The last Big 12 title game goes to the Huskers.
College Station, Texas. — The No. 5 Nebraska volleyball team (27-2, 19-1 Big 12) capped its final season in the Big 12 Conference on Saturday afternoon with a 3-0 (25-16, 26-24, 25-17) win over the Texas A&M Aggies to take sole possession of the league title after clinching at least a share of the conference crown on Wednesday night. Nebraska has captured 31 conference titles overall and 12 in the Big 12 era.
"Our seniors set a goal to win the Big 12 title in our last year in the Big 12 Conference," Head Coach John Cook said. "Winning it outright is tough because you have to be great over 11 weeks with the true round-robin schedule.
Senior Sydney Anderson led the Huskers in assists with 17, while fellow senior Kayla Banwarth controlled Texas A&M's attack with a team-high 13 digs. Seniors Lindsey Licht and Tara Mueller each added eight kills with Mueller hitting .400.
"I was nervous coming in here because of how they (Texas A&M) played last year," Banwarth said. "It was great to come in here and take care of business. It is a great momentum builder for the NCAA Tournament."
Morgan Broekhuis led the Huskers with 10 kills, while Brooke Delano's seven blocks helped hold the Aggies to .099 hitting on the night.
After the teams split the first six rallies of set one, Delano entered the match and made her presence felt. The junior from Bellevue, Neb. powered the Huskers to a 7-1 run behind four blocks and a kill, resulting in a 10-4 NU lead. The Aggies were able to cut the lead to five, 12-7, but Hannah Werth answered with a kill and a block to start a 4-0 run that pushed the NU lead to nine, 16-7. The squads played it even the rest of the way and Muller put away her third kill of the set to win it for Nebraska, 25-16.
Delano's four blocks led five Huskers who charted a block in the first set which helped hold the Aggies to -.030 hitting.
The Huskers stayed hot early in set two and opened with a 5-0 run, including a block and kill from Werth, before the Aggies got on the board with a kill from Alisia Kastmo. Werth responded with a kill and Licht followed with two more to put the Huskers up 8-1, resulting in an Aggie timeout.
The break was just what Texas A&M needed as Kastmo notched another kill and then Tori Mellinger served five straight points, including three consecutive aces, to trim the NU lead to one, 8-7, before Mellinger committed a serving error. The Aggies stayed close and tied the set four times before Kastmo came calling again to give Texas A&M its first lead, 13-12.
Texas A&M used the momentum to take a three-point lead, 16-13, but couldn't hold on as Nebraska fired back with a 5-0 run behind two kills and a block from Licht. The Aggies then took their second timeout and score wins in three of the next four rallies to tie the set at 19-19. Nebraska never gave back the lead and looked to be in position to take the set up 24-21, but once again the Aggies stormed back with three straight kills to tie the set at 24-24. Werth and Delano then stepped up for the Huskers with consecutive kills to make sure NU held onto the set, 26-24.
Nebraska came out strong out of the locker room with a 7-3 lead in set three. The Aggies then cut the NU lead in half with back-to-back points before Delano put home three kills during a 7-1 NU run to double-up the Aggies, 14-7. Just like the second set, the Huskers failed to put the Aggies away as Texas A&M scored on three straight rallies to force a Husker timeout with the score at 14-10.
The Huskers responded with an 8-2 run to extend their lead to 22-12, with Banwarth ace putting in an ace and five different Huskers notching a kill during the run. The Aggies were all out of comebacks as Werth completed the sweep with her sevent kill of the night.
The Huskers will now wait until tomorrow at 2 p.m. when the 2010 NCAA Tournament field is announced live on ESPNews. If the Huskers are selected as one of the 16 host sites for the first and second rounds tickets will go on sale Monday morning at 8 a.m. on Huskers.com, by calling the NU Ticket Office at 800-8-BIGRED begin_of_the_skype_highlighting 800-8-BIGRED end_of_the_skype_highlighting or in person at the NU Athletic Ticket Office. All-session ticket prices are set at $34 (reserved) and $30 (general admission) and include the two first-round games, as well as the second-round matchup between the first-round winners.
Source: University of Nebraska Athletic Dept.