Appropriately, a Wake attack error gives NU a 25 -9 3rd set victory, which is their 9th consecutive set win. Congratulations to NU as they win the match 3-0 (25-14, 25-11, and 25-9), their 3rd straight sweep.
Well.........that was special. Pretty sure this qualifies as blow out. Or, as the student section was pointing out whenever Sami made a kill, "you've been Slaughtered.....you've been Slaughtered...."
Again I start with the caveat that I listened to the game on the radio. Viewing it on BTN plus may provide a different perspective.
Two players that had subpar performances against Ohio, atoned for themselves in the night game. Sweet was crushing it from the very beginnning and maintained at a high level offensively throughout. It helped that there was a concentrated effort in this match to distribute the ball more evenly among the attackers, as Foecke ended up taking nearly one-third of the swings in the first three matches. Densberger had an off match in the afternoon session, and really I didn't think she had much of an impact in the Wake match, but both Coach Cook and John Baylor commented in the post match interview that they were impressed with Hayley's performance.
The middles again played strong. Both Stivrins and Schwarzenbach hit above .500 and both had multiple blocks. I don't recall if the Huskers had any significant runs with Stivrins at the service line, but she didn't have any service errors.
The competition between Slaughter and Davis continues, but probably took a step in the WRONG direction against Wake. Both the back up outside hitters had off nights with Slaughter seemingly incapable of defeating single blocks, even when the block was set by the 5'10" setter. Slaughter DID remain aggressive throughout the match and was more successful towards the end of it. Davis came in briefly in the first set, was somewhat tentative, and didn't see the floor again. The announcers mentioned that Slaughter practiced this week much better than Davis, which is why, apparently, Davis didn't even play against Ohio and made only the brief appearance against Wake. Both players probably need another year. Here's hoping Lexi Sun, Gatorade Volleyball POY is ALL that, and can fill that slot when healthy.
And speaking of Ms. Sun, she dressed tonight and participated in pre-game warm ups for the first time. The official line is that she won't be ready until Big Ten play, but the fact that she was on the bench in game gear had the announcers speculating if the return could happen sooner (see Creighton).
As for the other bench players, Chen Abramovich made her debut in the third set, but didn't stay long, and Szabo & Kurkova made essentially cameo appearances in the third.
The team seemingly continues to make progress in chunks. What I heard on the radio was good digging, better passing, more in system offensive sets, and, aside from the back up outside hitter spot, more efficient attacking. It just sounded like cleaner volleyball. Even service aces and errors were level (8 apiece) for the Huskers in the match.
Which brings us to a comparison with last year's team and an interview John Baylor did with Ty Hildebrand (last year's assistant) during the 3rd Set. It was interesting to hear him (Ty) talk about the fact that last year's team was in a similar position as this year's in that the back up outside hitter position was a huge issue coming out of the VERT challenge and the Ameritas Players Challenge. He had been working with Anika Albrecht to improve her attacking. Then against UCLA last year, she figured it out and came out in a BIG way offensively against the Bruins. That, to me, was the final piece to the team puzzle and it was an enormous one. Nebraska went from 'good' to UNSTOPPABLE in the span of a week and a half (I'm still not sure how they lost to Northern Iowa, right before they cruise through Penn State, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan State). It really is amazing to think that a defensive specialist walk-on could develop into a 2nd team All American 6 rotational player that was a key catalyst to the B1G and National Championships, and who now has a pro contract. Sounds like what Nebraska used to do with the football walk-on program..
I'm hoping Lexi Sun can be the solution, the piece of this year's team puzzle, that Anika was last year.