LINCOLN–Nebraska is the No. 5 seed for the 2019 National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) volleyball tournament and will host the first two regional rounds at Bob Devaney Sports Center in Lincoln.
The Huskers will face Ball State (20-11) at 7 p.m. Friday. If they win, they take on the winner of the match between Northern Iowa (24-10) and Missouri (21-7), which will be played Friday at 4:30 p.m.
This is the 35th time Nebraska will host the first and second rounds of the tournament, and the 38th consecutive year the Huskers have been invited to the NCAA volleyball tournament.
Four other Big Ten teams also earned seeds: Wisconsin No. 4, Minnesota No. 7, Penn State No. 11 and Purdue No. 16.
During the regular season, the 25-4 Huskers lost twice to Wisconsin and once to Purdue. They also lost to No. 3 seed Stanford.
If the Huskers and Wisconsin each win their first three matches in the national tournament, they would play in the fourth round for the right to go the national semi-finals. That match would be in Madison, Wisc.
Two other Big Ten teams — Michigan and Illinois – earned a berth but not a seed in the tournament. The Big Ten leads all conferences with seven teams in the tournament.
The first two rounds will be held at the campus sites of the top 16 seeds. Matches in the second weekend — rounds three and four — will be held at the campus sites of the top 4 remaining seeds.
The national semi-finals and the final will be played in Pittsburgh, Penn. Dec. 19-21. Pitt is the national No. 6 seed.
Last year, Nebraska was selected as the No. 7 seed in the tournament and beat No. 10 Kentucky, No. 15 Oregon and No. 3 Illinois to get into the championship game. The Huskers fell 3-2 to Stanford in the title match.
Overall, Nebraska has won five national championships, most recently in 2015 and 2017. They have been to four straight NCAA national semifinals.
If the Huskers make it to the semi-finals this year, it will be the first time the Husker volleyball team has been to five straight semi-finals.
By Hannah Ericksen, UNL College of Journalism and Mass Communications