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Nebraska Volleyball Faces the Next Challenge, Purdue Comes to Town

Hailey Haar

#6 Nebraska (23-3, B1G 15-2) vs #19 Purdue (19-8, B1G 10-7)
When: Sunday, November 20 2022, Noon
Where: Devaney Center
Video: BTN
Radio: Husker Radio Network

#6 Nebraska (23-3, B1G 15-2)

#1 Nicklin Hames 5’10’’ SR Setter
#2 Kenzie Knuckles 5’8’’ SR DS/L
#4 Anni Evans 5’9’’ JR Setter
#5 Bekka Allick 6’4’’ FR MB
#7 Maisie Boesiger 5’6’’ FR DS/L
#8 Lexi Rodriguez 5’5’’ SO DS/L
#9 Kennedi Orr 6’0’’ SO Setter
#10 Madi Kubik 6’3’’ SR OH
#13 Whitney Lauenstein 6’2’’ SO OH
#14 Ally Batenhorst 6’5’’ SO OH
#22 Lindsay Krause 6’4’’ SO OH
#23 Kaitlyn Hord 6’4’’ SR MB
#33 Hayden Kubik 6’2’’ FR OH
#44 Maggie Mendelson 6’5’’ FR MB

#12 Purdue (19-8, B1G 10-7)

#3 Megan Renner 6’2’’ JR S
#4 Grace Balensiefer 5’10’’ GR S
#5 Maddy Chinn 6’3’’ SR OH
#7 Ravin Colvin 6’1’’ SO MB
#8 Maddie Schermerhorn 5’10’’ SR DS
#10 Ali Hornung 5’10’’ SO DS
#12 Emma Ellis 6’2’’ SR OH
#16 Madeline Koch 6’2’’ SR OH
#17 Eva Hudson 6’1’’ FR OH
#20 Hannah Clayton 6’2’’ GR MB

Just like an onion, this match, and the two after it against Wisconsin and Minnesota, has layers. The match itself is a thick layer that requires attention and has significant value. Winning this match is beating a quality team as well as representing growth and execution as a team and progress toward end of season goals.

The next layer of the onion is the need to win in relation to conference championship goals. Nebraska sits tied for second place with Ohio State at a 15-2 conference record. Wisconsin leads the race with a 17-1 record with their most recent five set win over Penn State last night.

The last layer of the onion is the need to demonstrate a high level of consistent play for the NCAA tournament and placement, seed wise, in that tournament. Matches at the end of the regular season mean a great deal because how a team plays in November relates greatly to how they will play in December during the NCAA national championship tournament.

A win over Purdue, Wisconsin and Minnesota is a love letter to the selection committee beautifully written and wrapped to let the know Nebraska is playing to win. These are the layers for the three remaining matches in Nebraska’s regular season but this isn’t what the Huskers are talking about at practice. They are simply preparing to win each point against the Boilermakers.

Purdue is led by freshman outside hitter Eva Hudson and a supporting group that is not used to carrying the load. Purdue is very inconsistent. They can look like fire during one set and be cold as ice the next. Nebraska beat Purdue in three sets on October 19th in West Lafayette.

Nebraska beat Purdue with tough serving which led to tons of sets to the outside. Nebraska followed those tough serves with strong blocking since they could expect the ball to be set to the outside. This recipe worked once and will work again. Drill the ball on serve and use strong and discipline blocks to shut down Purdue.

Hudson is set two to three times more than any other player. She averages 4.68 kills per set. The only player that is set half as much as her is Raven Colvin a 6’1’’ sophomore middle blocker. So, Hudson is getting the ball, you can just plan on it.

When Purdue can get more production from their role players they are a much better team. Maddy Chin, Emma Ellis and Madeline Koch sometimes have high kill nights in the second outside position and other times they don’t. That is why all three of the move through that position like a revolving door.

Coach Shondell quickly rotates this second outside hitter position so we are likely to see all three of the outside hitters mentioned above. If one of the outside hitters gets hot, she will stay in that role and we will see Nebraska make blocking and defensive adjustments.

The takeaway? If Chin, Ellis or Koch start earning kills, watch the Nebraska block adjust and then that outside hitter will be blocked a few times and maybe even subbed out soon thereafter.

Nebraska’s scouting report focuses on taking away shots from freshman outside hitter Hudson. She is set 70-80% of the time so reducing her shots with give defenders behind the block the ability to dig and force Hudson to hit her second or third choice of shot, that forces errors.

Huskers will attack with their serves. Purdue is working through line up changes at the libero spot so clearly something is not working for them there. A libero must be a good serve receive passer and thus far Purdue’s liberos have had trouble so who ever is in at libero, expect serves to go to her.

Purdue’s poor passing is one more reason they are setting Hudson on the outside SO much. This will not change against Nebraska. Expect big blocks and defense around that big block when Hudson rolls or tips. Nebraska will take care of business that this layer of the onion against a quality Purdue team.

Around the conference there are wins and losses to talk about. Unranked Maryland beat #5 Ohio State in four sets. OSU won set 1 and then Maryland soundly beat them the next three sets, 16-25, 25-15, 25-18, 25-18. Emily Londot had 10 kills but 14 errors. This was a big loss. #14 Penn State beat #9 Minnesota in four sets. Penn State gave Wisconsin a run last night but in the end the Badgers won in five sets.