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Volleyball Preview: Nebraska vs. Iowa

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Nebraska won in three fast sets just six days ago but this match isn’t really about the win

NCAA VOLLEYBALL: DEC 02 Div I Women’s Championship Second Round - Washington State v Nebraska Photo by John Peterson/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Nebraska won decisively when they met Iowa on November 9th. Tonight isn’t just about winning; it is about improving specific areas of Nebraska’s game. The focus begins to narrow as the post season looms.

Looks to see the serve receive patterns tonight. I expect to see four players pass the ball and only those four: Lexi Sun, Kenzie Knuckles, Megan Miller and Madi Kubik.

I want to see what they do in rotation one after Nicklin Hames serves and we are in serve receive. This is a rotation NU gets stuck in often, and other teams can go on scoring runs.

Sometimes Jazz Sweet stays on the left side to hit while Sun stays on the right side. Neither is as strong of a hitter in this set up but they have been working at it all season and are certainly better than earlier in the year. Let’s see if this improves.

Other times, Sun is pushed to the left, and, in order to be in the correct rotation, Sweet has to line up on the far left and then run across the court to hit. Sweet tries to get to the right but it isn’t always a quality swing. I will watch tonight to see how this rotation is developing for the Huskers.

I also want to see how the sets are distributed. Against Iowa Hames will be able to set anyone she wants, whenever she wants. Iowa won’t challenge the serve receive as much as another, better team, so passes should be right on top of the setters forehead. She can run the offense however she and coach choose. I want to know what they choose.

Last match against Iowa, Sun had the most attempts at 27, Sweet with 20, Kubik 18, Schwarzenback 11 and Stivrins 10. Let’s compare that after tonight’s match to understand the balance attack that Coach Cook is aiming for. If they are similar we can know this is what he coaches Hames to do and what is proving a winning strategy.

It should be business tonight or to use their team theme, they should climb another hundred feet tonight in their journey to the top of Mount Everest. Each match through the season they climb, but as the elevation increases so does the need for focus and precision.

Saturday’s match is Military Appreciation Night. The match will be televised on NET and streamed on BTNPlus.com and the BTN+ app. Saturday’s match can be heard on Husker Sports Network radio affiliates, including 107.3 FM in Lincoln and AM 590 in Omaha. A live audio stream will be provided at Huskers.com and also on the official Huskers app. John Baylor is in his 26th season doing play-by-play for the Husker volleyball program. Lauren (Cook) West, a former All-America setter for the Huskers, will provide color commentary.