Tampa, Fla. – The No. 1 seed Pitt volleyball team (29-4, 16-2 ACC) meets the No. 1 overall seed Nebraska (32-1, 19-1 Big Ten) on Thursday night in the National Semifinals for a chance to play in the National Championship. First serve is set for 7 p.m. ET in the Amalie Arena and will be broadcasted on ESPN.
The Panthers trail in the all-time series against Nebraska as the Huskers have won all 14 matches. Most recently, Pitt and Nebraska met in the 2021 National Semifinals. The Panthers won the first set, but the Huskers were able to take the following three sets to advance to the National Championship. They eventually lost to Wisconsin in five sets. Rachel Fairbanks led the Panthers with 27 assists and six digs in the match.
The Husker are led offensively by All-American right-side Merritt Beason, a First Team All-Big Ten honoree. Both teams are led by freshmen as Torrey Stafford and Olivia Babcock face familiar faces in Husker newcomers Harper Murray, Bergen Reilly, Andi Jackson and Laney Choboy.
• The Panthers have advanced to three straight National Semifinals, the only program to do so in 2021, 2022 and 2023.
• Chiamaka Nwokolo, Valeria Vazquez Gomez, Lexis Akeo, Rachel Fairbanks, Emmy Klika and Cat Flood are in familiar territory, making their third career Final Four.
• Pitt is looking to advance to its first ever National Championship match with a win over Nebraska.
ONE OF ONE
• Olivia Babcock is the first Panther in program history to be named AVCA National Freshman of the Year.
• She adds to her long list of accolades (ACC Freshman of the Year, AVCA East Coast Region Freshman of the Year, First Team All-ACC, AVCA East Coast Region Freshman of the Year)
• Five Panthers have been named All-American after successful campaigns.
• Rachel Fairbanks and Olivia Babcock earn First Team honors for the first in their careers while Torrey Stafford found herself on the Third Team.
• Emma Monks and Emmy Klika were named Honorable Mention.
PANTHERS OWN THE EAST
• A program-high seven Panthers were…