Ohio wasn't expected to provide much of a challenge and didn't. While it wasn't a complete blowout, it was a very comfortable straight set win for the Huskers. Foecke again led the charge, but Stivrins had an outstanding game, especially at the service line. What was surprising, to me anyway, was the lack of bench play in the match. Coach Cook pretty much kept with the starting rotation with very few exceptions. It will be interesting to see if this continues throughout the round-robin. Again, I listened to the match via John Baylor and Lauren Cook, so someone who watched on BTN plus may have a different perspective.
For the third match in a row, the Huskers started out very slowly and Ohio was up early 7-6. But set one flipped when Stivrins stepped to the service line and ran off several points, including dealing a few aces along the way, to put the Huskers up comfortably by 6. Ohio did close within a couple of points later in the set, but Foecke's attacks and serving expanded the lead, and Nebraska won set one by 8.
Nebraska dominated set 2 from the onset with the help of several blocks. It wasn't Ohio making a lot of mistakes, Nebraska was just playing well; digging and extending rallies, attacking from the outsides, and as mentioned earlier, getting some key blocks. Really the only issue were the low sets by Hames for the middles. That continues to be an unresolved problem in an otherwise solid performance by the freshman setter. The Huskers cruised to an 11 point set win.
Much like set one, Nebraska started slow in set three, and much like set one, set three turned on a solid service game by an individual, this time Megan Miller. With Miller serving, the Huskers flipped a 3 point deficit to a 7 point lead and didn't look back (I believe she had two aces in that run). Nebraska closed out the match, winning the 3rd set by 8.
Stivrins is becoming a beast. It won't be long before she will be able to take over a game / match much like Foecke can. The improvement in her service game alone is impressive. She struggled out of the gate against Florida, but against Oregon and Ohio she was nails. This off-season experiment seems to have paid off.
The experiment with making Jazz Sweet a six-rotational player is still a work in progress. I have to wonder if working on other aspects of her game also hasn't held her back offensively. She seems tentative. Even more so than last year.
Densberger continues to be inconsistent. She had a poor match today, at least listening to the play by play (dug by Densberger, bad pass...dug by Densburger,overpass....serve by Densberger, into the net.....dug by Densberger, bad pass....etc). For Nebraska to even approach the defense they had last year (Townsend, Albrecht, Maloney, Hunter), they need Densberger to come through. Fortunately she has Team USA Libero Kayla Barnsworth to learn from.
In the Slaughter - Davis competition, Capri didn't play. Not sure why. It wasn't even mentioned in the post match wrap up. As mentioned earlier, the bench barely saw any action. I think Szabo and Kurkova had a total of two rallies in the entire match.
Wake is next,and they pretty much suck. Nebraska probably won't have to play that well----they can just watch the Demon Deacons melt down and self-destruct with all their mistakes. I don't know why the ACC is such a bad volleyball conference. The Missouri Valley is probably more competitive.
Edit on the ACC conference: Actually they put 6 teams in the tournament last year which was the 3rd most of any conference. So my statement on the ACC as a volleyball conference was misinformed and misguided.