Melanie Wade was able to help the Palo Alto High volleyball team win a pair of state championships during her prep days, but she couldn't get the University of Washington women into the NCAA Final Four last weekend as the Huskies saw their season end at the Elite Eight in Lexington, Ky.
Wade was one of six seniors who won more matches than any class in the history of Washington volleyball, but a win in the Elite Eight was just out of reach as the fifth-seeded Huskies dropped a typically hard-fought, high-intensity match to fourth-seeded Nebraska, 25-17, 21-25, 25-20, 25-21.
Washington finished the season at 31-3, one win shy of reaching the Final Four, as Nebraska (30-4) earned a trip home to Omaha where it will host the championships this week. Nebraska will face Kansas and Texas will take on Minnesota on Thursday in the semifinals.
The Huskers earned a 14th straight victory and snapped the Huskies' 14-match win streak. Nebraska earned its first Final Four appearance since 2008. The Huskies and Huskers were meeting for the sixth time in the NCAA tournament since 2005, and while UW won two of the first three in the rivalry, Nebraska has had UW's number of late, stopping Washington's postseason runs in the round of 16 in 2012 and 2014, and in the Elite Eight on Saturday.
Wade was part of a senior class that combined to win 117 matches over the past four years, against just 16 defeats. The group helped win Pac-12 titles in 2013 and again this season, and made postseason runs twice to the Sweet 16, this year to the Elite Eight, and to the Final Four in 2013, and won 30-plus matches for an unprecedented three straight years.
Wade went out with an outstanding effort today against the Huskers. She had 10 kills for the second straight night, hitting .474 with five blocks. Wade finished fifth in total blocks in school history with 485.
This season, Wade had 196 kills, 145 blocks and 76 digs.