Nebraska volleyball completes the Prairie State sweep

(Photo by Steven Branscombe/Getty Images)
(Photo by Steven Branscombe/Getty Images) /

Remember when the Nebraska volleyball team started the season 0-2?

Since the Nebraska volleyball team got off to that rather worrisome start, the Huskers have now gone 16-2 and are back in a tie for the Big Ten lead. This weekend, the Cornhuskers beat Northwestern on Friday night in straight sets and needed four sets to knock off the Illinois Fighting Illini.

That makes the trip to the state of Illinois only a success for a team that continues to overachieve. When the season started, head coach John Cook believed this year might be one with a bit of a rebuilding flavor.

Instead, the Huskers are now ranked 7th in the country and continue to be one of the two hottest teams in the conference. Sitting at 16-4 on the season and 9-1 in the Big Ten, their only loss in the conference was a bit of an upset loss to the Wisconsin Badgers. (Because of course it was Wisconsin.)

In pulling off the sweep against Northwestern and Illinois, the Huskers lost just one set in the two matches. That’s not particularly impressive against a Northwestern team that now sits at 2-8 in the Big 10 but Illinois is no slouch. The Fighting Illini were 7-2 and 16-4 on the season coming into Saturday night.

Illinois had won eight of their last 10 and four matches in a row. Next up for the Huskers is a weekend slate against both the Michigan Wolverines and the Michigan State Spartans. The Spartans are ranked third in the Big Ten and that match will truly show whether the Cornhuskers are going to be a conference juggernaut yet again.

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The interesting thing to note here is that the Nebraska volleyball team has handed conference leader Penn State it’s only loss of the season. The Cornhuskers won that matchup in straight sets. The two teams won’t meet again in the regular season.