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Nebraska Volleyball’s Home Opener Against a Physical Maryland Team

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We will try the first home match in Devaney again tonight

Jon Johnston

We will try this home opener again! Tonight!!

Last weekend after, the postponed matches against Northwestern, the Nebraska volleyball team created as match like a situation as possible on Saturday with a high intensity scrimmage. Coach Cook still believes “we definitely need to be playing matches”. He also knows that is what the players want. He describes this year’s team as a group that “loves to train, they want to get better”.

So let’s play!

A 0-4 Maryland came to town this weekend but don’t let that record fool you. Maryland is feisty, and they fight in these matches. They lost to #6 Minnesota the first weekend and Ohio State (who received 17 votes to be in the top 25) last weekend. Both matches with Ohio State went to five sets.

Coach Cook described this Maryland team as “a big, physical team”. Part of their physical play is blocking. They are third in the Big Ten with 2.75 blocks per set. They also use the backrow attack as an effective part of their offense.

This not only adds an attacker to their offensive options, but blocking this attacker requires different timing for the opposing blockers - you have to wait longer to jump, since their attack point is further off the net. This can disrupt the overall timing of the blocking scheme. I suspect the Huskers spent some additional practice time on blocking backrow attacks this week.

Maryland is led by 6’3’’ senior outside hitter, Erika Pritchard. She is impressive no matter how you slice it (and she can slice the ball)! She will get her kills tonight. Their second outside hitter is 6’0’’ freshman Rebakah Rath. Between them, these two players receive 80% of the sets for Maryland.

The middle and right side hitters are excellent blockers but haven’t received many sets through he first two matches. If fact, they get so few sets that it is surprising when they do get set and that surprise benefits their kill percentage. Keep an eye on how these sets are distributed.

Their setter, Nicole Alford, is a 6’1’’ senior. She is a good blocker and backrow defender. She does a good deal of running as Maryland has passing has troubles. Their serve receive is shaky at times. Nebraska is a good serving team and sure to give Maryland trouble in the serve and pass game.

This should be a good match with some longer rallies as both teams can dig the ball well and they don’t give up on defense. There will also be some shorter rallies as both teams can block the ball well (those tend to go straight down). So how about that? There will be some long and short rallies! Either way, I can’t wait.

Come back here at match time to hang out with us and chat on the game thread cornnation.com.

Friday’s match begins at 6 p.m. and will be televised locally on NET and streamed on the BTNPlus.com platform. Saturday’s match will start at 7:30 p.m. and will be televised nationally on Big Ten Network and streamed on FoxSports.com and the FoxSports app. Husker Sports Network will broadcast all the Husker action on HSN radio affiliates, including 107.3 FM in Lincoln and AM 590 in Omaha. A live audio stream will be provided at Huskers.com and the Huskers app. Per Big Ten policy, tickets to the matches this weekend will not be sold to the public.