Ain't it sweet for Nebraska volleyball?
Nebraska volleyball is on to the Sweet 16 in the NCAA Tournament for the 12th straight season and for the 39th time in program history.
Nebraska volleyball is now 30-1. It’s the Huskers’ first 30-win season since 2017, but it’s not entirely unfamiliar to this team. Nebraska has won 30 matches in a season 24 times in program history. That includes 12 times under coach John Cook.
As we prepare for another exciting volleyball week in Lincoln, let’s take a look at how we got here, football’s 2025 recruiting class, a nod to soccer’s Eleanor Dale and a preview of what you have to look forward to this week.
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Ain’t it sweet?
After sweeping Long Island University on Friday and Missouri on Saturday, Nebraska volleyball is on to the Sweet 16 in the NCAA Tournament for the 12th straight season and for the 39th time in program history. The Huskers’ 39 regional appearances are the most in NCAA history.
Nebraska is set to face No. 12 Georgia Tech (24-6) in the Lincoln regional semifinal on Thursday at 1 p.m. CT. ESPN2 will carry the match.
The fifth-seeded Yellow Jackets come to Lincoln following an upset over No. 4 Florida, 3-2 (22-25, 30-28, 25-21, 25-18, 16-14). Georgia Tech was last in the Sweet Sixteen in 2021.
No. 2 Kentucky and No. 3 Arkansas will also be in Lincoln, set to meet at 3:30 p.m. CT on Thursday on ESPNU. The Elite Eight matchup is scheduled for Saturday at 5 p.m. CT on ESPNU.
Nebraska’s first weekend in the tournament wasn’t without drama — the third set against LIU was a rough one at times — but Cook and the team feel they settled in by Saturday. It’s bound to happen when you have four of your eight starters making their first NCAA Tournament appearances.
“Everything was just a little more settled in (on Saturday), even though the crowd was a lot louder tonight,” setter Bergen Reilly said following the sweep of Missouri. “I think our team was just a little more calm. And so it obviously translated. We hit really well, we passed really well, so I think we could see that.”
Knowing they didn’t play their best on Friday, the Huskers used Saturday to up their urgency and play with more confidence. Cook said he has a list of things they’ll work on this week — getting the middles more involved is one of them — but the confidence is building.
That can be a big key for any team.
No. 4 for 2025
Nebraska picked up a commitment from Moore (Okla.) athlete CJ Simon over the weekend. He is the Huskers’ fourth commitment of the 2025 class.
Simon — who stands at 6-foot and 165 pounds — has visited Lincoln three times already since receiving an offer in April. He selected Nebraska over offers from programs like Oklahoma State, Texas Tech and Kansas.
He is expected to play wide receiver at Nebraska, which explains why his primary recruiter is Garret McGuire. Those “recruited by” notes often give some insight when a player is listed as an “athlete.”
Also, if you’re concerned that Simon is unranked, don’t be. It’s likely just too early. The recruiting services will go through additional rounds of rankings in the next several months, and that’s likely when Simon will see a rating come through.
For now, Simon joins defensive lineman Tyson Terry of Omaha (Neb.) North, athlete Caden VerMaas of Millard (Neb.) North and running back Conor Booth of Wahoo (Neb.) Neumann.
Honors keep on coming for Eleanor Dale
Senior Eleanor Dale continues to get much-deserved recognition after an incredible season. On Friday, she was named first-team All-American from the United Soccer Coaches. Dale – who leads the nation with 28 goals — is Nebraska’s 14th player to be named All-American and the first since Jaycie Johnson who was named third team in 2016. The last first-teamer for the Huskers was Jenny Benson in 2000.
It doesn’t end there.
On Wednesday, the United Soccer Coaches and the Missouri Athletic Club (MAC) announced the women’s semifinalists for the 2023 MAC Hermann Trophy. Dale was one of 15 selected by NCAA Division I soccer coaches.
Three women’s finalists will be named for the award this Wednesday (Dec. 6), so keep an eye out.
Coming this week for paid subscribers
Going forward, we’ll give you a preview on Monday of what’s to come through the week for our paid subscribers. Here’s what’s ahead this week:
>> The transfer portal is officially open as of today (Monday, Dec. 4). It’ll be open for just shy of a month until Tuesday, Jan. 2. What do you need to know? What’s the latest? Brandon will have the deep dive for Tuesday’s newsletter.
>> I caught up with Nebraska wrestling coach Mark Manning for a Q&A that will hit your inboxes Thursday morning. Fresh off a second-place finish in the 2023 Keen Invitational in Las Vegas, Nevada, Manning and Nebraska are now back home in preparation for a dual with South Dakota State on Saturday, Dec. 16.
Manning shared insight on his team, thoughts on individual wrestlers and much more. You don’t want to miss it.
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