Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Defending champs

For the next year, Nebraska's volleyball team will be the defending NCAA champions. The Huskers certainly have a chance to go back-to-back, but it won't be easy. Success one season doesn't guarantee anything for the next. That's something to 2001 team found out after the 2000 team went 34-0 to win the national title.

Nebraska will be good - very good. With Christina Houghtelling coming back, the Huskers will be in a unique situation with two NCAA players of the year on the same team-Houghtelling and this year's winner Sarah Pavan. Tracy Stalls returns along with first-team All-American Jordan Larson and setter Rachel Holloway.

But don't be surpised if coach John Cook goes back to the 6-2 offense. It was extremely effective in 2005 and Cook will have the personnel to make it work next season as well.

Posted by Bob Hamar @ Wednesday, December 20, 2006 || 0 comments

Friday, December 15, 2006

Qwest craziness

Who would have thought 15 or 20 years ago that we would see 17,014 fans pack an arena for a volleyball match? That's just what happened Thursday for Nebraska's national semifinal against UCLA at the Qwest Cetner in Omaha.

The volleyball was hot, the crowd was loud- and in the end happy - when the Huskers came away with a 3-1 win the advance to Saturday's national championship against Stanford. Expect more of the same when the Huskers go for their third national title and the Cardinal for its seventh. Don't be surprised if a new attendance record is set. Somehow, the Qwest people may find a way to squeeze in a few more red-clad fans.

Posted by Bob Hamar @ Friday, December 15, 2006 || 0 comments

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Final Four

Things are hopping in Omaha. Four outstanding college volleyball teams are here. Each one plans on winning a national title this weekend, and each one definitely has a shot.

Nebraska may be the favorite because the Huskers will be playing before a sell-out crowd nearing 17,000 at Qwest Center Omaha, and most of those will be wearing red. That may be enough to carry the Huskers to a title. If the fans can will the Huskers to a couple points a game, that could make the difference.

But UCLA is good. Washington is good. So is Stanford. This won't be a run away for the Big Red. The Huskers are going to have to play their best volleyball, and even then, it might not be enough. But in any case it's going to be fun to be in an environment unlike any before for a college volleyball event.

Posted by Bob Hamar @ Thursday, December 14, 2006 || 0 comments

Sunday, December 10, 2006

What a match

The Husker volleyball team somehow found a way back from a 2-0 deficit to down a determined Minnesota team Saturday in the regional final. Some may have thought it was a break for the Huskers when the Gophers knocked off home-standing Florida. It didn't turn out that way. The Gophers were just a better team than the Gators. NU would have been much better off had Florida won on Friday night.

In any event, the Huskers are on their way to next weekend's festivities in Omaha. First up, UCLA. That will be another tough one for Nebraska. The Bruins are battle-tested in the tough Pac 10 Conference In case you haven't noticed, three of the four Final Four teams are from the Pac 10 - UCLA, Stanford and Washington. Two of those teams-UCLA and Stanford - earned their trips by winning regionals on the road.

Coach John Cook said before the regional that Minnesota, a team NU defeated 3-1 early in the season, was the best team they had played all year. Hang on coach. UCLA is on the way.

Posted by Bob Hamar @ Sunday, December 10, 2006 || 0 comments

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