Published Monday, October 7, 2013 at 10:58 pm / Updated at 11:01 pm
volleyball
Decibel points: Cook says Devaney crowd helps
Nebraska at Michigan
When: 6 p.m. Friday
Where: Cliff Keen Arena, Ann Arbor, Mich.
Radio: 93.3 FM KFFF

LINCOLN — It was John Cook's biggest fear about moving from the NU Coliseum, which provided his Nebraska volleyball program one of the nation's best home-court environments.

At the team's new home in the Devaney Center, Cook knew the bells would be loud and the whistles would be plenty. The crowd would be twice the size. But could the Devaney be as loud and intimidating to opponents at the level of the Coliseum, where NU posted 15 undefeated home seasons?

The coach got his answer last weekend when Nebraska, which moved up to No. 9 in this week's AVCA coaches poll, treated more than 8,000 fans to a pair of wins over ranked, Big Ten Conference opponents to open home league play.

“One of the big tests for me as a coach was could the Devaney make a difference in a home-court advantage, and I think we saw the impact the crowd could have Saturday night against Wisconsin,” Cook said Monday. “They caused (Wisconsin) to miss three or four serves, I'm not sure, in Game 4, and I think wore them down. The Devaney answered the question can we have a home-court advantage like we did in the Coliseum.”

Friday night, Nebraska swept three tight sets from Minnesota, which dropped from No. 8 to No. 11 this week, in the Huskers' first Devaney Center match as a member of the Big Ten. But Saturday's five-set tussle with the Badgers may have been the building's true coming out party, Cook said.

The Huskers won the first two sets, only to see Wisconsin rally for tight wins in the third and fourth sets. Senior outside hitter Kelsey Robinson, who on Monday was named the Big Ten co-player of the week, said Nebraska may have lost focus after winning 10 straight sets against conference foes dating back to last weekend.

“We expected to win in three. I don't think we were mentally in it going into that third game,” Robinson said. “I think we just can't let teams hang around and then expect to win and sweep teams, especially in the Big Ten. They'll come back and fight for every point.”

But, as point by point went to the Huskers in the fifth set, the decibel level grew, proving Nebraska's home-court advantage didn't get lost in the move a few blocks north. Against a fresh Wisconsin team that had the advantage of playing its previous match Wednesday, the Huskers rolled in the decisive set 15-6.

“We had a very emotional … we sold out against Minnesota,” Cook said. “So mentally and emotionally, it was tough for us to rebound. We were a little bit sluggish. These kids work hard in the summer. They're really well conditioned, and I think that was the difference. That and the crowd.”

Huskers nab three Big Ten weekly honors

Nebraska players grabbed three of five weekly honors handed out by the Big Ten, highlighted by Kelsey Robinson being named co-player of the week.

Robinson, who shared the honor with Michigan State's Lauren Wicinski, collected her first Big Ten award by averaging 6.3 kills per set against Minnesota and Wisconsin, while hitting .417. Her 29 kills against the Badgers Saturday were a career high, and she added 22 digs in the match.

Sophomore middle blocker Meghan Haggerty was named the Big Ten's defensive player of the week after posting 12 blocks over the weekend. She had a season-high 13 kills in the win over the Badgers and continued a stretch of rapid improvement since the start of conference play.

To cap the honors, Amber Rolfzen was named the league's freshman of the week for the second time this year. Rolfzen tied Haggerty's total of 12 blocks for the weekend, including a team-high eight stuffs against Wisconsin.

This marks the first time three Huskers have earned conference honors in the same week since Jordan Larson, Amanda Gates and Sydney Anderson took home Big 12 Conference awards in October 2008.

Southern California back to top spot in poll

Top-ranked Washington's loss at Colorado last weekend cleared the way for Southern California to climb back into the No. 1 spot in this week's AVCA rankings. The Women of Troy were followed by Florida, Texas, Penn State and Hawaii.

The poll again contains eight Big Ten teams, including both Nebraska opponents this weekend. NU will play at No. 17 Michigan Friday and at No. 7 Michigan State Saturday.

* * *

Video: Nebraska coach John cook at Monday's press conference

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
Tokyo Sushi
$5 for $10 or $10 for $20 toward All-You-Can-Eat Sushi Purchase
Buy Now
BRT ON TWITTER »
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT »
< >