Volleyball’s regular season officially came to a close this weekend and the postseason began on Sunday night with the release of the NCAA Tournament bracket.
On Monday, the AVCA released its final regular season coaches poll. There was a shake-up in the top four, but that did not impact Nebraska as the Huskers held steady at No. 6.
Previously unbeaten and top-ranked BYU dropped from first to fourth after dropping its final match of the regular season to Loyola Marymount. No. 2 Stanford, who lost just one match all year and went unbeaten in Pac 12 play, received 63 of 64 first-place votes (BYU got the other one) and moved up to the top spot.
Minnesota and Illinois each moved up one spot, to No. 2 and No. 3, respectively. Penn State (No. 7), Wisconsin (No. 8), Purdue (No. 12) and Michigan (No. 18) each held their spots.
Minnesota (No. 2), Illinois (No. 3), Wisconsin (No. 6), Nebraska (No. 7) and Penn State (No. 8) each were tabbed as national seeds in the NCAA Tournament while Purdue and Michigan both earned a bid but not a seed.
Nebraska will play unranked Hofstra, the Colonial Athletic Association champion, at the Devaney Center in the opening round of the tournament. Also coming to Lincoln are Arizona (ranked 23rd in the coaches poll) and Missouri (ranked 24th).
“I’m excited we’re at home,” Coach John Cook said after the selection show. “I think it’s going to be some really high-level teams that are coming here so it’s going to be fun for us and our fans. I’ll just leave it at that — we have to get through the first weekend before we can worry about that.”
Nebraska will play 10th-ranked and 10th-seeded Kentucky in the Sweet 16 if the two teams make it through the first weekend. The Wildcats might have to get past the Boilermakers in the second round first, however.
The Huskers swept five of their final seven opponents during an eight-match winning streak capped with two wins this weekend to close out the season, and two Huskers were honored for their performance.
Senior outside hitter Mikaela Foecke was named Co-Big Ten Player of the week along with Michigan’s Carly Skjodt. Foecke averaged 4.17 kills per set on .458 hitting and 2.67 digs per set in Nebraska’s wins over Ohio State and Maryland. On Senior Night against the Terrapins, she put up 16 kills on .577 hitting and seven digs.
Sophomore middle blocker Lauren Stivrins also garnered commendation for her play as she was named Co-Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week along with Penn State’s Kendall White. Stivrins put up 2.32 kills on .522 hitting and 2.17 blocks per set in the two matches.
The Huskers will begin postseason play against the Pride at 7 p.m. on Friday at the Devaney Center.
Jacob is in his third year with Hail Varsity covering Husker athletics. He has also written extensively for SB Nation’s Bright Side of the Sun and The Creightonian. His love of basketball can best be described as an obsession and if you need to find him, he’s probably in a gym somewhere watching, coaching or playing hoops.