“I do want to say that our players were rattled during ‘The Star-Spangled Banner’ because we had fans getting on the Maryland players,” Cook said. “We had a couple of players that were upset that were actually playing in the match.
“I just don’t think that’s our fans' place to say things during a match. It’s putting judgment on the other team, and this is a volleyball match. We’re not here to do that. So I’m a little disappointed that happened. And our players apologized to the Maryland players after the match. There are other ways to express people’s opinions, but not right after ‘The Star-Spangled Banner’ and introductions.”
Just moments after the match ended, the Nebraska players called the Maryland players to the middle of the court to apologize.
“Normally they don’t shake hands, and they called them over and talked to them,” said Cook, who began his career as a high school social studies teacher.
“We got a classy team. Again, I’m disappointed that happens at Nebraska at a volleyball match. I hope it doesn’t happen again. We all have our personal views on that, but that’s not the place to say anything.”
In a statement provided to the Journal Star on Saturday, Nebraska athletic director Trev Alberts shared Cook’s disappointment.
“I would echo Coach Cook’s comments from last night after the match,” Alberts said. “I am disappointed that some of our fans would react that way, and apologize to the Maryland volleyball program. Our athletic events at Nebraska should always be a place where people can come together to enjoy great competition in a respectful environment.”
Photos: Nebraska blows by Maryland in Friday night volleyball action
Brent Wagner has worked at the Journal Star for 19 years, including 11 years covering the Nebraska volleyball program. His other beats include Nebraska women’s basketball, high school cross country and high school soccer.
Nebraska volleyball players, including Lauren Stivrins (26), Madi Kubik, Nicklin Hames (1) and Kayla Caffey (left) went over to apologize to Maryland players, like Rainelle Jones (right) after the game on Friday at the Devaney Sports Center. A few Nebraska spectators yelled at kneeling Maryland players to "stand up" during the national anthem.