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Nebraska vs. Pitt volleyball: Time, TV channel, preview for NCAA semifinal

Nebraska vs. Pitt volleyball: Time, TV channel, preview for NCAA semifinal

After scrapping through tough regionals, No. 1 seeds Pitt and Nebraska made it to Tampa, Florida. And it wasn’t always easy — the Panthers dropped three sets and the Huskers dropped one en route to the semifinals. Let’s do a brief check-in on these two ahead of Thursday’s match.

🐆 Pitt

The Panthers narrowly beat No. 2 Louisville in the quarterfinals — reverse-sweeping the Cardinals for the second straight time — to catch their flights to Tampa this week. Pitt’s been averaging 3.13 B/S and has some of the best defensive players in the tournament behind Emma Monks and Olivia Babcock. A utility player leading her team in kills and aces, Babcock was recently named to the AVCA First Team All America, alongside setter Rachel Fairbanks. The Panthers struggled in transition and distribution play during the opening two sets against Louisville, and must clean up their game plan out of the gate to take down a Nebraska team with a near-flawless record.

🌽 Nebraska

In the quarterfinals, Arkansas — Jill Gillen, specifically — was pretty much the first team to give the Huskers any trouble in this tournament. The Razorbacks were successful in limiting the Huskers’ top hitters, AVCA First-Team All American Merritt Beason, Second-Team All American Harper Murray and Andi Jackson, in the opening frame, which almost cost Nebraska the set (the Huskers converted down the stretch, 26-24). It’ll be interesting to see how the Huskers hold up against a particularly tough block. Wisconsin and Pitt rank No. 1 and No. 2 in B/S nationally, and Wisconsin was the only team to puncture the Huskers’ record this season. 

This exact matchup played out in the 2021 semifinals. Nebraska advanced to the national championship with a 3-1 victory over the Panthers and lost to Wisconsin in the final. Since then, Pitt has made every single semifinals, but still has yet to win a championship. The Huskers currently hold a 13-0 record over the Panthers. Is Pitt’s not-so-secret weapon its massive block? Is Nebraska’s key penetrating the Panthers early on with crafty hits? We’ll find out on Thursday.

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