The #1-ranked Nebraska Volleyball team held the annual Red-White Scrimmage in front of nearly 6,300 fans on Saturday night at the Bob Devaney Sports Center in Lincoln as the Huskers begin the campaign to defend the National Championship.
One of the night’s highlights was the unveiling of the 2015 National Champions banner hanging from the rafters, joining the 1995, 2000, and 2006 banners.
On the court, Cecilia Hall joined the Red Team. Hall graduated last year, but joined a team composed mostly of younger Huskers to challenge the White Team, made up of the presumptive starters for 2016.
While the Huskers have two major positions to fill for the season, the biggest question was at outside hitter. Who will replace Kelsey Fien opposite the now sophomore Mikaela Foecke? With LSU transfer Briana Holman having sat out the 2015 season per NCAA Transfer rules, she will be eligible and likely will replace the combination of Hall and Meghan Haggerty at Middle Blocker.
Andie Malloy, graduate transfer from Baylor and former All-Big XII outside hitter started with the White team. Malloy recorded 12 kills on the night, following only Kadie Rolfzen’s 13, and had zero errors. She hit .667 for the night and seemed to stake her claim to the other starting outside position.
Holman seemed to live up to the hype on Saturday night, being a part of nine blocks for the White team (one solo, eight assisted) and added six kills of her own.
Junior Annika Albrecht is one of the other names being floated for the outside hitter position, much like last year, and played for both the Red and White teams (some players switched sides after two of the four sets), but had seven errors and seven kills on a match-high 27 attempts.
The White team won all four sets played on the night (25-16, 25-15, 25-23, 15-11), but the third and fourth sets were played with different line-ups, including switching Albrecht and Malloy.
The White team had both Rolfzens, Justine Wong-Orantes, Foecke, Malloy, Holman, and Kelly Hunter to start. That is likely to be the starting line up next weekend in Eugene when the Huskers take on #2 Texas and #10 Florida in the season-opening VERT Challenge.
Overall, the Huskers and Coach John Cook had a lot to be happy about, and fans should feel good about the team taking the court for the upcoming season. The Huskers have a glut of experienced players returning, including Defensive Specialist Sydney Townsend who had 14 digs for the night, leading all Huskers, and even the new pieces in the line up have extensive experience with both Holman and Malloy being transfers.
There have, however, been a couple of times lately where the line up after the scrimmage, and even the first couple weeks of the season, are not the line up in primary use come conference play. There may be a lot of change between now and September 23rd when the Huskers travel to Ann Arbor to take on Michigan.
Look for CornNation’s season preview later this week.