COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Madi Kubik had 13 kills, three aces and two blocks, Lauren Stivrins had nine kills and six blocks — the last of which came on match points — and Nebraska rallied to beat No. 3 seed Pittsburgh 16-25, 25-17, 25-20, 25-22 on Thursday night in the semifinals of the NCAA volleyball tournament.
No. 10 seed Nebraska (26-7) — 40th consecutive NCAA tournament appearance, second nationally to Penn State (41) — plays Wisconsin in Saturday’s championship game. The fourth-seeded Badgers won both regular-season matchups between the teams, losing just one set.
The Cornhuskers scored the first three points in the fourth and never trailed in the fourth and final set. Pitt, which trailed by four on seven different occasions, tied if for the first time at 20-20 on a kill by Leketor Member-Meneh but Stivrins and Lindsay Krause combined on a block to give Nebraska the lead for good.
Member-Meneh led the Panthers with 13 kills but had seven errors and hit just .150. Serena Gray added 11 kills.
Stivrins hit .529 with no hitting errors and Nicklin Hames had 45 assists, 13 digs and two blocks for the Cornhuskers. the lowest seeded team since 2014 to reach the Final Four since 2014
Pitt (30-4) Jumped 10 a 5-1 lead and, after the Cornhuskers rallied to tie it a 7-all, the Panthers scored the first four points in an 8-1 run — including three kills by Chinaza Ndee.
Kubik had a kill and Stivrins added a block and a kill before the pair combined for a block to cap five straight Nebraska points to make it 16-9 and pull away in the second set for good.
A service ace by Rachel Fairbanks gave the Panthers an one-point lead in the third but Ally Batenhorst answered with a kill for the Cornhuskers, who then scored on five serves by Stivrins, including an ace, to make it 23-18.
After reaching the Elite Eight for the first time last season, the Panthers played in the program’s first semifinals.
Nebraska, which advanced to its 10th title game, is 13-0 all-time against Pitt — 4-0 in the NCAA tournament.