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Volleyball: #4 Nebraska vs. #16 Creighton

The Nebraska State Championship of College Volleyball

Volleyball Day in Nebraska Photo by Steven Branscombe/Getty Images

#4 University of Nebraska (5-0) vs #16 Creighton (5-1)
When: Wednesday, September 6 2023, 7:00 pm (CT)
Where: Bob Devaney Center
Video: BTN, FoxSports
Radio: Husker Radio Network

Nebraska and Creighton met last year around this time, September 7th. At that time Nebraska was undefeated and ranked #2 in the NCAA coaches poll. Creighton was 5-1 and ranked #17 in the poll.

Not much has changed in the scene above. Nebraska is undefeated and ranked #4 while Creighton is 5-1 and ranked #16. Last year, Nebraska took the match in five closely contested sets (25-18, 25-23, 25-27, 17-25, 15-9).

Coach Cook says that his team wants to be the Nebraska state champions. Nebraska beat Omaha in Memorial Stadium last week, and Creighton plays Omaha on Friday September 8th, so there will be a state champion this year.

This is also the first top 25 ranked opponent for the Huskers this year. They have yet to drop a set but the best team they’ve played was Kansas State and they are somewhere around 45th (estimate as coaches only rank top 25). Creighton on the other hand beat #20 Purdue in three sets. They also lost to Duke (receiving votes for the 25) in five sets.

Creighton sets to the outside hitters 60% of the time. Norah Sis and Ava Martin have 525 attempts between the two of them compare to 365 for the rest of the hitters. This allows Nebraska’s blockers an educated guess on which way to move.

Kendra Wait, Creighton’s junior setter, is an offensive threat herself with 1.78 kills per set. She attacks in a variety of ways to try to create more space for her hitters by holding the blockers on her. She is also fairly effective at earning kills. 1.78 k/s is a whole kill more than Nebraska’s Bergen Reilly with .73 k/s.

Creighton’s middle, Kiana Schmitt, receives the next most amount of sets after the outside hitters. Creighton will aim to pass serve well enough to continue this trend. If they can pass, they will get her the ball and she will then need to get past the block and defense of Nebraska.

Husker middles, Andi Jackson and Bekka Allick move very well and the floor defense behind them picks up a ton of digs outside their block. Middle attacks typically angle to the wing defenders; the players more shallow on the court. This is Lexi Rodriguez, Reilly and Merritt Beason.

Nebraska should win the middle battle. They will increase their advantage in the middle even more if they set the middle early in the match. Creighton’s left side attackers are their strength and they will set to them early in the match.

Coaching instructions to Reilly: Set the middle, move the middle, set her again, send a set back to Beason on the right side, set the middle, use the left side attackers as outlet when you need them.

In set two: Overload the Creighton left side hitters by setting Beason on the right side. Force Sis and Martin to block and block well. If Beason doesn’t earn the kill then that outside hitter is making a quick transition from her net blocking position to try to hit. She is less effective without a full approach to the ball.

When you need it, use the size advantage match up you have with 6’2’’ and 6’4’’ Harper Murray and Lindsay Krause hitting over 5’10’’ Kendra Wait. The left side attackers for Nebraska are wise to hit over the smaller blocker.

Go Big Red and Go Bluejays. Here is hoping for a great match that continues the celebration of all of Nebraska volleyball.

#4 Nebraska (5-0)

#2 Bergen Reilly 6’1’’ FR Setter
#5 Bekka Allick 6’4’’ SO MB
#6 Laney Choboy 5’3’’ FR DS
#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

#16 Creighton (5-1)

#1 Ellie Bolton 5’7’’ DS
#2 Norah Sis 6’1’’ OH
#4 Ann Marie Remmes 6’1’’ MB
#8 Ava Martin 6’0’’ OH
#9 Kiana Schmitt 6’2’’ MB
#10 Ellie Bichelmeyer 6’2’’ RS
#15 Kendra Wait 5’10’’ Setter
#24 Sydney Breissinger 6’2’’ RS