BYU women’s volleyball team NCAA tournament dreams ended Friday in a 3–0 loss to No. 4 Nebraska in the Sweet 16 round of the NCAA tournament.
In a back-and-forth game, BYU (No. 13) couldn’t find the answers to Nebraska’s red hot offense and defense.
Senior Alexa Gray led BYU on offense with 18 kills and contributed 15 digs. Junior Amy Boswell had 8 kills against a solid blocking Nebraska team (17 blocks) and added 5 blocks of her own. Senior Ciara Parker led the Cougar defense with 18 digs.
The Cougars had a slow start in the first set falling as low as 4 points behind the Huskers.
A Nebraska service error tied the game at 16. From there the Cougars found a rhythm and started to fight. However, the Cougars fell behind again, but a block by junior Whitney Young Howard tied the game at 24. Nebraska took the next two points off of a kill and a BYU hitting error.
The Cougars lost the first set 24–26.
In the second set, the Cougars struggled to gain ground falling behind 2–8. The Cougars inched their way back into the game, but never came more than 4 points within the Huskers score. The Cougars lost the second set 17–25.
In the first two sets, Nebraska held Gray to 11 kills on 35 attempts.
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In a dramatic shift, the Cougars came out swinging in the third set. After starting down on the first two points of the match, the Cougars got their first lead of the match on a block by Amy Boswell 3–2. The Cougars continued on a 5–0 run before Nebraska took the lead at 8–7
Freshman Veronica Jones came alive big for the Cougars with a hard kill to tie the game at 9 and another kill to take the lead 10–9.
The Huskers went on a 5–0 run at to go up 19–15. BYU lost control of the game as the Huskers went on to take a 23–18 lead.
A kill by Gray got the team on a 3-point run and within one at 22–23.
A kill by the Huskers put Nebraska at game point, but the Cougars battled with a kill by Gray to bring the score to 23–24. The Huskers won the game on a hitting error by Gray 25–23.
While there was not a “Hail Mary” comeback, the Cougars fought hard in the third set with 8 ties and 3 lead changes.
In last year’s NCAA tournament, the Cougars were the Cinderella story as an unseeded team that went on to take 2nd place in the NCAA tournament.