Just like the air coming out of an inflated volleyball, the excitement seeped out of fans as matches were cancelled across the Big Ten last week. More teams were sitting idle than were playing, as four of seven B1G volleyball matches were postponed.
Both Wisconsin and Michigan State’s program are shut down for at least two weeks due to positive tests. For the purposes of the Huskers, this leaves a very small window, just four weeks, once Wisconsin starts back up, to reschedule the postponed match with Nebraska.
Every weekend between now and the start of the NCAA tournament (April 8th) is scheduled so that could leave the match for a midweek date, perhaps. So while we wait for the much anticipated contest with the Badgers to get put back on the calendar, we move forward, and we look forward but we ALL hope the match between these two great teams happens.
Nebraska’s next opponent is a 2-6 Illinois team. Illinois’ schedule has been much like Nebraska’s in that they have played off and on because of postponed matches. They, too, were off last weekend with Michigan State originally scheduled. Coach Cook and Nicklin Hames said they do worry about the break in play and what it could mean for the momentum they had after the Minnesota win.
The “let down” from competition could certainly impact players. Coach described the problem as much more mental than physical. “You’re grinding, you’re in the zone” and then there is a break. That is tough mentally.
Interestingly, Coach also said that an effort was made to play available opponents once Wisconsin was postponed. In talking about quick changes to the schedule, he doesn’t worry about the physical preparation of the team. He said the coaches always try to have the athletes peaking. The biggest challenge, according to Coach Cook, is to figure out the logistics (flight, hotel, etc.) in a short time. He thought if Nebraska could drive to more of the B1G schools that it would be easier.
Nicklin said the team found out Thursday morning that they wouldn’t fly to Wisconsin that afternoon. “Coach sent a team text”. She said they knew it was bad news because he used “Huskers Code Red”. This has been his way of letting the team know disappointing news is coming during the pandemic.
Hames felt like the team has been “preparing to be prepared” for things like this all year. That phrase wouldn’t make much sense to me a year ago but it makes just the right amount of sense to me, and many others, today.
A Match to know about
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