SETTING UP THE FINAL
About Stanford (33-1)
The nation’s top-ranked team and the top seed in the tournament, the Cardinal is making its 16th appearance in the championship match, the most in NCAA history. Stanford extended its school-record win streak to 31 matches with Thursday’s rout of Brigham Young, a stunning 25-15, 25-15, 25-18 sweep that showed off its powerful blocking. It recorded 17 blocks in holding one of the nation’s most efficient offenses to a hitting percentage of minus-.026. Junior outside hitter Kathryn Plummer, who on Friday was named the national player of the year for the second year in a row, paces the Stanford attack with 4.74 kills per set. Senior Tami Alade — who had 14 blocks Thursday — averages a team-high 1.87 blocks per set. The Cardinal has won seven NCAA titles, the most recent in 2016, when it defeated the Gophers in the semifinals before beating Texas 3-1 in the championship match.
About Nebraska (29-6)
Coach John Cook said Friday it would be “hard to bet against’’ senior co-captains Mikaela Foecke and Kenzie Maloney, who have the Cornhuskers humming after a season that needed some time to take off. The pair is shooting for their third NCAA title in four years; Nebraska has five NCAA championships overall. A persistent, confident team adept at winning big points and close games, the Huskers are led by Foecke’s 3.80 kills per set and Maloney’s 4.05 digs per set. Cook said the Huskers need a balanced attack to beat Stanford, as well as improved blocking; Nebraska registered only four blocks in Thursday’s semifinal victory over Illinois, when it rallied from an 0-2 hole.