The Huskers are headed back to Omaha — along with 47 other teams.
The NCAA released the 48-team field for the 2020-21 NCAA Volleyball Tournament on Sunday and the Huskers earned the No. 5 seed. Nebraska will face the winner of WAC champion Utah Valley (14-5) and Sun Belt champion Texas State (30-8 including matches in the fall and spring) in the second round on Thursday, April 15 at 2:30 p.m. CT.
— NCAA Women's Volleyball (@NCAAVolleyball) April 4, 2021
“We’re just excited to get started,” Lexi Sun said in an interview during the selection show on ESPNU. “Obviously this past weekend we didn’t get to play, so we’re really excited to be able to stay in Omaha and get this journey started.”
The entirety of this year’s tournament will be held at CHI Health Center Omaha with up to 25% capacity allowed, including all contestants, support staff and spectators. However, that attendance won’t kick in until the regional finals when the action moves to the main arena. The first three rounds will take place in the convention center and only guests of the student-athletes and coaches will be allowed to attend. The top 16 seeds received a first-round bye thanks to this year’s reduced field which included just 18 at-large bids and 30 automatic qualifiers.
“It’s an unreal experience,” Sun said about the Nebraska fan base. “I truly didn’t understand how amazing Husker nation really was until I got here and was able to feel it first-hand. We’re just so excited to be able to play in Omaha and have a lot of those Huskers fans there hopefully.”
Nebraska went 14-2 during the abbreviated spring season, finishing third in the Big Ten. The Huskers were 4th in the latest AVCA Coaches Poll. The Huskers split their series with Minnesota and Ohio State, both top-11 teams nationally, but had three series canceled because of COVID-19 issues including ones against the Big Ten champion in Wisconsin and rival Penn State.
The Big Ten did not allow nonconference matches this season.
The Huskers’ run of four straight Final Four appearances came to an end during the 2019 NCAA Tournament when the Huskers fell to eventual runner-up Wisconsin in the regional final round.
Six of the top 13 seeds came from the Big Ten as No. 1 Wisconsin (13-0), No. 3 Minnesota (15-2), No. 7 Purdue (14-6), No. 9 Ohio State (15-3) and No. 13 Penn State (9-5)
The tournament will begin on Wednesday, April 14, with the first-round matches.
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.