Nebraska 1, Texas 3 - 22-25, 25-19, 15-25, 21-25
Set 1- Nebraska started slow with tentative play. There were plays on defense when to Huskers looked at each other and the ball fell. The attackers seemed to go through a process of figuring out the Longhorns block and trying shots. The Huskers hit .229 for the set. These factors led to a first set loss.
Set 2 - Nicklin Hames started set 2 with two aces before Texas handled the pass and set Butler in the middle for a kill. Stivrins looked sharp on the slide and had produced four kills at this point in the match.
The momentum changed hands in the middle of this set. Nebraska began to go on point runs and hit balls off the hands of the Texas blockers. Madi Kubik does what she does better than most players in the game, tool the block! At this point in the match she led NU with 8 kills.
Another big difference in this set was the serving. Nebraska had 5 aces and 2 errors. Texas had 9 errors and 1 ace.
Set 3 - The serving changed hands in set three. Eggleston served four aces with a jump float. Even when the Huskers did pass, it wasn’t to the net so the offense was one dimension and easier to block. Nebraska hit -.063 for the set. When Hames was able to set the middles, they found kills. We weren’t able to do it enough and this set went to Texas.
Set 4 - Nebraska set the middles to begin this set and it was very productive. The score went back and forth until Nebraska when on a seven point run with Knuckles serving. Texas called timeout at 10-8 Nebraska but it didn’t stop the run! Texas took another timeout at 13-8. After the timeout Eggleston terminated from the outside.
Texas went on a run with O’Brien serving to tie the set 14-14. Some errors by Huskers (net violations and hitting in the net) late in the set took the score to 17-21. This deficit late in the set was too much to overcome. Texas takes set four and the match.
Madi Kubik had 14 kills. Lauren Stivrins didn’t receive many sets. The game plan seemed to include limiting her attacks. Coach said after the match that “she wasn’t close to 100% but willed herself to play”.
Jazz Sweet had moments of greatness but also was blocked multiple times. When the set to Sweet was too high, she was less effective. In the end, her hitting percentage was negative and that didn’t help the Husker score.
As a team Texas hit .336 and Nebraska hit .116. The is too big of a difference to have a chance of winning. Coach Cook felt like Nebraska lost the serve and pass game today and that was the reason they lost.
Coach also thought that not playing for three weeks leading up to the NCAA tournament hurt his team. He knows that tough opponents like Wisconsin and Penn State (the matches they missed) are the spaces where you learn and get better. He sounded frustrated to know there was growth to be had and it was missed.
At the end of the Husker season our minds immediately go to wondering which, if any, of the four seniors may return for an additional season with the NCAA allowance to play another season.
Lauren Stivrins, Lexi Sun, Jazz Sweet and Hayley Densberger will have decision to make with their coaching staff. Coach Cook said they would have meetings this week. Cornnation.com will spread the news as soon as we know it.
Texas plays on Thursday against the winner of #1 Wisconsin and #8 Florida.