NU volleyball, 8.24

Hayley Densberger returns a serve during the Red-White Scrimmage last month at the Devaney Sports Center.

What means the most after last week is that the Nebraska volleyball team is still undefeated with a 4-0 record, and that’s something that several top-10 teams can't say after a week filled with upsets.

Nebraska stayed undefeated by rallying to beat then-No. 25 San Diego on Saturday, winning the final two sets for a five-set win.

But by winning the hard way, Nebraska coach John Cook hopes it will create a sense of urgency in how the players train and play.

One of the areas that hurt the Huskers against San Diego was in serve receive -- an area in which the Huskers were not expected to be as sharp to begin the season. Two of Nebraska’s passers who get targeted a lot in serving are freshmen Madi Kubik and Kenzie Knuckles.

It’s a huge difference going from passing in high school and club matches to college, and Cook has an analogy for that challenge -- making a quick decision on who will take the ball, and then executing with near-perfect fundamentals.

“So they’re serving from the end line, so it’s 30 feet to get to the net and then about another 20 feet to get to the passer,” Cook said. “So we’re looking at 50 feet and those serves are going between 37 and 43 miles per hour. So stand in the road out there and get a car coming and 50 feet away you got to make a decision which way you’re going to go to get out of the way. That’s what you got to do. In high school they’re not serving that hard.”

Passing is a skill that’s always a work in progress, Cook said.

“San Diego served really tough, but we’re going to have to learn to match that as passers,” Cook said. “We did not pass well. … We got to get better by the Big Ten.”

Matches like the one Nebraska was able to win on Saturday help build resilience, Cook said.

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“You’re looking for big wins early in the year to help build that confidence,” he said. “So anytime you can get those they’re big confidence builders, especially for as young of team as we have.”

Recruit rankings: PrepVolleyball.com has released its rankings of the top 100 high school seniors, and Nebraska recruit Kalynn Meyer is ranked No. 21. She’s a 6-foot-3 middle blocker from Superior and the only scholarship recruit in the Huskers’ class. The No. 1 recruit in the class is Taylor Landfair. She’s a 6-4 outside hitter from Illinois who is committed to Minnesota. Landfair was recruited by Nebraska.

New teams in the top 10: Four of the top-10 teams in the American Volleyball Coaches Association poll from last week lost at least one match, meaning there are some new teams in the top 10 this week. Baylor jumped from 17th to fifth, marking its best all-time ranking. Pittsburgh (sixth) and Marquette (seventh) also moved up.

Stanford is still No. 1 and is now receiving all 64 first-place votes. Nebraska stays at No. 2. Creighton moved up to 17th.


* Nebraska’s trip to San Diego was made possible so that junior Lexi Sun could play close to home, and Cook already has a similar trip planned for next year. Nebraska will go to Fort Worth, Texas, to play in a tournament at TCU. Outside hitter Capri Davis and backup setter Nicole Drewnick are each from the Dallas area.

* Davis didn’t play last week due to an abdominal injury.

* With the Nebraska-Illinois football game now set for 7 p.m. on Sept. 21, the Nebraska volleyball home match against Wichita State that day will be played at 3 p.m. The match will be televised on NET.

* All three teams coming to Lincoln this week for the Ameritas Players Challenge — High Point, Denver and Loyola Marymount — were in the NCAA Tournament last season.

Reach the writer at 402-473-7435 or bwagner@journalstar.com. On Twitter @LJSSportsWagner.


Sports reporter

Brent has worked at the Journal Star for 14 years. His beats include Nebraska volleyball, women's basketball and high school soccer and cross country.

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