Nebraska Volleyball: Huskers take Raiders

Check our latest game recap as Nebraska traveled to Lubbock to Play the Lady Red Raiders of Texas Tech.

The Nebraska volleyball team, (17-3 overall and 9-2 in Big 12) traveled down to Lubbock Texas to take on the Texas Tech Red Raiders, (9-11 overall and 1-10 in the Big 12). Some people may have thought this would be a quick, painless, in and out as the Raiders are at the bottom of the Big 12 but Tech came with their game face on and ready to play the Husker's.

Last month when the Red Raiders came to town the Husker's made quick work and swept Texas Tech. Tonight, the Husker's lost the first game and then fought back and took the next three to win the match 24-30, 30-25, 30-25, 30-27.

Sara Westling and Melissa Elmer both had big nights as Coach John Cook wanted to set more to the middle than usual going against the Red Raiders. Both middle blocker's hit over .460 for the night with Westling having 8 blocks, 3 digs, and 15 kills in 28 attempts for a hitting percentage of .464. Elmer had 4 blocks, 3 digs and 18 kills out of 35 attempts for a .486 mark. With freshman middle blocker, Christina Houghtelling still out with a stress fracture in her leg, Sara is making the most of her playing time and showing what she can do. Tonight she really stepped it up and did a great job. Sara's eight blocks and 15 kills tonight are both a career best, with her previous best for kills being back in October of 2001, when she tallied 8 kills in the match against Kansas.

Something I don't recall ever seeing, is when both teams have the same team hitting percentage for the night but that was the case with Texas Tech and Nebraska for the evening. They both hit .256, which was a best hitting percentage in conference play this season for Texas Tech. Coach Cook has wanted to consistently see his team hitting over .300 but that has been an up and down occurrence this year, the high this season being .443 at Iowa State on September 24 and the low mark for this year .131 against Missouri on October 15th.


Jennifer Saleaumua had another productive night and got her team-leading 10th double-double of the season with 17 digs and 11 kills out of 22 attempts for .273 hitting. Outside hitter, Dani Mancuso has only played sparingly behind the starters Anna Schrad and Saleaumua but when she gets on the court, she has been on fire lately and is really starting to shine. During game three Cook substituted Mancuso in for Anna Schrad on the left side and she ending up playing most of games three and four. Mancuso came into the match and had one block, 6 kills for a .267 hitting percentage. That is what you hope for to get a player to come off the bench and help put a spark onto the team. Libero, Amanda McCormick was still starting tonight and got a match-high 19 digs. Michelle Lynch had 37 set assists and Dani Busboom having 28.

Tonight's match saw five different players with service aces, Dani Mancuso leading the team with 3. Michelle Lynch, Westling, Saleaumua and Busboom each had 1 as well. Busboom is normally a very strong jump server but tonight she didn't but still remained very effective.

Before the start of this season when Coach Cook was looking ahead and trying to think about the year and what it might bring to his young team, he knew it was going to be a year of ups and downs. He stated that his Husker's were going to have to earn everything they got and he's been right, 'Earn, never given', that's been his motto for this years team. That can sum up the type of season it has been thus far for Coach Cook and his staff.

With a young team and playing so many freshmen, it can be a roller coaster ride. At times this team shows their potential, then there is the learning curve of playing college volleyball and just avoiding the mental mistakes. Tonight may have been a good start in seeing how good this team can be. Nebraska fell behind in games 1, 3 and 4, but pulled it together to come back and win, this victory coming on the road, which is significantly more difficult.

With rally scoring, the momentum can turn on a dime, up by several points and then suddenly your down, putting on that much more pressure. Those are the times you find out what kind of heart your team has.

Coach Cook is finding out, match to match as he endeavors to find the best combination between what few veterans he has and the abundance of youth at his disposal. You could call this season a ‘work in progress'.

Nebraska Box Score




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