What's on tap for Illinois volleyball?

What's on tap for Illinois volleyball?

ILLINOIS (32-3)

Their coach is ... Chris Tamas. The start of his head coaching career has gone pretty well with 55 wins in two seasons and now a trip to the Final Four.

Their best player is ... Jordyn Poulter. The senior setter should factor significantly into the AVCA National Player of the Year race.

Their fans cheer the most when ... Jacqueline Quade obliterates a defender on a back-row attack. The junior outside hitter has become a dangerous weapon.

They'll sing 'We Are The Champions,' on Saturday night if ... they simply do what they've done in their 17-match winning streak. Serve strong. Vary the attack. And put up a nearly impenetrable block.

NEBRASKA (28-6)

Their coach is ... John Cook. Tamas' old boss has his team in a fourth straight Final Four (two of which the 'Huskers have won).

Their best player is ... Mikaela Foecke. She's been a key factor in each of Nebraska's last two NCAA titles and is a force to be reckoned with at the net.

Their fans cheer the most when ... just about anything happens. The NCAA attendance leaders somehow average a bigger crowd than the Devaney Center holds.

They'll sing 'We Are The Champions,' on Saturday night if ... they can replicate what happens when the Final Four is held on their home turf. Two of their five total titles came in Omaha.

BYU (31-1)

Their coach is ... Heather Olmstead. Fourth-year coach comes from a coaching family. Brother, Shawn, is BYU's men's coach, and dad, Rick, coached Karch Kiraly in high school.

Their best player is ... Roni Jones-Perry. The Cougars' kills leader (498 on the season so far) has averaged 6.07 kills per set in the NCAA tournament.

Their fans cheer the most when ... Jones-Perry is crushing at the pin. She has to after McKenna Miller went down with a torn ACL in early November.

They'll sing 'We Are The Champions,' on Saturday night if ... they can beat Stanford — again — and then prove they can also handle what the Big Ten has to offer.

STANFORD (32-1)

Their coach is ... Kevin Hambly. Former Illinois coach is back in the Final Four for the first time since guiding the Illini there in 2011.

Their best player is ... Kathryn Plummer. The reigning NPOY is Poulter's main competition for the honor this season.

Their fans cheer the most when ... Tami Alade puts the roof on an opposing attack. This is a Hambly team. He's going to get the most defensively out of his middles.

They'll sing 'We Are The Champions,' on Saturday night if ... Plummer goes off like she did when the Cardinal won the national title in 2016. She's far and away the engine that drives this team.

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