Nebraska 0 vs Texas 3 - 25-22, 25-14, 25-11
Texas played on another level in the final two matches of the season, dominating first Wisconsin and then Nebraska. They beat both teams convincingly. The attack started first from the service line where The Longhorns served 11 aces against Wisconsin and 12 versus Nebraska. They not only served aces but consistently forced the opposing team’s offense off the net. This type of the offense became a predictable and the Texas block went to work.
All the Texas players chipped in to the 14 blocks against the Huskers but Bella Bergmark and Jenna Wenaas had four each, while Asjia O’Neal had three. Husker hitter attempted to tip around the block but the floor defense was right there to scoop it up.
Madisen Skinner jumped, flew and vaulted around the court as he earned the NCAA Tournament Most Outstanding Player award. She was truly dominant hitting over, around and in between blockers. There was no answer for Skinner. She finished with 16 kills in the Championship match.
Nebraska, for their part, did not pass well and all other parts of the game unraveled from there. Every member of the serve receive pattern struggled, without exception. The ball moved, it floated and it dropped in unexpected ways for the passers. The shock we felt as we watched Wisconsin get aced over and over transferred to the Huskers and it was happening all over.
Nebraska’s magical season ended fast. It ended with a match where the team was largely uncompetitive and it was so hard to watch. It was, of course, the players we have cheered through the season but they weren’t doing the movements we are so used to. They didn’t respond to the spot light and challenge laid down by Texas proved too much.
Everyone knew the season would end yesterday, but the abrasive way in which it ended for the Nebraska team and fans is tough. There is brutal finality to the end even when we knew it would be the end.
There is a the off season and there is so much growth expected from this group of players. Next season will come in eight months and the Nebraska volleyball team will take us on another ride through a fantastic season. It will be different than this season. There will be unexpected thrills and disappointments but I will get on that ride, I will run to that ride and throw my hands in the air in celebration. Looking forward to it!