The University of Northern Iowa volleyball team will be playing the No. 4 Nebraska Cornhuskers in the second round match of the NCAA Tournament. The match will take place Friday at 7:00 p.m. This will be the last match ever played in the historic NU Coliseum. The winner of this match will advance to the Sweet 16 in Omaha, Nebraska, on December 7-8. They will take on the winners of the Central Arkansas/Washington and Hawaii/Santa Clara matches. UNI is looking to advance to its fourth Sweet 16 appearance in school history.
The Panthers are 3-7 overall in second round matches in the NCAA tournament. The Panthers defeated the Kansas State Wildcats in dominant fashion on Thursday night in the first round of the tournament. UNI got the 3-0 sweep of the Wildcats. Krista DeGeest, Megan Lehman and Macy Ubben each had 11 kills for the Panthers on the night. DeGeest had an impressive .588 attack percentage and Lehman followed her with a .450 attack percentage. Molly Turk recorded 36 assists and also led in digs for the Panthers for the first time with 14. The team had an overall .321 hitting percentage. DeGeest played in her 485th set during this match, putting her in first place on the career sets played list at UNI. She passes Michelle Burow who played 484 sets in her Panther career.
No. 4 Nebraska swept the Maryland Eastern Shore Hawks in the second match of the first round of the tournament in Lincoln. Gina Mancuso led Nebraska with 12 kills and a .435 attack percentage. Hannah Werth followed with 11 kills and a team leading .667 attack percentage. Lauren Cook notched 34 assists and Werth led the Huskers with 9 digs. Nebraska had an overall .455 hitting percentage on the night.
UNI is 0-5-1 all-time against Nebraska, and they have met three times in the NCAA tournament. The last time that these two teams met was in the second round of the NCAA tournament in 2009. The then No. 7 ranked Nebraska defeated the Panthers 3-0 in Lincoln.
Nebraska enters the tournament the No. 4 overall seed. They tied for second in the Big Ten Conference this season. This will be the Huskers 31st appearance in the NCAA tournament, and they open the tournament at home for the 9th straight season. Nebraska is the second winningest program in Division I history with 1,163 wins, trailing only UCLA who has 1,181 wins. The Huskers have a No.5 RPI and are in the Top 50 in the nation in the following categories: hitting percentage (10th, 0.290), match win-loss percentage (24th, 0.793), blocks/set (26th, 2.68), kills/set (48th, 13.97) and assists/set (49th, 13.03) Lauren Cook leads the Huskers in assists/set with 11.04, which puts her at No. 36 in the nation. Gina Mancuso leads Nebraska with 3.43 kills/set and Hayley Thramer has 1.20 blocks/set.