🏐 Big Highlight :
The Oregon Ducks jumped in and swam on by the Minnesota women’s volleyball team. The Ducks, who are 15th-seeded surprised the second seeded Minnesota Gophers. The upset occurred in 4 sets, with 21-25, 41-39, 25-14, and 26-24. These scores are extraordinary. The 41-39 score is particularly impressive, and a testament to the determination of the Ducks NCAA Division 1 team.
Oregon alone provided the single seeded upset in the eighth round. Oregon’s win brought them to a current record of 23-10 and ended Minnesota’s 2nd-seeded season at 27-4. The gophers put up a gallant final fight, but the determined Ducks overcame them.
The second set of the match is worth focusing on, for a call that may have changed the swing of not just the set, but the entire match. Oregon surged ahead in the set, bringing it to 21-18. It appeared they were going to win, until Minnesota, the Big-Ten 2018 champions, roared ahead on all cylinders, bringing the score to 25-24. In a moment where they appeared to solidify their win, they pulled ahead to 39-37. Going on a hunch, Ulmer challenged the call, which the official overturned. This reversal allowed the teams to continue set two, with Oregon eventually pushing ahead to win 41-39. No matter where the Ducks go from here, that win will be burned into their minds.
🏐 The Elite Eight Matches
As there were only eight teams left, the NCAA Big Four needed to be decided.
Texas at BYU – Winner BYU
Oregon vs. Nebraska – Winner Nebraska
Penn State at Stanford – Stanford
Wisconsin at Illinois – Illinois
🏐 Final NCAA BIG Four:
1 Stanford vs. 4 BYU
32-1 Stanford will compete with 31-1 BYU in the semifinals this week. A better matchup we could not imagine. Both teams have only one loss under their belt, so neither of them have really felt the feeling of defeat. This rematch is truly extraordinary, as Stanford’s only defeat this season came at the hands of BYU in August. That loss has no doubt helped to fuel the rest of Stanford’s season, and they’ve come back with revenge on their mind and fire in their veins.
3 Illinois vs. 7 Nebraska
32-3 Illinois is gearing up to challenge 28 – 6 Nebraska. These teams played twice in their Big Ten season, and they each won one of those matches. This rematch is a final step, a final chance for each of them to prove their dominance over the other. Illinois is slightly favoured over Nebraska, but nothing is set in stone.
The games, which will be airing this Thursday at 7 and 9 pm EST respectively, will be the crown jewel on a long, strenuous season. When all is said and done there can only be one champion, and Saturday’s games are the next step to an NCAA Division 1 championship. With one game, and 3 to 5 sets ahead of them, only one thing is sure: Two teams will be victorious on Thursday.