scoring a career-high 20 points at Washington State and adding 17 points at Creighton. She owns five double-figure scoring efforts overall, including 12 points at No. 5 Louisville (Nov. 29).
• Haiby also ranks third among the Huskers in assists (2.4 apg).
• Ashtyn Veerbeek is tied with Leigha Brown for second among the Husker freshmen in scoring with 7.7 points per game, while leading the group and ranking second on the team with 7.0 rebounds. Veerbeek produced her first career double-double with career highs of 14 points and 14 rebounds in a win over San Jose State (Dec. 8). She also ranks second among the Huskers with 12 blocks.
• Leigha Brown set a career high with 18 points in the win over San Jose State (Dec. 8). Brown, who has led the Huskers twice in scoring early in the season, is averaging 7.7 points per game. The 6-1 wing from Auburn, Indiana leads the freshmen with seven three-pointers and has committed a total of just four turnovers over the past eight games.
• Kayla Mershon has pitched in 2.2 points and 2.0 rebounds per game for the Huskers, including a career-high seven rebounds in the win over Kansas (Dec. 5). The 6-3 forward from Chanhassen, Minn., also has dished out five assists and has committed a team-best two turnovers through nine games.
• The freshmen have combined for 37.6 percent (256-of-680) of Nebraska’s points in just 32.8 percent of the team’s total minutes (607-of-1,850) on the season. They also have accounted for just 26.5 percent (40-of-151) of Nebraska’s turnovers.
• Nebraska’s four freshmen are combining to average 28.4 points and 14.2 rebounds per game, while NU’s two sophomores (Kate Cain, Taylor Kissinger) have combined to average 18.4 points and 11.7 boards per contest. Nebraska’s six underclassmen have combined for 62.1 percent of NU’s scoring and 58.4 percent of the team’s rebounding through nine games.
LINCOLN, Neb. - Nebraska volleyball student-athletes Mikaela Foecke and Lauren Stivrins were named AVCA First-Team All-Americans, and Kenzie Maloney was selected to the AVCA All-America Third Team, the American Volleyball Coaches Association announced on Wednesday.
Foecke, a senior outside hitter from West Point, Iowa, earned her second-career All-America honor after earning second-team accolades last year. Stivrins, a sophomore middle blocker from Scottsdale, Arizona, and Maloney, a senior libero from Louisville, Kentucky, were both honored for the first time. Freshman setter Nicklin Hames received honorable mention.
It marks only the second time since 2006 that the Huskers have had two AVCA first-team All-Americans. The Huskers' three AVCA All-America selections improved their nation-leading total to 90 all-time. A nation-leading total of 45 players have combined for the Huskers' 90 awards.
Foecke leads the Huskers with 3.80 kills per set and is averaging 2.69 digs per set and has 43 service aces this season. Her current kills per set average is Nebraska’s best since 2013 (Kelsey Robinson, 4.45). The Husker co-captain was a unanimous All-Big Ten selection for the second straight season. She has 21 aces in her NCAA Tournament career, the second-highest total in Nebraska history. Only Jordan Larson (36) has more. Foecke had the third and fourth double-doubles of her NCAA Tournament career at the Minneapolis Regional last weekend, and she was named the most valuable player. She ranks third on Nebraska’s career kills list with 1,638, and her 132 career aces are eighth-most in school history. The two-time NCAA Championship Most Outstanding Player also has 263 career kills all-time in the NCAA Tournament, second-most in school history behind only Sarah Pavan (304).
Stivrins was a two-time Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week and was also the Big Ten Player of the Week once this season. The 6-4 middle blocker is averaging 2.33 kills per set on a team-best .409 hitting percentage, which ranks sixth in the nation. It is NU's highest individual hitting percentage since 2007 (Tracy Stalls, .473). An All-Big Ten selection for the first time as well this season, Stivrins added serving to her repertoire and has 25 aces. Stivrins was named to the Minneapolis All-Regional team last weekend after 11 kills on .526 hitting in the regional final win over Oregon. She had 13 kills with a career-high 10 blocks in a 3-2 win over Penn State on Nov. 2.
Maloney, the Husker co-captain, is averaging a team-best 4.06 digs per set and has played an instrumental role in leading the Huskers to a nation-leading .136 opponent hitting percentage this season. The Louisville, Kentucky native ranks fifth in NU career history in digs with 1,369. Maloney posted a career-high 25 digs twice this season, and she was named the most valuable player of the Husker Invite and the best libero at the Ameritas Players Challenge. Maloney's 36 service aces are the third-most on the team this year. She and Foecke are the only Huskers in school history to play in four NCAA Semifinals, and they will each play in their 22nd NCAA Tournament match on Thursday, the most postseason matches played by any player in program history.
Hames earned honorable mention after recording a school-record 23 double-doubles this season, averaging 10.46 assists and 3.33 digs per set. Her 39 service aces are second-most on the team. Hames was an All-Big Ten Freshman Team member and a two-time Big Ten Freshman of the Week.
The Division I TeamSnap/AVCA National Player of the Year will be announced on December 14 at the AVCA All-America/Players of the Year Banquet.
The Huskers are in Minneapolis getting set to take on No. 3 Illinois in an NCAA Semifinal match on Thursday at 8 p.m. on ESPN, WatchESPN.com and the Husker Sports Network.
Nebraska outside hitter Mikaela Foecke has been selected as the 2018 Senior CLASS Award winner in NCAA Division I women’s volleyball. The award, chosen by a nationwide vote of Division I volleyball coaches, national volleyball media and fans, is given annually to the most outstanding senior student-athlete in Division I volleyball. To be eligible for the award, a student-athlete must be classified as an NCAA Division I senior and have notable achievements in four areas of excellence: classroom, community, character and competition.
An acronym for Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School, the Senior CLASS Award focuses on the total student-athlete and encourages students to use their platform in athletics to make a positive impact as leaders in their communities. Foecke is the fourth Senior CLASS Award winner from Nebraska and the second Husker to win for volleyball after Gina Mancuso took home the award in 2012.
“When I came to the University of Nebraska in 2015, my goals were to not only help Nebraska volleyball win games and championships, but also to become a better student, person and teammate,” said Foecke, who led the Huskers to their fourth consecutive Final Four this season after capturing NCAA national titles as both a freshman and junior. “These past four years have gone by so quickly, and it hasn’t really set in yet that my college career is coming to an end. But when I look back, I am so proud of all that we have accomplished. To win two national championships and two Big Ten championships has been incredible, but what I will really take most from my time at Nebraska is the relationships I have built with my teammates, the coaches, the staff, and of course our amazing fans. Whichever path I take after graduation, I know that the experience of being a student-athlete at Nebraska will have prepared me well for life both on and off the volleyball court.”
Already receiving her fourth-straight first-team AVCA All-North Region honor this season, Foecke will go down as one of the greatest players in one of the top volleyball programs in the country. A two-time NCAA Championship Most Outstanding Player, Foecke has earned AVCA All-America honors in each of her first three seasons with the potential for a fourth honor this week, and has earned Big Ten conference honors all four years as well, including unanimous first-team honors as both a junior and senior. Foecke currently ranks third on Nebraska’s career kills list with 1,638, and her 132 career aces are eighth-most in school history. She also has 263 career kills all-time in the NCAA Tournament, second-most in school history behind only Sarah Pavan (304).
Also a standout in the classroom, Foecke has received multiple Academic All-Big Ten honors in her career for both court volleyball and beach volleyball. Majoring in animal science, she carries a 3.649 GPA is a five-time member of the Nebraska Scholar-Athlete Honor Roll and has received Nebraska’s High Honors (Silver) Academic Medallion twice.
“Mikaela is part of the most decorated senior class in the history of Nebraska volleyball,” said Head Coach John Cook, a two-time AVCA Division I National Coach of the Year. “She and Kenzie Maloney are the only two Nebraska players ever who will have played at four NCAA Final Fours, and she has been the most outstanding player two of the three times we have been there, which is incredible. What separates Mikaela is her dedication to being great in everything she does. She is a phenomenal student with aspirations of being a veterinarian someday. Mikaela has also developed outstanding leadership skills during her time at Nebraska, and there’s no question that she and Kenzie are the biggest reason this young team has made it to the NCAA Semifinals for a fourth time. Mikaela will leave a huge lasting legacy on Nebraska volleyball when her career comes to an end.”
A team captain and its representative on the Nebraska Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, Foecke has shown exemplary character throughout her Husker career. A three-time Tom Osborne Citizenship Team member and a Diversity & Inclusion Summit leader, Foecke has also remained committed to community outreach, helping the Husker volleyball program earn the Nebraska’s Life Skills Award through her work with events and organizations such as One Shirt One Body, Uplifting Athletes, People’s City Mission, Husker Heroes, Make-a-Wish and more.
“On behalf of everyone associated with the Senior CLASS Award, we are honored to recognize Mikaela Foecke as this year’s winner for women’s volleyball,” said Erik Miner, executive director for the Senior CLASS Award. “Not only is Mikaela one of the best players to ever wear a Husker uniform, she’s also an incredibly well-rounded student-athlete who excels in every area. We offer our sincere congratulations to Mikaela, her team and the entire university.”
For more information, visit seniorCLASSaward.com.
First-Team Senior CLASS Award All-AmericansAli Bastianelli, Illinois
Santita Ebangwese, Syracuse
Mikaela Foecke, Nebraska
Jordyn Poulter, Illinois
Samantha Seliger-Swenson, Minnesota
Second-Team Senior CLASS Award All-AmericansTami Alade, Stanford
Lauren Bruns, Dayton
Taryn Kloth, Creighton
Haley Libs, Northern Kentucky
Courtney Pence, Illinois State
• The sixth-ranked Nebraska volleyball team will make its program-record fourth straight trip to the NCAA Semifinals when they take on No. 3 Illinois on Thursday at 8 p.m. at the Target Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The match will be televised on ESPN and will be streamed online at WatchESPN.com. Paul Sunderland, Karch Kiraly and Holly Rowe will have the call.
Nebraska’s History in the NCAA Semifinals
Huskers’ Senior Class Most Decorated in School History
About the Huskers
Foecke, Maloney Captain Young Husker Squad
Stivrins, Sweet Stepping Up in Sophomore Seasons
Sun Shining for Huskers
Young Huskers Making Instant Impact
Smith Makes Return to Huskers
Huskers Played School-Record 19 Home Matches
Huskers Record 250th Consecutive Regular-Season Sellout
Huskers Ranked No. 6 in AVCA Coaches Poll
Cook Adds to Legacy; Joins AVCA Hall of Fame
Husker Fans Set Attendance Standard Once Again
Foecke Named Senior CLASS Award Finalist