Nebraska Sweeps Virginia

No. 5 Nebraska sweeps Virginia Thursday night at the Ameritas Players Challenge.

Set 1

            The fifth ranked Huskers came out swinging against the Virginia Cavaliers in their first game of the Ameritas Players Challenge Thursday night. Nebraska had trouble keeping their attacking inside the court at the beginning of the set but quickly found a solution as the players warmed up to the Cavaliers' defense. The best play of the game came when libero, Kayla Banwarth, saved the ball only inches from the floor twice in one play, both times bringing it high enough for her teammates to get over the net. During this play, the Huskers were forced to use their bodies to keep the ball off the floor as it ricocheted from player to player. Somehow, Nebraska managed to win this point giving them the lead. Tara Mueller led the team with a .444 hitting percentage and earned the team four points. Lindsey Licht came off the bench to give the Huskers points exactly when they needed them by slamming the ball down where Virginia was unable to reach. Licht's best kill came in front of the ten foot line, landing at the feet of the Cavaliers' setter. Serving again held Nebraska back as they racked up four service errors. The Huskers overcame these lost points to win the set, 25-20.

Outstanding Player: Tara Mueller

Outstanding Off-Bench Player: Lindsey Licht


Set 2

          Nebraska came out so strong the second set that Virginia used two time-outs within the first ten minutes to try and overcome the Huskers' seven point lead. Jordan Wilberger dominated the net along with Tara Mueller who again led with a hitting percentage of .643. Hannah Werth stepped up her attacking to add eight points for the Huskers. The Cavaliers continued to struggle and a misunderstanding between the referees put the Huskers at a ten point advantage. There was nothing Virginia could do to get around the aggressiveness of Nebraska's attacking and the agility of their back row defense in this second set. The only thing going in favor of the Cavaliers was the seven service error points the Huskers' handed them. Nebraska quickly won the second set, 25-11.

Outstanding Player: Tara Mueller

Set 3

            The third set started out much like the second with the Huskers at a seven point lead. A lack of communication from Nebraska sent them fighting for points as their seven point lead diminished to only two. The Cavaliers handed out some strong attacks that the Huskers' defense sent shooting into the net. Noticing it was time to step up their game, Nebraska began to attack better than they had the entire night. Tara Mueller was on fire again this game and earned her second best hitting percentage of the match at .583. Not too far behind were Sydney Anderson and Brook Delano with .500 and Lindsey Licht with .412. The Huskers out-blocked Virginia 10-5 for set three and served four aces. Nebraska swept Virginia by dominating again with a final score of 25-16.


Outstanding Player: Tara Mueller

Outstanding Off-Bench Player: Lindsey Licht



            The Huskers looked very prepared tonight as they improved from set to set. The Cavaliers' struggle in the second and third sets proves that when Nebraska is on fire, they are nearly impossible to stop. Jordan Wilberger was unsuccessful tonight because Virginia had made it a goal to keep the ball away from her as they feared she would have a repeat of her outstanding match against Creighton where she earned some of her highest attacking percentages. Brooke Delano was blocked more than usual as the Cavaliers continued to be directly in her face, cutting off her attacking angles. Tara Mueller was unstoppable and truly showed how great of a player she is by switching her attacking positions according to Virginia's defense. It seemed she could hit any area of the court with a guaranteed kill. There was nothing the Cavaliers could do to stop her and her versatility and leadership on the court was the key to the Huskers' win. "I don't know if I really see myself as the go to player. My role would be to be a consistent leader," Mueller said. Nebraska is coming closer to have a consistent starting line-up and deciding on their top eight best players. "We have to evaluate every week and see how it goes but they look like they were having fun tonight and playing hard," Coach Cook said.

This game served as a reunion with Virginia's head coach, Lee Maes, who served as an assistant coach to the Nebraska volleyball team for three seasons from 2005-2007. Maes received a standing ovation from the dedicated Husker fans and the improvement from some of the Huskers he helped to recruit made him proud. "I was really happy to see him. He was one of my favorite coaches," Tara Mueller said of Maes.

Nebraska will take on BYU Friday night and UCLA on Sunday afternoon to round-up the Ameritas Players Challenge this weekend.



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