Coach John Cook said before the season that adjustments from the first game to the second would be key to this different Big Ten Conference season.
That was made absolutely clear this weekend as No. 4 Nebraska (7-1) split the series with No. 5 Minnesota (9-1).
“I liked their mentality, how they came back from Friday,” Cook said. “That was a defining moment in this part of the season.”
The Gophers dominated Friday for the 3-1 win. Minnesota dominated from the start, holding Nebraska to .056 hitting in the first set and a 25-15 win. The final three sets were much closer, with the Huskers getting their lone win 25-20 in the second, but the Gophers were too strong defensively with 20 blocks to Nebraska’s eight.
The Huskers hit just .150 over the four set loss.
That block differential was neutralized Sunday. Nebraska found a ways to hit around the Gopher blockers much more effectively, to the tune of a .300 hitting percentage for the match and Minnesota managing just four blocks.
“Our players played like they’re trained,” Cook said. “This is the first match where we’ve played like we’ve been practicing.”
Nebraska dominated the match from start to finish, sweeping Minnesota 25-15, 17, 22. This is the first sweep of the Gophers since the 2019 national semifinal against Stanford.
Lexi Sun hit just .021 Friday with 10 errors. She turned that around to 12 kills and .321 hitting Sunday. Sun complete a double-double in the second match with a team-high 13 digs.
Madi Kubik also notched a double-double in the sweep with 10 kills and 12 digs.
Two Huskers hit at least .400 for the match Sunday. Kayla Caffey had a match-high .455 on seven kills while Lauren Stivrins hit .400 with eight kills.
The road continues to stay tough for Nebraska, heading to No. 1 Wisconsin (9-0) Friday and Saturday.
Feature Image by Kenny Larabee