Huskies Return To Regionals; Meet Huskers Again
Dec. 4, 2012
SEATTLE - The Husky volleyball team marches on into the second week of the NCAA Championships, one of sixteen teams remaining at the start of the Regional rounds. 13th-seeded Washington (25-6) travels to the Omaha Regional, where fourth-seeded Nebraska plays host and awaits the Dawgs in the round of 16 this Friday, Dec. 7, at 4:00 p.m. Pacific. Prior to that match at the CenturyLink Center, fifth-seeded Oregon and 12th-seeded BYU will play, with the winners of Friday’s matches meeting on Saturday at 3:30 p.m. Pacific for a spot in the Final Four in Louisville.
Friday’s match will be shown live on ESPN3.com, while the Regional final will be live on ESPNU. Beth Mowins and Karch Kiraly will call the action. The Huskies will be hoping that Omaha’s CenturyLink Center will bring success similar to the track records of the Seahawks and Husky football team at CenturyLink Field in Seattle. The Omaha Region is the only one of the four (West Lafayette, Austin, Berkeley) sites to have all four seeded teams advance through. This is Washington’s seventh Regional appearance in the past 10 years under Head Coach Jim McLaughlin, with UW winning its region in 2004, 2005, and 2006.
Washington and Nebraska has developed into quite a postseason rivalry based on just a few encounters over the past few years. The Huskies upset the Huskers in 2005 to win their first NCAA title. Nebraska then deprived UW of a Final Four appearance in 2008 with a comeback five-set victory in Seattle in the regional final. Washington’s last NCAA Regional appearance was 2010 in Seattle, when UW upset the second-seeded Huskers in four sets in the round of 16 before falling to eventual NCAA runner-up Cal in the regional final.
Last week, the Dawgs outlasted Hawaii in a thrilling second round match that went the distance. The Rainbow Wahine, unseeded despite being ranked in the AVCA top-10, led two sets to one, and held a match point in the fourth set at 25-24, but senior Amanda Gil earned a block to save the season, and UW went on to win, 15-11 in the fifth set, snapping Hawaii’s 19-match win streak. Washington swept Central Arkansas in the first round, their 11th straight first round win.
Oregon reached the round of 16 with home wins over Northern Colorado and Dayton. The Huskies and Ducks split the regular season series, with UW’s win at home going down in the recordbooks as the longest fifth set UW has ever played. The Huskies won, 25-23, in the fifth, and saved 14 match points before prevailing. BYU had victories over New Mexico State and Oklahoma, while Nebraska defeated Maryland-Eastern Shore and Northern Iowa. The Huskers are one of six teams still alive out of the Big Ten, while the Pac-12 has four teams left in the field, with Stanford and USC joining UW and UO.