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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — It will be Huskers and Gators for the national championship.

No. 3 Florida held off a late rally from No. 4 Stanford, winning in five sets, 25-22, 25-21, 18-25, 18-25, 15-10 in the second Final Four volleyball match Thursday night at Sprint Center.

Florida coach Mary Wise is well aware of what awaits Florida at 8 p.m. on Saturday.

“Red and loud,” Wise said when asked what she expected the environment to be like.

But Wise is all for it.

“This is so good for women’s volleyball,” she said. “Actually it’s great for women’s volleyball to have 18,000-plus (fans in KC). This is the growth of our sport and our sport has grown in much part because of Nebraska. Their fans, their program, they get a whole lot of credit.”

Nebraska and Florida will be seeing each other for a second time this season. The teams met in the second match of the season in Gainesville, Florida, as part of the VERT Challenge. The Gators won in five sets in a match where the Huskers played without their leader, Kelly Hunter.

Florida relied on its athleticism and the efforts of Rhamat Alhassan and Carli Snyder to knock off defending national champion Stanford.

Alhassan, a 6-foot-4 middle blocker, had 17 kills and four blocks, and Snyder added 16 kills. The match was a clash of two of the nation’s top blocking teams.

“The difference in the match was, as we anticipated, was serve-pass game, and the fact that we went through a five-set match without giving up a single reception error,” Wise said. “It was a challenge, but you expect it to be a challenge when your reach this point.”

Florida will be appearing in its first national championship match.

Both Final Four matches went five sets, and the second didn’t end until close to midnight.


Sports Editor

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