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Volleyball Game Thread: Nebraska Looks to Start a New Winning Streak Against Minnesota

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#6 Huskers against a very good #11 Golden Gophers

Molly Houser

#6 Nebraska (16-4, B1G 10-1) vs #11 Minnesota (13-6, B1G 8-3)
When: Saturday, October 30, 2021, 7:00 pm (CT)
Where: Maturi Pavilion Minneapolis, MN
Video: BTN
Radio: Husker Sports Network - Lincoln (B107.3 FM); Omaha (AM 590); Huskers.com; Huskers App

If the other attackers are not earning kills, then the Gopher’s setter Melani Shaffmaster will start to set Samedy too much, which overloads her and in the end makes her less effective.

Ironic to think that the more you force Minnesota set Samedy, the better your team can do against them, but it is true. Shut down the other hitters, force sets to go to Samedy and know that only on the rarest of occasions can one player beat a single team. Samedy can do it, but not against Nebraska tonight.

You can block and dig the outside hitters for Minnesota, Jenna Wenaas and Airi Miyabe (6’5’’ Minnesota outside hitter Taylor Landfair was the B1G freshman of the year last year but is working through an injury this year). They are averaging 3.11 and 2.89 kills per set respectively.

Wenaas likes to hit off and between blocks while Miyabe can hit over and deep court shots for her kills. Nebraska’s block and floor defense can defend the Gopher’s outside hitters

The middle hitters are not terribly offensive and no matter which of the three options play (Shea Rubright, Katie Myers or Ellie Husemann), they average no more than 1 kill per set. That amount of offense won’t beat you.

To win, you minimize Samedy offensively by always double blocking her and play better defense than a very strong defensive Minnesota team. Libero CC McGraw averages 4.52 digs per set and covers a lot of ground for the Gophers. She is an elite defender.

As a team Minnesota digs 16.61 balls per set while Nebraska averages 16.24 pet set according to the latest stats on bigten.org. Teams want to stay away from McGraw in the left back but attack Shaffmaster in the right back position. She doesn’t stay in good position on defense and often gets caught leaving to set rather than digging first. She also isn’t very quick so outside hitters can tip over the block to earn a kill.

Minimize Samedy and play defense makes it sound too simple which of course it is. Minnesota is a tough team to beat. Nebraska can sure do it but it will take lots of focus and confidence in the play on their side of the net. GBR!

University of Nebraska (16-4, B1G 10-1)

#1 Nicklin Hames 5’10’’ SR Setter - 3.14 digs per set
#2 Kenzie Knuckles 5’8’’ JR DS - 1.99 digs per set, .962 reception %
#3 Kayla Caffey 6’0’’ SR MB - 2.44 kills per set, 1.12 blocks per set
#4 Anni Evans 5’9’’ SO Setter/Serving Specialist - .72 digs per set
#6 Keonilei Akana 5’9’’ SO DS - 2.16 digs per set, .945 reception %
#7 Rylee Gray 6’4’’ FR MB
#8 Lexi Rodriguez 5’5’’ FR Libero - 4.17 digs per set, .970 reception %
#9 Kennedi Orr 6’0’’ FR Setter
#10 Madi Kubik 6’3’’ JR OH - 3.36 kills per set, .46 blocks per set, .954 reception %
#11 Lexi Sun 6’2’’ SR OH- 2.14 kills per set, .49 blocks per set, .950 reception %
#13 Whitney Lauenstein 6’2’’ FR OH - .98 kills per set, .27 blocks per set
#14 Ally Batenhorst 6’4’’ FR OH - 1.79 kills per set, .29 blocks per set, .938 reception %
#20 Kalynn Meyer 6’3’’ SO MB -1.14 blocks per set
#22 Lindsay Krause 6’4’’ FR OH - 2.54 kills per set, .78 blocks per set, .833 reception %
#25 Callie Schwarzenbach 6’5’’ SR MB - 1.16 kills per set, 1.29 blocks per set
#26 Lauren Stivrins 6’4’’ SR MB - 2.62 kills per set, .76 blocks per set

Minnesota (13-6, B1G 8-3)

#2 Jenna Wenaas 6’0’’ SO OH
#5 Melani Shaffmaster 6’3’’ SO Setter
#6 Rachel Kilkelly 5’9’’ JR DS
#7 CC McGraw 5’9 SR Libero
#8 Airi Miyabe 6’0’’ R/SR OH
#9 Shea Rubright 6’5’’ JR MB
#10 Stephanie Samedy 6’2’’ R/SR OPP
#12 Taylor Landfair 6’5’’ SO OH
#16 Ellie Husemann 6’3’’ JR MB
#23 Katie Myers 6’2’’ R/SR MB

Nebraska heads to Illinois on Thursday, November 4th, with first serve scheduled for 8 pm at Huff Hall in Champaign, Ill. The match will be televised on BTN and streamed via its digital extension on the FOX Sports app. John Baylor and Lauren Cook West will also have the radio call on Huskers Radio Network.