Huskers Fall to Cal in RegionalsEdit

The 2007 Cornhusker Volleyball Team's dreams of back-to-back national championships were ended last night. The #2 ranked Huskers team lost in a close match to Cal, with scores of 30-28, 31-29 and 30-26. The Huskers finished the season with a 30-2 record, led by the culmination of three seniors remarkable careers.

The senior leaders, Sarah Pavan, Maggie Griffin, and Christina Houghtelling have been instrumental in Nebraska's success, helping lead the team to a 126-7 record in 4 years, with two national semifinal appearances, four Big XII championships and one national championship.

In game one, Cal used strong performances from its outside hitters in posting a 30-28 victory. The Huskers middle blocking duo of Stalls and Cooper combined for seven kills on just nine swings. The Huskers fell behind early, as Cal won the first four rallies before the Huskers regrouped and ran off six of the next eight points, highlighted by three points off the serve of Stalls to tie the game at six. From there, the match was close throughout, as Nebraska forged ahead 13-12 on a Jordan Larson kill and eventually built a 15-13 lead at the media timeout. Nebraska led 17-16 before Cal ran off three straight points, capped by a Kat Reilly kill to make it 19-17 to force a Husker timeout. The Huskers rallied and regained the lead at 23-22 on a Larson cross-court kill and led 25-24 before the game’s decisive run. Cal took a 27-25 lead on a Cutura kill, Nebraska fought back, as kills from Cooper and Larson tied the game at 27 and forced Cal to take a timeout. Cutura gave the Golden Bears the lead for good with a kill before a block by Morgan Beck and Kat Reilly put Cal at game point. NU fought off one game point as Pavan and Cooper combined for a block, but Cutura’s eighth kill closed out the win.

As close as game one was, the second game was closer, as neither team led by more than two points in a game that saw 22 ties and nine lead changes before Cal won the final two points to take a 31-29 win. Christina Houghelling kept NU in the game with five kills on nine swings, while Pavan also added five more for the Huskers. The game was back and forth throughout and Nebraska eventually built a 20-18 lead after a Pavan kill. Cal quickly tied the score, winning the next two rallies before the Huskers took their last lead at 23-22 on a Pavan kill. With the score tied at 25, Cal once again used a Cutura kill and a Nebraska ball-handling error to take a two-point lead. Trailing 29-27, Nebraska fought off two game points to tie it at 29-all on two straight Pavan kills, but the Bears again had an answer as a kill from Pressey and a double block by Cutura and Orchard on Pavan to send Cal into the locker room with a 2-0 advantage.

The Huskers could not match the Golden Bears on this night, as Cal completed the sweep with a 30-26 victory. Cal hit a blistering .342, as the Golden Bears’ duo combined for 15 kills and one error in 25 swings. Pavan totaled half of her kill total in the finale to keep NU close, but the Huskers were held to just .184 hitting. The Huskers built an early 7-6 lead, but two attack errors and a Carli Lloyd ace put the Huskers in an early hole. NU climbed back, running off three straight points to turn a two-point deficit into a 14-13 lead on a Cal attack error, but the Golden Bears took control. Cutura led Cal on a 5-0 run that allowed the Bears to take an 18-14 lead. Trailing 22-18, the Huskers raced off three straight points to get within 22-21 on a Houghtelling service ace, and were within 27-26, but could never tie the score, as Cal scored the final three points to complete the sweep. Pressey’s 20th kill of the night sent the Bears into a joyous celebration as they reached the national semifinals for the first time ever.

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