COLUMBUS, Ohio — The Nebraska Cornhuskers (26-7) defeated the Pittsburgh Panthers (30-4) early Friday morning in their Final Four matchup at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio.
The Panthers fell to 0-14 all-time against the Huskers and saw their magical postseason run, the deepest in program history, come to a screeching halt after four sloppy sets.
No one stood out offensively for either team. Junior outside hitter Madi Kubik paced Nebraska with 13 kills, but hit just .222; Senior outside hitter Leketor Member-Meneh led the Panthers with 13 kills off a paltry .150 hitting percentage.
Both teams struggled to find their rhythm in the first set. Pitt committed eight errors; the Huskers committed six. Despite the sloppy play, the Panthers managed to take the first set easily, 25-16.
The disjointed play continued in the second set, this time with Nebraska controlling play. After a narrow 8-7 lead, the Huskers began to pull away, going on an 8-2 run. The Panthers committed another 12 errors in the set and were unable to overcome the mistakes, dropping the second set 25-17.
The third set was a tightly contested comedy of errors that saw 22 committed, along with 14 ties. Neither team led by more than two going into an 18-18 tie, but Nebraska reeled off four straight on the way to a 25-20 victory, pushing the Panthers to the brink of elimination.
The Panthers began the fourth set ice cold, going down 3-0 and then 9-5, the Huskers stifling each attempt at a rally. The Panthers clawed their way back into the game, tying the set at 20, but a 5-1 Nebraska run ended the game and their season.
The Cornhuskers will face the Wisconsin Badgers in the NCAA Volleyball title game at 7:15p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 18.