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#1 Nebraska Volleyball vs. Maryland: The Match After THE Match

Coach Cook is looking for ways to “widen the gap” in the second half of the Big Ten schedule

NCAA Womens Volleyball: Wisconsin at Nebraska Dylan Widger-USA TODAY Sports

#1 Nebraska (19-0, B1G 10-0) vs Maryland (14-8, B1G 4-6)
When: Friday, October 27, 2023, 7:00 pm (CT)
Where: Devaney Center Lincoln, NE
Stream: BTN+
Radio: Husker Radio Network
Live stats

Since entering the conference, Maryland hasn’t been, and isn’t currently, a team that strikes fear in the hearts of Husker fans. But Coach Cook tells us that everyone is a threat in the Big Ten and based on results in the first half of the conference schedule, the Terrapins are in the middle of the pack of conference volleyball talent so they shouldn’t be taken lightly.

Maryland has conference wins over Minnesota, Michigan, Rutgers and Iowa. The win over Minnesota can be partially explained by a Gopher team and plays flat sometimes; they lost to Rutgers the same weekend as well. But there’s more to the story. Maryland has powerful individual pieces and a generally quality volleyball team, one that knows how to win when given the opportunity.

Offensively, Sam Csire is the clear leader as the 6’0’’ senior receives about 25% of the total sets. She plays all six rotations for Maryland and is also one of their best servers along with libero Lilly Gunter.

Defensively, watch Anastasia Russ in the front row. She is 6’5’’ and blocks well with 1.14 average blocks per set. Russ was part of U of Pittsburg's deep runs in the NCAA tournament in 2020 and 2021 before transferring to Maryland. All this is notable and what Nebraska will prepare for this week. Her freshmen counterpart in the middle, Eva Rohrback, does well blocking too with 1.18 blocks per set.

The reality is, however, that Nebraska isn’t as concerned about who is on the other side of the net. This is true for the Huskers and should be true for most programs out there: take care of your side of the net and the rest will follow.

Coach Cook wants his team to focus on “how to widen the gap”. As the #1 team in the country he knows that his team must continue to get better in order to achieve goals later in the season.

In case you have been living under a rock, Nebraska won a massive match against Wisconsin last Saturday night, in large part behind the strength of their serve receive passing and tough (also low error) serving. Serve and pass; coaches always talk about winning the serve and pass game; Nebraska did that night.

They did not win the attack game, 44 errors, 69 kills, hitting .130.
They didn’t win the block match; 12 blocks to Wisconsin’s 36.
Nebraska did out dig Wisconsin with 74 to 65 in the defensive department.

Nebraska won behind a serve receive passing efficiency that had zero errors and many passes on top of, or very close to, Bergen Reilly’s head. This means the offense can run and run fast. As a team, Huskers passed with 81.6% efficiency compare to 61.5% for Wisconsin. This calculation includes rating good passes, playable passes, and passing errors.

This excellent passing percentage coupled with three service aces, and just 11 service errors equals a win in the serve and pass match evaluation. If Nebraska can beat Wisconsin with this serve and pass effort, they can beat anyone.

There are five scheduled home matches remaining for Nebraska volleyball. Coach John Cook challenged Husker fans to be as energized for those five matches as they were for the Wisconsin match. There you have it, Coach Cook gave you his expectation. He believes in dreaming big and has proven to date that he can turn those dreams into reality. GBR!

#1 Nebraska (19-0, B1G 10-0)

#2 Bergen Reilly 6’1’’ FR Setter
#5 Bekka Allick 6’4’’ SO MB
#6 Laney Choboy 5’3’’ FR DS/L
#7 Maisie Boesiger 5’6’’ SO DS/L
#8 Lexi Rodriguez 5’5’’ JR DS/L
#9 Kennedi Orr 6’0’’ JR Setter
#10 Caroline Jurevicius 6’2‘‘ FR OH
#11 Hayden Kubik 6’2’’ SO OH
#13 Merritt Beason 6’4’’ JR OH
#14 Ally Batenhorst 6’5’’ JR OH
#15 Andi Jackson 6’3‘‘ FR MB
#22 Lindsay Krause 6’4’’ JR OH
#27 Harper Murray 6’2’’ FR OH
#44 Maggie Mendelson 6’5’’ SO MB

Maryland (14-8, B1G 4-6)
#1 Samantha Schnitta 6’0’’ SR RS
#2 Laila Ivey 6’1’’ SO OH
#4 Lilly Gunter 5’8’’ SR Libero
#7 Jonna Spohn 5’5’’ FR DS
#8 Sydney Dowler 6’0’’ SR Setter
#13 Erin Engel 5’9’’ JR DS/Setter
#17 Eva Rohrback 6’2’’ FR MB
#44 Sam Csire 6’0’’ SR OH
#88 Anastasia Russ 6’5’’ SR MB