Husker volleyball play-by-play voice John Baylor, who has been calling NU matches since 1994, told The World-Herald his top five matches in Coliseum history.
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NCAA East Regional final: Nebraska def. Penn State 3-2, Dec. 14, 1996
No. 4 Nebraska trailed No. 3 Penn State 11-6 in Game 5 with a berth in the Final Four on the line when then-coach Terry Pettit sent in little-used sub Kim Crandall to serve. Crandall, now Kim Eymann and the coach at Omaha Westside, served a string of points to spark a Husker rally.
Five Nittany Lions recorded double-digit kills, but NU All-American Lisa Reitsma led all players with 26 kills and Megan Korver added 18 as Nebraska took the fifth set 20-18.
Pettit said he spoke this past summer with former Nebraska Athletic Director Bill Byrne, who told him the match was the greatest sporting event he ever attended.
NCAA second round: NU def. South Carolina 3-2, Dec. 2, 2000
The Huskers, 29-0 and ranked No. 1, were on the verge of falling victim to what might have been the biggest upset in NCAA tournament history before another piece of Coliseum magic.
South Carolina led 2-1 in sets and was up 12-8 in Game 4 under the sideout scoring system before the Huskers scored six straight points behind the serving of freshman Anna Schrad.
Amber Holmquist had 20 kills and Kim Behrends added 18, and the Huskers held on to win 15-13 in Game 5.
NCAA regional final: Nebraska def. Florida 3-2, Dec. 8, 2001
No. 2 Nebraska easily took the first two sets from the seventh-ranked Gators before Florida rallied back behind All-America outside hitter Aury Cruz. The sophomore from Puerto Rico had 31 kills as Florida forced a Game 5. It was the only five-setter Nebraska played all season.
The Gators led 12-10 in the fifth, but Nebraska All-American Nancy Metcalf would not let her team lose. Metcalf had six of her 25 kills and added two aces in the fifth to push the Huskers to a 15-13 win, sending them to their eighth Final Four appearance.
Nebraska def. Florida 3-2, Nov. 12, 1995
In a strangely scheduled nonconference match just before the end of the regular season, No. 3 Florida came to Lincoln on a Sunday afternoon to face top-ranked Nebraska.
The Huskers let a 2-0 lead in sets slip away before capturing Game 5 15-7 on their way to the school’s first national title.
The match was during Baylor’s second season as the team’s broadcaster, and was when he got his first glimpse of the effect the crowd could have on a Husker match.
“That was when I realized this was really a nexus of a relationship between a state, a sport and a university that just belongs together,” he said.
NCAA Regional final: Nebraska def. Wisconsin 3-2, Dec. 12, 1998
No. 3 Nebraska rallied from a 2-1 deficit to hold off unranked Pepperdine in five games the night before, and had to pull off another comeback to avoid going down two sets against No. 8 Wisconsin, the final Badger team led by John Cook.
NU lost Game 1 15-12 and trailed 9-2 in Game 2 before Metcalf, then Nancy Meendering, led the Huskers back. They fought off 14 game points for Wisconsin under the sideout scoring system, eventually winning 18-16 in a marathon game.
The teams were tied 10-10 in the fifth before Nebraska ended the match on a 5-0 run. The Huskers had 14 fewer kills in the match and hit .167, but Metcalf led all players with 27 kills.
The next year, Cook would join Nebraska as associate head coach before taking over for Pettit in 2000.