Nebraska 3 vs Kansas 1 - 25-14, 25-18, 19-25, 26-24
Nebraska played with Nicklin Hames and Whitney Lauenstein in the starting line up for the first time in the NCAA Tournament. That made a difference early in the match, as the Huskers fired on all cylinders for two sets. In those two sets Nebraska held the Jayhawk to a -.013 hitting percentage, doing so with a combination of skills.
First, Nebraska thumped their serves and forced KUs setter to run some miles to run her offense. Second, Nebraska formed disciplined blocks. Third, they dug well behind those blocks.
All of this execution is primarily the result of practicing these skills over the course of the season, but also from a strong scouting report which led to preparing Nebraska players for the match. They did all these things well, in other words, because they were prepared. Then Kansas changed what they were doing.
In set three the Jayhawks started tipping the ball over the block and found success, so they did it again and again. They subbed in a freshman outside hitter that previously hadn’t seen much playing time. She ended with 14 kills tonight. KU adjusted in this set, and Nebraska did not.
Ultimately, Nebraska figured out a few adjustments and ultimately had more offensive weapons to win the match but this KU team push Nebraska. Nebraska has a week of practice to respond to the push, raise their level of play and prepare for the next weekend of play.
In the post game press conference Coach Cook was asked about Bekka Allick and her performance on the court and responses to reporters questions. Coach Cook said, “heck yeah I’m impressed. Bekka’s world, were just living in it”.
Hames was at the press conference too. She said it was hard to sit on the sidelines through her injury. She was glad to be on the court and to have a practice to go to tomorrow. She said “this team has big goals and big dream, we are going to go for it.”
All six Big Ten teams were victorious tonight.
Wisconsin beat Quinnipiac in three sets. They face TCU Saturday at 6 pm CT
Penn State beat UMBC in three sets. They face UCF Saturday at 5:30 pm CT
Purdue beat Tennessee in five sets. They face Louisville Saturday at 5 pm CT
Minnesota beat Southeastern LA in three sets. They face UNI Saturday at 7 pm CT
Ohio State beat Tennessee St in three sets. They face USC Saturday at 5 pm CT
Creighton lost in five sets to Auburn.
Nebraska plays again against next weekend in the regional semifinals.