Nebraska 3 vs Iowa 0 - 25-21, 25-22, 26-24
Let’s start with the easy stuff. If you had any question about Kayla Caffey’s health or her ability to block, she demonstrated tonight that she is fully back and that her block is impressive. She ended with 5 blocks, 7 kills and hit .500 for the match. She was very efficient in the win over Iowa and was really the centerpiece of the team. Not to be outdone, Lauren Stivrins had 11 kills on 15 attempts to hit .667.
Everything else beyond the middles was hard won tonight at Iowa. Nebraska hit .266 as a team, and held Iowa to .215. Both of these numbers are short of potential performance for Nebraska. Similar to the last match against Iowa in September, Nebraska had too many hitting errors, with 13. Those errors drove down the hitting percentage and made this match closer than it needed to be.
Madi Kubik had 13 kills and hit an okay .250. She had 36 attempts which is 16 more than the next closest Husker attacker, Ally Batenhorst. When one player has that many more attempts the offense is predictable and therefore blockable. Kubik was still pretty effective and got her kills, but the other outside position was not productive enough to take any pressure off her.
Batenhorst started the first two sets and earned 5 kills and 5 errors. Lexi Sun started set three. She, in turn, received six sets and didn’t produce a kill. This position must present an offensive option in order to make the whole team better and take them to the next level. Tonight, it did not do that.
In conclusion: Great play from the middles, a really good effort from Kubik, and a “needs improvement” from the opposites.
Nebraska plays again this Saturday, October 23, welcoming No. 7 Purdue to the Devaney Center at 8 pm. The match will be televised on Big Ten Network and John Baylor and Lauren Cook West will also have the radio call on Huskers Radio Network.