Nebraska earned a third chance at Wisconsin. I bet they are going to make it a good one.
Nebraska played great defense against a team known for defense and ball control, Hawaii. Wisconsin isn’t as well known for their defense but they are just as talented and more tenacious about pursuing ball. They play balls up that make you say “wow!”
Make no doubt, today is a match won by defense. There will be plenty of offense. In the middle, Lauren Stivrins for Nebraska and Dana Rettke for Wisconsin will make balls bounce off the floor. On the outside, Lexi Sun for Nebraska and Molly Haggerty for Wisconsin will hit off blockers hands to no end. On the right side, Jazz Sweet for Nebraska and Madison Duello for Wisconsin will find every inch of open floor for kills.
The hitters will hit and these are big time hitters. Rettke has the highest career hitting percentage in the country, .423. Lauren Stivrins has .380 hitting percentage this year for fifth in the Big Ten. Sun is averaging 3.57 kills per set. You’ll see 11 all conference selections on the court today. Out of 12 players on the court! oh my!!
All this offense is exciting but the teams aren’t focusing on it. They are focusing on serving and serve receive passing. They are. They know that the serve is the first offensive play of the rally. The serve determines how the opposing team can run those GREAT offenses. If you can’t slow down their offense (either team), with tough serving, then you can’t stop the hitters.
Coach Cook sees vast improvement in Nebraska’s serving since the last time they met Wisconsin, November 24th. He talked about serving under pressure in the tournament and executing the tough serves. In the tournament Nebraska is much better statistically: against Missouri 7 aces to 3 errors and against Hawaii 4 aces to 5 errors.
It is good that Nebraska executed tough serving in the second and third round of the tournament but we all know Wisconsin is a next level team. The tournament stats mean something. They mean Nebraska is improving on Nebraska’s side of the net, the one they control, but is it enough against Wisconsin?
Baylor vs. Washington Saturday Dec. 14 4 p.m. ESPNU
Wisconsin vs. Nebraska Saturday Dec. 14 6 p.m. ESPNU. Husker Sports Network will broadcast the action on HSN affiliates, Huskers.com and the Huskers app.
Minnesota vs. Louisville Saturday Dec. 14 8 p.m. ESPNU
Stanford vs. Penn State Saturday Dec. 14 10 p.m. ESPNU