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Volleyball: #10 Nebraska vs Rutgers

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Nebraska wins by serving tough and moving the offensive around

Jordyn Senstock

#10 Nebraska (11-3, 5-0 B1G) vs Rutgers University (8-8, 0-5 B1G)
When: Sunday, October 19, 2021, 12:00 (CT)
Where: Piscataway, NJ
Video: Big Ten Network+
Radio: Husker Sports Network - Lincoln (B107.3 FM); Omaha (AM 590); Huskers.com; Huskers App

University of Nebraska (11-3)

#1 Nicklin Hames 5’10’’ SR Setter - 2.84 digs per set
#2 Kenzie Knuckles 5’8’’ JR DS - 1.86 digs per set, .962 reception %
#3 Kayla Caffey 6’0’’ SR MB - 2.35 kills per set, 1.11 blocks per set
#4 Anni Evans 5’9’’ SO Setter/Serving Specialist - .7 digs per set
#6 Keonilei Akana 5’9’’ SO DS - 2.27 digs per set, .940 reception %
#7 Rylee Gray 6’4’’ FR MB
#8 Lexi Rodriguez 5’5’’ FR Libero - 3.86 digs per set, .972 reception %
#9 Kennedi Orr 6’0’’ FR Setter
#10 Madi Kubik 6’3’’ JR OH - 2.80 kills per set, .44 blocks per set, .936 reception %
#11 Lexi Sun 6’2’’ SR OH- 3.11 kills per set, .52 blocks per set, .947 reception %
#13 Whitney Lauenstein 6’2’’ FR OH - 1.05 kills per set, .32 blocks per set
#14 Ally Batenhorst 6’4’’ FR OH - 1.73 kills per set, .34 blocks per set, .938 reception %
#20 Kalynn Meyer 6’3’’ SO MB
#22 Lindsay Krause 6’4’’ FR OH - 2.34 kills per set, .81 blocks per set, .864 reception %
#25 Callie Schwarzenbach 6’5’’ SR MB - 1.88 kills per set, 1.33 blocks per set
#26 Lauren Stivrins 6’4’’ SR MB - 3.0 kills per set, .60 blocks per set

Rutgers University (8-8)

#1 Beka Kojadinovic 6’1’’ 5th yr RS - 3.00 kills per set
#2 Madyson Chitty 5’5’’ SO Libero - 3.75 digs per set
#3 Samantha Graver 5’10’’ GR OH
#5 Shea McNamara 6’2’’ R/SR MB - 1.93 kills per set, 1.29 blocks per set
#7 Anastasila Maksimova 6’1’’ SR MB - 2.06 kills per set
#10 Inna Balyko 6’0’’ SR Setter
#13 Kamila Cieslik 5’11’’ 5th yr RS - 2.18 kills per set
#16 Tina Brovic 6’2’’ SO MB - 1.58 kills per set

After a day of travel and rest, the Huskers aim to keep a high level of play against a Rutgers opponent that is yet to win a match in the B1G. The danger here is that, without the big match up feel, the focus and emphasis on quality play can wane. Perhaps that is what happened two weeks ago when Wisconsin lost to Maryland, for instance. Maryland is a quality team, but Wisconsin should have won that match.

Coach Cook often says that there is never an off night in the Big Ten, but preparing for Rutgers is different than Penn State. It just is. There is more room for error against Rutgers, but make enough errors and they can beat you; the base of talent is there. So the risk is playing without urgency, opening the door of hope for the other team and then not being able to close it. The chances are low, but I am saying there is a chance.

Rutgers Senior setter, Inna Balyko was a first team all Big Ten honoree last year. She is a quiet leader on the court and can be an offensive threat. She and Beka Kojadinovic are the two best servers on the team. They have 39 aces between them. This Rutgers team doesn’t pass serve very well, however, so Balyko isn’t able to set a complex offense.

Nebraska will serve them tough just as they did Penn State. This will lead to a predictable set to the outside pins where the Nebraska blockers can set up a composed and solid wall. The result of a solid wall is either a block or a hit around the block where the defenders are positioned and can dig the ball. This is the game plan.

Rutgers Shea McNamara is a good blocker averaging 1.29 blocks per set. Nicklin Hames and the middles will move around to avoid her hands. This is part of a larger effort to continue to develop the Husker middle attack.

Notice how many locations on the net each of the Huskers hit. Remember the Lauren Stivrins slide in set three that was halfway between Hames and the pin. That set fooled the blockers and left her alone on the net to hit straight down.

Kayla Caffey runs a variety of locations mostly in front of Hames and she also hits at different height levels. Not all middles can vary their shots based on height. She is a special offensive weapon. The set behind Hames for Caffey is usually in the same location. Perhaps we will see more variety in that set as the season goes forward.

The outside hitters have shown their movement on the net both against Penn State and against U of Michigan. Madi Kubik comes in about two feet from the outside antennae and hits hard to her right. This area of the court is open because the opposing middle blocker has gone to the normal blocking the outside position (she will try to adjust but still be outside). Kubik hits inside the block on an open net.

Serving tough and offensive movement is the game plan for today. Hang out here for updates on the score and comments on the play.