Nebraska 3 vs Michigan0 - 25-14, 26-24, 25-19
Michigan has five great attackers but the Nebraska block and floor defense frustrated and slowed those attackers. Jess Mruzik normally leads the Wolverines but tonight she was held to 10 kills on 40 attempts with nine errors.
Nebraska’s job was to slow those attackers down and they indeed did that. The other outside for Michigan tonight was Kendall Murray. She had 13 kills on 32 attempts for a .250 average.
The passing for Michigan didn’t allow many sets to the middle. The middle hitters combined only had 27 attempts. For Nebraska in the middle, Maggie Mendelson and Kaitlyn Hord had something to do with that in their block. Mendelson had four blocks and Hord seven. Bekka Allick did not dress tonight due to an illness according to Coach Cook.
Without Allick, Mendelson started in the middle which moved Lindsay Krause to the right side in place of Mendelson. Without Krause on the left side Ally Batenhorst started outside. Each of these moves may have been invisible to the casual fan as the mentioned players assumed their new task with a high efficiency level. The depth of this Nebraska team was on display tonight.
Nebraska’s serving had something to do with the low set count to the Michigan middles as well. Nebraska made the ball move on serve and Wolverine passers struggled. Nebraska served six aces and had nine errors. Mendelson accounted for two of those aces in her first time serving in a match this season.
Madi Kubik carried a load somewhat quietly tonight. She had 15 kills on 27 attempts and only one error to hit .519 for the match. She just works on the outside and consistently performs for this Husker team.
When digs come up and serve receive passing is good, like tonight, Kubik gets even better because all hitters are options. Many times Kubik is the outlet hitter when there is no one else to set. Tonight, she received the set by choice and that made her even more effective.
Credit over half of Nebraska’s digs to Lexi Rodriguez. Of the 47 Nebraska digs, Rodriquez had 25. Some came right to her, some she ran far for and some were rockets that she stood and took but all came up and more went right into an offensive system. Just watch her and her alone sometimes during a rally. She reads, sees and knows volleyball SOOOOO well.
After this win and the Purdue loss to Wisconsin tonight, Nebraska stands alone at the top of the B1G standings.
Nebraska plays Penn State at home on Friday October 14th. You can watch on BTN. Yes!