#4 Nebraska 3 vs. Omaha 2 - 16-25, 25-14, 16-25, 25-13, 15-7
There were lots of Nebraskans on the court in this match. It was great to witness so much skill from this state. There were players from Omaha, Waverly, Lincoln and Superior. The celebration of Nebraska volleyball talent quickly turned into a very competitive match.
Omaha came to win. They have only been a division I program for 11 years and #4 Nebraska is the highest ranked opponent they have every played but that didn’t seem to matter to them as they played like they have been here before. They took set one with Rachel Fairbanks and Saide Limbach hitting aggressively and Claire Mountjoy, out of Elkhorn, playing great defense.
Nebraska passed poorly on serve receive and also missed four serves in the set. They ran a 6-2 offense with Nicklin Hames and Anni Evans setting. This offense meant there were always three hitters in the front row. Whitney Lauenstein and Lindsay Krause played on the right side front row. There were a lot of substitutions and Nebraska was not in rhythm. The set ended 16-25.
In the second set Nebraska played a 5-1 offense with only Hames setting. NU also missed zero serves and passed Omaha’s serves right up to the setter so the offense ran much faster and Hames had more options in set two. Essentially, they changed everything set two! I exaggerate, but the changes had a snowball effect with one piece of the game impacting another.
Set three was up and down play for the Huskers. The hitting errors racked up and it was part of the problem in this loss. Omaha continued to play like veteran players on a big stage. They are an impressive team.
Kayla Caffey started set four. She and Krause produced powerful blocks to start the set. Coach Cook continued to use Kenzie Knuckles and Keonilei Akana, as he did in set three, in the backrow to improve the passing. He also took Hames out for some stretches while she was in the front row to get a bigger block. In these rallies Akana set and was largely successful. This is a great use of all the NU talent.
Set five is always fast and furious but this one seemed to really roll. The NU block was big and strong. That played a major factor in this set. After some big blocks by Krause and Caffey, Omaha made more hitting errors than they had all match. Callie Schwarzenbach had a great slide attack early in the set and Caffey had one late in the match. Great to see both of these middles excelling. The Huskers prevailed with a 15-7 score.
Nebraska plays again tonight at 6 pm against Georgia (3-1). University of Georgia beat Arizona State earlier today in five sets. Omaha and Arizona State are scheduled to play at 3:30 pm. If this match goes long, the NU match may start later. Watch Nebraska vs Georgia on BTN.