Nebraska volleyball got smacked around on Friday by Minnesota, but turned around and made the Gophers look foolish on Sunday.
Because of COVID-19, teams play two matches against each other over the course of a weekend rather than the series being split up throughout the season. This weekend it was No. 4 Nebraska volleyball vs No. 5 Minnesota volleyball in what ended up being polar opposite games for the Cornhuskers.
On Friday night, the Huskers got knocked around by the fifth-ranked Gophers, losing three sets to one and looking horrendous in several aspects. Blocking was a huge problem in that match, as the Huskers had just eight blocks compared to Minnesota’s 20.
It was an ugly loss and ended Nebraska’s hopes for an undefeated season (which no one really believed to be possible with how tough their schedule is). Fortunately, this is Nebraska volleyball and this team doesn’t stay down for long.
Nebraska volleyball bounced back in a big way in the rematch on Sunday.
In traditional seasons, Nebraska would either have to wait a few weeks for the rematch or hope that the two teams met in the tournament, but as I mentioned above, COVID-19 changed that this year. Nebraska only had to wait a day and a half for their hopeful revenge on the Gophers and revenge was certainly had.
Nebraska swept the Gophers and made them look pretty pitiful in the process, holding them to a .153 hitting percentage while Nebraska finished the match with a hitting percentage of .300. The Huskers also had four aces on the afternoon (Minnesota had zero) and while service errors were still a problem, the Gophers matched Nebraska with eight service errors apiece.
With this win, Nebraska notched a victory over a top-five team for the first time since December 2018 when they came back and beat Illinois in the national semifinals. This was also their first big win of the season, as they had previously beaten up on Indiana, Maryland, and Rutgers, none of whom are very menacing.
Minnesota is no slouch of an opponent at all and has had Nebraska’s number on and off over the years, so to beat them is a big deal, but to sweep them is a huge deal. It’d have been easy to still be beating themselves up over the loss on Friday night, but Nebraska made adjustments and took it to the Gophers in the second match.
The Huskers should be very proud of themselves for this win and hopefully, this will boost their confidence heading into next weekend, as they’ll travel to Madison for a date with the No. 1 ranked Wisconsin Badgers.
This was an awesome win for Nebraska volleyball and here’s to hoping this is only the beginning for what this team can do to good teams.