We’re down to just four teams and three matches to go in the 2018 women’s season. Specifically in regards to the Final Four, just two matches are on the ledger. Here’s our predictions for how Thursday night goes in Minneapolis.
NCAA TOURNAMENT NATIONAL SEMIFINAL/FINAL FOUR (THURSDAY):
VM PREDICTION RECORD: 50-10 (PICKED EXACT NUMBER OF SETS IN 26)
- First Round: 27-5 (picked exact number of sets in 17)
- Second Round: 13-3 (picked exact number of sets in 6)
- Sweet 16: 6-2 (picked exact number of sets in 2)
- Elite 8: 4-0 (picked exact number of sets in 1)
7 p.m. ET – (VM#1) #1 Stanford def. (VM#3) #4 BYU 3-1
- The only loss of the season for Stanford came to BYU very early on. This time though a few things are different; (1) BYU is without McKenna Miller, who had 15 kills and (2) it’s on a neutral court instead of in Provo. What a match we have though in terms of teams and individuals. Kathryn Plummer and Roni Jones-Perry may very well represent the top two players in the country this year while Morgan Hentz and Mary Lake are two of the top liberos. This should be a visually pleasing match with the offenses involved too, while there should be some great saves. Stanford has been here the last two years though and just has a tad more firepower, so we pick them to move on to Saturday.
9 p.m. ET – (VM#2) #3 Illinois def. (VM#5) #7 Nebraska 3-2
- Nebraska won the meeting in Champaign while Illinois won the match in Lincoln. That bodes well for the Fighting Illini, because the Huskers are likely to have the best fan attendance at the Final Four once again and provide a nice advantage for Big Red. Jacqueline Quade combined for 45 kills in the two meetings, but the difference for Illinois from loss to win was what the others provided. For Nebraska, they know they will have pin balance and one of the top liberos in Kenzie Maloney to lean on. Illinois is rolling right now though and Jordyn Poulter along with Ali Bastianelli might be the difference against youngsters Nicklin Hames and Lauren Stivrins – who no doubt could put up a great performance to counteract.