Devaney is all we hoped it would be.
The Husker volleyball program opened their new home with two wins over the weekend, beating Villanova 3-1 (25-14, 25-13, 20-25, 25-20) and Georgia 3-0 (25-21, 25-23, 25-14).
On Friday night, the Huskers outhit (.242-.145), outdug (67-54) and out-blocked (9.0-8.0) the Wildcats on the way to the win. The Huskers were helped by only six service errors to three aces.
Kadie Rolfzen showed that she’s right up to speed after her shoulder injury, recording 14 kills and a hitting percentage of .345. Kelsey Robinson added 13 kills, but only hit .098 on 41 attempts.
In the third set, the only set the Huskers lost, Villanova outhit the Big Red .244-.106.
Before the football game on Saturday, Nebraska played host to Georgia. The Huskers earned an unexpected sweep over the Dawgs on the strength of Kadie Rolfzen’s 14 kills on 31 attempts. She only committed four errors and recorded a hitting percentage of .323 for the match.
Freshman libero Justine Wong-Orantes showed again why she’s played so much this year recording 13 digs and throwing in a kill for good measure. A libero is an exclusively defensive player, so for her to record a kill is fairly remarkable. However, it is her second kill of the season.
Serving was dramatically improved for the Huskers, they recorded more aces than errors (five to three). Serving was a major reason for the loss to Auburn, and for the season, Nebraska has committed 37 errors to 25 aces so far this season.
A major concern in this match was blocking. While the Huskers matched Georgia with eight blocks, quite a few of Georgia’s kills were the result of blockers being out of place and leaving the defense too much court to cover, or the blocker getting tooled (the blocker touches the ball, but it goes out of bounds).
The team looks much better, but the fact that they are relatively new as a unit shows in connections between the setter and the hitters, and the reliance on Wang-Orantes on defense.
Now that the trophies are in place, Devaney is an impressive sight. Truly, it is hard to believe that it is a volleyball arena. The fans were loud, the Terry Pettit Court looks great, and the environment from the Coliseum was preserved, while allowing twice the number of fans in. No only does it give the Huskers a distinct home court advantage, but it should be a fantastic recruiting tool. No one else in the country has a home court that compares.
Conference season will be incredible. With teams like Michigan, Michigan State, Penn State, and Minnesota coming to town, Lincoln will play host to some of the best matches in the country again, but with one of the world’s premier volleyball arenas.