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NU v. Northwestern—9/28/18


Husker Immortal
15 Year Member

John Cooke disappointed. They did not play the way they were taught! Pissed! Perfectionist! :)

lazy play, I think he is trying to say.


Inactive as of 11-01-2018
The Nebraska Volleyball Team ventured outside the state for the first time in the 2018 season. And it looks like they traveled in comfort, chartering a Fairchild Dornier 328 Twin Jet to make the hop to Evanston to face the Wildcats (no commercial flights for these gals). Much like Northwestern Football, the Wildcat Volleyball program is making a substantial 110 million dollar investment in their home of Welsh-Ryan Arena (which also accommodates men & women’s basketball and wrestling). Unfortunately the new digs are not quite ready yet. So on their first B1G road trip, the four freshman and Lexi Sun go from the magnificence of the Devaney Center to……………a high school gym. At least they got there in style.

Northwestern went 10-2 in the non-conference schedule, losing to Princeton and Arkansas in straight sets and beating no one with a pulse. They started out B1G play losing to Indiana and Purdue, but they pushed both to 4 sets on the road. Purdue will make some noise in the conference this season, and Indiana looks to be better than expected.

Again, the caveat. I’m getting my info from the play by play of J Baylor and Lauren Cook. It may look different to someone who was watching on BTN Plus.

Whether it was the first real road trip, looking past a perceived inferior opponent, the hardwood floor, or the confines of the high school gym; whatever the reason ALL aspects of the Huskers play were just off with a very few exceptions. The exceptions were Stivrins going 10 for 10 on kills with no errors (that’s batting a thousand folks!), Foecke serving the hell out of it on the last 10 points of set 2, and Sweet having a solid night with 12 kills on a .346 hitting average with 5 blocks. And while Nebraska came away with a straight set win, other than those few items, the team as a whole regressed.

The passing game took the biggest step back. The Huskers were seldom in rhythm with the majority of the attacks coming off bump sets. Which actually makes Stivrins stats look even more impressive. If the offense had been in system like they’ve been for the past 3 matches until tonight, the Middles would have had several more attacks. And if you’re hitting .500 and above, that can take a close match and turn it into a comfortable win.

In a curious occurrence, defense also retreated a step. The Huskers lead the country in opponents hitting percentage and not just by a little bit (.106 to Notre Dame’s .134). The radio announcers indicated that ‘for whatever reason,’ the gals in red were having ‘communication problems.’ This part is really puzzling, since in the last two matches, the defense, and particularly Maloney, has been NAILS. And unlike the passing game, which can come and go, defense usually is a pretty reliable characteristic of this team.

Some people would look at the service game and say “8 aces, 4 errors. We’ll take that any day.” Except when half the aces come from one individual and largely on one 10 point run in the 2nd set. The Wildcats were stressed some, but overall the service game wasn’t particularly nasty, like it can be. Stivrins didn’t go on a service run in this match, like she normally does. It was good to have Lexi Sun close out a tight third set from the service line.

The Four Headed offensive monster ended up as follows: Sweet 26 attacks & 12 kills, Sun 26 attacks & 8 kills, Foecke 25 attacks & 8 kills, and the Middles 14 attack & 11 kills. Even though the distribution was okay, it is hard to judge Hames setting on this match since the passing wasn’t particularly good.

The Huskers had 9 blocks to the Cats 7. Again, a kind of “meh” stat compared to how Nebraska has been blocking. Sweet had 5 blocks and surprisingly Schwarzenbach had 6. I say surprisingly, since Callie has a tendency to rack up stats somewhat surreptitiously. Especially when listening on radio.

Needless to say, Coach Cook was not pleased in his post match interview on the radio. Normally the Coach and Baylor banter a bit in these conversations but Coach Cook couldn’t hide his disappointment tonight.

This team is more talented than last year’s team. At times, they can play beautiful volleyball and just blow the doors off opponents. But they are maddenly too inconsistent. You hope Big Red figures it out before too many losses are accrued in conference play. Lauren Cook gave the team a C- grade for tonight’s performance. That sounds about right. If you trot out too many C- matches, there are a ton of teams in this conference that will make you pay.

In other B1G play, No. 6 ranked Minnesota served notice on the rest of the conference by pummeling (with rather large clubs) the No. 5 ranked Badgers in straight sets by an AVERAGE set score of 25-18 in Minneapolis. I mentioned Indiana might be better than advertised and they indeed beat Ohio State in 4 sets. Penn State righted the ship, momentarily at least, with a straight set victory over Michigan State.

Nationally, Baylor traveled to UT@SUCKS for a Big 12 “battle.” Unfortunately, the Bears didn’t put up much of a fight. After pushing the first set to deuce, Baylor easily succumbed to the Shorthorns in the next two sets and surrendered for a straight set defeat.

Next up is Illinois and their All-American setter Jordyn Poulter. The Illini are the only unbeaten team left in conference, are ranked 7 nationally, and are coming off a straight set win over Iowa (25-20, 25-16, 25-20). Let’s hope Big Red rises to the occasion and doesn’t put in another C- performance.


Special Counsel
5 Year Member
Next up is Illinois and their All-American setter Jordyn Poulter. The Illini are the only unbeaten team left in conference, are ranked 7 nationally, and are coming off a straight set win over Iowa (25-20, 25-16, 25-20). Let’s hope Big Red rises to the occasion and doesn’t put in another C- performance.
If you look at the 5 Big10 schools in the AVCA top 10, the Huskers play 7 matches against the other 4 (Wisconsin is the team we play only once - there), while each of the other 4 teams have only 6 matches against the other 4. I think that means we have the hardest conference schedule. It starts tonight!