MINNEAPOLIS — The Stanford Cardinal is the 2018 NCAA Division I national champion.
This is the Cardinal's Division I-high eighth national title. Meghan McClure delivered the decisive point in a thrilling five-set match (28-26, 22-25, 25-16, 15-25, 15-12) against the Nebraska Cornhuskers.
The national championship match was nothing short of an instant classic between two of the most storied programs in the sport's history. After Stanford dominated the third set, it looked like it was clearly headed for a championship. But the Huskers countered by winning nine of the first 10 points of the fourth set and hitting .412 in the set to extend the match.
Nebraska had the momentum, but to think that the fifth set would be anything but a back-and-forth nail-biter was to deny the fact that these were clearly the best two teams on the court. Nebraska outside hitter Lexi Sun had back-to-back kills to tie the match at nine. Stanford then countered with a huge 5-1 run, punctuated by a ace from defensive specialist Sidney Wilson. Nebraska coach John Cook challenged that the ball was out, but the call stood.
Three points later, McClure broke through the Stanford block and dove to the floor as the Cardinal celebrated its second championship in three years.
Stanford's two-time AVCA player of the year Kathryn Plummer was named co-Most Outstanding Player with libero Morgan Hentz, who had a career-high 32 digs. Plummer had a double-double with 19 kills and 10 digs. The difference-maker for Stanford on Saturday night had to be freshman middle Holly Campbell who had a career-high 15 kills and hit .483.
Mikaela Foecke was outstanding once again for Nebraska. She had 27 kills and hit just less than .300 with 71 swings. She will be remembered as an all-time great at Nebraska. Lauren Stivrins was tremendous for the Huskers as well, with 19 kills and a .615 hitting percentage.
Lastly, the All-tournament team was named as follows: Jacqueline Quade (Illinois), Lauren Stivrins (Nebraska), Mikaela Foecke (Nebraska), Audriana Fitzmorris (Stanford), Jenna Gray (Stanford), Morgan Hentz (Stanford), Kathryn Plummer (Stanford).
That match will be a tough one to top at the 2019 national semifinals and championship in Pittsburgh. Thanks for tuning into another spectacular volleyball season. Be sure to look at the blog below with all the highlights from the 2018 national championship match.
NCAA volleyball championship: Nebraska-Stanford highlights
NCAA volleyball championship: Schedule
|Stanford 3, Nebraska 2||Minneapolis, Minn.||Saturday, Dec. 15||9 p.m.||ESPN2|
|No. 1 Stanford 3, No. 4 BYU 0||Minneapolis, Minn.||Thursday, Dec. 13||7 p.m.||ESPN|
|No. 7 Nebraska 3, No. 3 Illinois 2||Minneapolis, Minn.||Thursday, Dec. 13||9 p.m.||ESPN|
How they got here
No. 1 Stanford (22nd appearance):
- First round: Alabama State, 3-0
- Second round: Loyola Marymount, 3-0
- Regional semifinal: No. 16 Washington, 3-1
- Regional final: No. 8 Penn State, 3-1
No. 4 BYU (3rd appearance):
- First round: Stony Brook, 3-0
- Second round: Utah, 3-0
- Regional semifinal: Florida, 3-1
- Regional final: No. 5 Texas, 3-0
No. 3 Illinois (4th appearance):
- First round: Eastern Michigan, 3-0
- Second round: Louisville, 3-1
- Regional semifinal: No. 14 Marquette, 3-0
- Regional final: No. 6 Wisconsin, 3-1
No. 7 Nebraska (15th appearance):
- First round: Hofstra, 3-0
- Second round: Missouri, 3-0
- Regional semifinal: No. 10 Kentucky, 3-0
- Regional final: No. 15 Oregon, 3-0
|2018||Stanford (34-1)||Kevin Hambly||3-2||Nebraska||Minneapolis|
|2017||Nebraska (32-4)||John Cook||3-1||Florida||Kansas City|
|2016||Stanford (26-7)||John Dunning||3-1||Texas||Columbus|
|2015||Nebraska (32-4)||John Cook||3-0||Texas||Omaha|
|2014||Penn State (36-3)||Russ Rose||3-0||BYU||Oklahoma City|
|2013||Penn State (34-2)||Russ Rose||3-1||Wisconsin||Seattle|
|2012||Texas (29-4)||Jerritt Elliott||3-0||Oregon||Louisville|
|2011||UCLA (29-6)||Michael Sealy||3-1||Illinois||San Antonio, Texas|
|2010||Penn State (32-5)||Russ Rose||3-0||California||UMKC|
|2009||Penn State (38-0)||Russ Rose||3-2||Texas||South Florida|
|2008||Penn State (38-0)||Russ Rose||3-0||Stanford||Nebraska|
|2007||Penn State (34-2)||Russ Rose||3-2||Stanford||Sacramento State|
|2006||Nebraska (33-1)||John Cook||3-1||Stanford||Nebraska|
|2005||Washington (32-1)||Jim McLaughlin||3-0||Nebraska||UTSA|
|2004||Stanford (30-6)||John Dunning||3-0||Minnesota||Long Beach State|
|2003||Southern California (35-0)||Mick Haley||3-1||Florida||Dallas|
|2002||Southern California (31-1)||Mick Haley||3-1||Stanford||New Orleans|
|2001||Stanford (33-2)||John Dunning||3-0||Long Beach State||San Diego State|
|2000||Nebraska (34-0)||John Cook||3-2||Wisconsin||VCU|
|1999||Penn State (36-1)||Russ Rose||3-0||Stanford||Hawaii|
|1998||Long Beach State (36-0)||Brian Gimmillaro||3-2||Penn State||Wisconsin|
|1997||Stanford (33-2)||Don Shaw||3-2||Penn State||Washington State|
|1996||Stanford (31-2)||Don Shaw||3-0||Hawaii||Cleveland State|
|1995||Nebraska (32-1)||Terry Pettit||3-1||Texas||Massachusetts|
|1994||Stanford (31-2)||Don Shaw||3-1||UCLA||Texas|
|1993||Long Beach State (32-2)||Brian Gimmillaro||3-1||Penn State||Wisconsin|
|1992||Stanford (31-2)||Don Shaw||3-1||UCLA||New Mexico|
|1991||UCLA (31-5)||Andy Banachowski||3-2||Long Beach State||UCLA|
|1990||UCLA (36-1)||Andy Banachowski||3-0||Pacific||Maryland|
|1989||Long Beach State (32-5)||Brian Gimmillaro||3-0||Nebraska||Hawaii|
|1988||Texas (34-5)||Mick Haley||3-0||Hawaii||Minnesota|
|1987||Hawaii (37-2)||Dave Shoji||3-1||Stanford||Indianapolis|
|1986||Pacific (39-3)||John Dunning||3-0||Nebraska||Pacific|
|1985||Pacific (36-3)||John Dunning||3-1||Stanford||Western Michigan|
|1984||UCLA (33-6)||Andy Banachowski||3-2||Stanford||UCLA|
|1983||Hawaii (34-2)||Dave Shoji||3-0||UCLA||Kentucky|
|1982||Hawaii (33-1)||Dave Shoji||3-2||Southern California||Pacific|
|1981||Southern California (27-10)||Chuck Erbe||3-2||UCLA||UCLA|