Published Sunday, November 18, 2012 at 4:08 pm / Updated at 11:34 pm
VOLLEYBALL
NU gets much-needed win

MADISON, Wis. — With confidence bruised and doubts swirling, the Husker volleyball team needed a win Sunday at Wisconsin to stop its slide of three straight five-set road losses.

No. 9 Nebraska got its victory, making quick work of the Badgers 25-17, 25-20, 25-18, but maybe more important was the balanced effort that got it done.

With contributions from every key player, the Huskers (21-6, 13-5) hit .351, their best attack percentage in 10 matches since hitting .396 the last time they played Wisconsin on Oct. 12.

“They needed to take some ownership of how they were going to play today, and I think they did a fantastic job as a team. As a team, they did it today,” Nebraska coach John Cook said in a postmatch radio interview.

The coach knew Sunday’s match would show him a lot about his players’ resiliency after the Huskers dropped a five-set match at Minnesota on Friday night in which they failed to capitalize on big leads in each of the final two sets.

But Sunday, it was Nebraska that created decisive runs in each set to overcome deficits for its first sweep since Oct. 21 at Illinois.

“I think they’re happy because these matches mean a lot right now,” Cook said. “They mean a lot for our psyche, our confidence, and what we’re made of. Friday night ... we’ve been playing these five-gamers, and we’ve lost three (straight) five-gamers on the road. At some point, you start having some major doubts if you can get it done. To come in and play the way we did today is going to give them a big shot of confidence.”

It was a get-well kind of match, with Nebraska striking a blow to the hopes of Wisconsin (17-14, 5-13) making the NCAA tournament. Senior outside hitter Hannah Werth led the Huskers with 15 kills and hit .407. Junior opposite hitter Morgan Broekhuis had an efficient night with 12 kills and one error on 25 swings.

Nebraska’s middle blocker tandem of junior Hayley Thramer and freshman Meghan Haggerty rebounded from a difficult night against Minnesota in which the pair combined to hit .135. Sunday, they had 16 kills between them while each hitting .500 or better.

Defensively, five Huskers had at least eight digs to spearhead an effort that held the Badgers to a .145 attack percentage. Setter Lauren Cook, libero Lara Dykstra and Gina Mancuso each had 10 digs.

“My favorite thing is when we play really well as a team, like today when everybody hits on all cylinders, we play really good volleyball,” Cook said. “We play like I can envision us playing. They work hard. They’re trying. When I see them play at their best, that’s my favorite part.”

Likely needing a win to remain in the NCAA tournament conversation, Wisconsin saw two of its best players stymied. Leading attacker Ellen Chapman was benched for the third set after totaling two kills and two errors on 13 swings in the first two games. Senior middle blocker Alexis Mitchell led the Badgers with eight kills but also had five attack errors and hit .120.

“We’ve done a great job on Mitchell both times we’ve played them,” Cook said. “We feel she’s the heart and soul of that team. You get her on fire and everybody is going to take off, so you have to stop her.”

Nebraska (21-6, 13-5) ................. 25 25 25

At Wisconsin (17-14, 5-13) ................. 17 20 18

NU (kills-aces-blocks): Werth 15-1-2, Broekhuis 12-0-2, Haggerty 9-0-2, Thramer 7-0-3, Mancuso 6-1-0, Cook 3-0-0. Totals 52-2-9.

UW: Mitchell 8-0-4, Reshel 7-0-1, Ording 6-0-5, Mikaelsen 5-1-1, Thomas 3-0-4, Graff 3-0-0, Chapman 2-0-2, Morales 1-0-0. Totals 35-2-17.

Set assists: NU 47 (Cook 44, Broekhuis 1, Werth 2), UW 33 (Thomas 27, Reshel 1, Mikaelsen 1, Hickey 1, Morales 2, Kvas 1).

Read more related stories
PHOTO GALLERY AND VIDEO »

 

< >
SPOTLIGHT »
2013 college football preview
View our 2013 college football preview, a 26-page, three-part section filled with coverage of the Huskers, Big Ten conference and more.
Big Red Bowl Retrospective
See complete historical results, game recaps and photo coverage from the Nebraska Cornhuskers college football bowl game appearances, from the 1941 Rose Bowl up to today.
Big Ten football recruits
The World-Herald's Big Ten recruiting database contains every football recruit that signed with a Big Ten school from 2002 to 2011, complete with color-coded interactive map representations, player information, high-concentrations recruiting clusters and more.
Devaney Center timeline
Check out a World-Herald timeline to see the evolution of memorable moments at the Devaney Center, complete with photos, videos, memorable quotes and more.
Follow OWHbigred on Twitter
Looking for the latest Husker sports news from The Omaha World-Herald and Omaha.com? Follow us on Twitter!
Husker scholarship distribution chart
Want to see how many scholarships NU has invested at each position? Wondering how the Huskers have appropriated their offers by class? Check out our handy chart to look further into how Bo Pelini has built his team.
Husker Signing Day 2013
The World-Herald's top-notch coverage of the Nebraska football's class of 2013, complete with videos, photos, articles, live recruit interviews, interactive components and more.
Husker turnovers: A slippery slope
Bo Pelini has coached 68 games at Nebraska. When NUís turnover margin is positive or even, the Huskers are 35-2. When they lose the turnover battle, theyíre 13-18. Why hasnít Nebraska joined the nationís elite? More than anything, itís turnovers.
Interactive: Bo Pelini's contract
View an interactive PDF of Pelini's revised contract signed by the NU football coach, complete with brief summaries of the legalese and insight into the document's finer points.
Interactive: Darin Erstad's contract (2012)
View an interactive PDF of NU baseball coach Darin Erstad's contract released in August 2012, complete with brief summaries of the legalese and insight into the document's finer points.
Interactive: Tim Miles' contract
View an interactive PDF of Tim Miles' contract signed by the Nebraska men's basketball coach on May 4, 2012, complete with brief legal explanations, comparisons to other Big Ten coaches and more.
Omaha.com's Big Ten coverage
Delivering the best news coverage and analysis of the Big Ten Conference, from Omaha.com and other top news outlets from around country.
Husker Recruiting: Changes shrink NU's sphere of influence
For decades, the Great Plains represented fertile recruiting ground for Tom Osborne's football program. Restoring that lost tradition won't be easy.
Deadline Deal thumbnail
Dr. Welbes Natural Health Clinic
$129 for 2 LipoLaser Sessions with Additional Complimentary Services ($605 value)
Buy Now
BRT ON TWITTER »
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT »
< >