LINCOLN — Coach John Cook said one of the most reassuring parts of Saturday’s scrimmage was seeing the current Huskers respond to the challenge posed by the star-studded alumni team. In Game 2, Amber Rolfzen stuffed Olympian Jordan Larson, bringing one of the night’s louder cheers.
Rolfzen “has the potential to be a great blocker,” Cook said.
Cook also singled out a strong performance from Rolfzen’s former Papio South teammate Kelly Hunter, who set for the White team of alumni and Husker freshmen in Game 3.
“I’m sure (Hunter) had a lot of nerves tonight, just like Kadie and Amber did,” Cook said. “For those Nebraska kids, they grew up idolizing Nancy and Jordan. Those are their heroes. And they’re playing against them in front of 8,000 in their first night as Huskers? Can you imagine if you got to play against Michael Jordan or Brett Favre? That’s a big deal for them.”
Strong performance from young defensive specialists
The three freshman defensive specialists showed the team’s floor defense would be a strong spot despite losing two-year starting libero Lara Dykstra, who left the program after last season. Freshman Justine Wong-Orantes had 12 digs for the Red squad and was strong on serve receive.
Freshman Brenna Lyles even was credited with a kill for the White team in Game 3 when she made a diving dig of a short serve that had nicked the tape. Lyles’ dig traveled over the net and fell into the middle of the court between a number of Red team players.
Cook encouraged by relatively low number of errors
Cook made note of the Red team’s disciplined attacks Saturday. He said he expected a higher number than the Red team’s relatively low tally of 16 attack errors, considering the nerves that typically come with the first appearance of the year in front of a big crowd.
“Typically the first Red-White game, there’s a lot of serving errors and a lot of hitting errors because of nerves and the situation, especially coming over here,” Cook said. “So that’s a very, very good sign.”
Renovated Devaney Center receives positive reviews
Saturday was the public’s first chance to see the renovated Devaney Center, and the building made a sweeping first impression. Ken and Pat Aerni from Central City traveled for the scrimmage and had seats in the B section.
“I think it will develop the atmosphere like at the old Coliseum. You want to keep everybody feeling closer together,” Ken Aerni said.
“The noise will be unreal,” Pat said.
Pat said the couple was unable to get season tickets for the year, but she planned on showing up at the ticket office Tuesday when single-match tickets go on sale.
“I’m going to get there at 6 o’clock in the morning,” she said.