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NCAA makes a change to volleyball tournament that John Cook has supported for years

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Wisconsin vs. Nebraska, 12.14

Nebraska outside hitter Madi Kubik (center) and libero Kenzie Knuckles enter the court before an NCAA Tournament match in Madison, Wisconsin, in 2019.

A change has been made to the format for the NCAA volleyball tournament that will give those teams advancing to the Elite Eight one more day for rest and preparation during the tournament, the NCAA announced Friday.

There will now be one day off between the Sweet 16 and Elite Eight, with matches on Thursday and Saturday. The change will begin this season.

Previously, regional matches were played on Friday and Saturday.

The new format is the same used for the Final Four. It's also the same as each round of the men’s and women’s basketball tournaments.

The change was made to allow the athletes more time to recover. Nebraska coach John Cook has for many years been an advocate for having a day of rest during the regional weekend. While the format was the same for both teams, Cook believes Nebraska may have made at least one more Final Four if it had a day of rest before the regional final.

Kentucky coach Craig Skinner posted on social media that the change is “definitely a step forward for our sport.”

The regional hosts are not predetermined, instead going to the highest remaining team in each region after the second round.

The Final Four this year is in Columbus, Ohio, before coming to Omaha in 2022.

— Brent C. Wagner


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Husker volleyball/women's basketball reporter

Brent Wagner has worked at the Journal Star for 19 years, including 11 years covering the Nebraska volleyball program. His other beats include Nebraska women’s basketball, high school cross country and high school soccer.

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