#1 University of Nebraska (23-0) vs. Northwestern University (11-13)
Coach Cook said the rest of the Nebraska volleyball season schedule is not going to be routine. The schedule is such that they played last Sunday, now play Wednesday, Sunday, Friday, Sunday then end on Thanksgiving weekend with a Friday and Saturday match.
Matches on four different days of the week impacts the practice schedule and forces the coaching staff to be creative and open minded about how to prepare the team each day.
This Wednesday’s match is against Northwestern. Nebraska played the Wildcats earlier in the season in Evanston. Huskers came away with a three set win (25-15, 25-16, 25-21) on October 18th.
Incidentally, this previous match was played on a Wednesday as well. It just happened to be the Wednesday before Nebraska played in the game-of-the-century against Wisconsin. Perhaps a few of us fans were looking forward to the Badgers and may have overlooked the Wildcats.
Not the team, though. The Huskers were dialed in. Nebraska hit .395 as a team, led by middle hitters Bekka Allick and Andi Jackson who were highly effective hitting .800 and .667 respectively.
Huskers held the Wildcats to a .141 hitting percentage. The only Northwestern player to have true success was sophomore outside hitter Averie Hernandez. She had 31 swings, 11 kills and hit .258. Nebraska will work to slow her down this time around by presenting a well formed block and placing the floor defenders in her favorite hitting locations.
This time of the season, scouting and preparing for teams is crucial because of the large amount of film and stats on each team and player. The film shows Hernandez has some inconsistencies, so Nebraska will watch some tape, see her tendencies and then prepare a defense for those most likely shots.
As a team, Northwestern is coming off of two consecutive losses to Minnesota (four sets) and Illinois (3 sets). The Wildcats last win was over Indiana in five sets on October 29th which leaves them in 11th place in the Big Ten.
Nebraska will also look to continue the upward trend in serving by hitting it hard and making it a challenge for the Wildcats but also limiting errors. In October vs. the Wildcats, Nebraska had 11 service errors and nine aces. A one to one ration in aces to errors is something to aim for.
This match is largely about the Nebraska side of the net and fine tuning the passing, blocking, setting, serving and attacking. There are six matches until the NCAA tournament. The team knows that being two points better than your opponent or 2% better in your efficiency may seem small against Northwestern but could be the difference in winning and losing in the tournament.
I have heard many a coach say “being good isn’t a faucet. You can’t just turn it on when you want it”. Practice like you want to play and your faucet is always on. Huskers will make their repetitions quality ones in practice and against Northwestern.
This match is on Wednesday November 8th in Lincoln, NE. It is Military Appreciation night in The Bob Devaney Sports Center. Video is available on Nebraska Public Media and BTN+. Audio is available on the Husker Radio Network.
#1 Nebraska (23-0, B1G 14-0)
#2 Bergen Reilly 6’1” FR S
#5 Bekka Allick 6’4” SO MB
#6 Laney Choboy 5’3” FR DS/Libero
#7 Maisie Boesiger 5’6” SO DS/Libero
#8 Lexi Rodriguez 5’5” JR DS/Libero
#9 Kennedi Orr 6’0” JR S
#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
Northwestern (11-13, B1G 5-9)
#2 Drew Wright 5’11” FR OH
#4 Maddy Chinn 6’3” 5th Year OH
#5 Alexa Rousseau 6’3” SR S
#6 Ellee Stinson 5’2” JR DS/Libero
#7 Leilani Dodson 6’1” SR MB
#8 Averie Hernandez 6’2” SO OH
#10 Lauren Carter 5’10” SO S
#16 Ellie Husemann 6’3” 5th Year MB
#17 Kennedy Hill 6’1” SO MB
#18 Kathryn Randorf 6’1” SO OH
#22 Julia Sangiacomo 6’5” 5th Year OH
#23 Gigi Navarrete 5’6” FR DS/Libero