Photo Credit: John S. Peterson

Huskers Move Up in AVCA Poll and RPI After 2-0 Week

October 11, 2021

After another 2-0 week, Nebraska is the last Big Ten team undefeated in conference play.

The Huskers took down Penn State in four sets in a Friday night showdown between teams tied atop the standings, then swept Rutgers on Sunday.

Nebraska (12-3, 6-0) moved up seven spots to No. 14 in the second edition of the RPI, and the Huskers moved up one spot in this week’s AVCA Coaches Poll to No. 9.

Wisconsin (No. 4), Purdue (No. 6) and Ohio State (No. 10) are Big Ten teams ahead of Nebraska in the RPI this week.

The win over Penn State was Nebraska’s second win over a ranked opponent in five tries. After sweeping then-No. 19 Creighton in Omaha, the Huskers lost their last three nonconference matches against then-No.20 Utah, No. 16 Stanford and No. 5 Louisville.

“They’re pretty excited,” Coach John Cook said during his post-Penn State radio interview about the mood in the locker room. “The top teams we’ve played so far this year we haven’t beat, the ones that were ranked high. We lost to Utah, we lost to Stanford and we got smoked by Louisville, so this is really our first big win. And again, we have three freshmen out there playing in front of this and they’ve got the men’s volleyball team standing right there, talking to our servers or Ally [Batenhorst] and Madi [Kubik] and dressed up in goofy uniforms. So this is not an easy place to play and I thought they handled it really well.”

Wisconsin (13-1) moved up on spot to No. 4. Purdue (13-2) and Ohio State (14-2) held steady at No. 6 and No. 7, respectively. Minnesota (9-5) dropped four spots to No. 12 after a weekend split with the Michigan schools, falling to the Wolverines in five sets on Friday before bouncing back for a four-set win over the Spartans on Saturday. Penn State (12-4) dropped two spots to No. 15 after the loss to Nebraska.

Illinois (11-6) is first among the others receiving votes with 39 points. Michigan (10-5) is 29th with 25 points.

Texas (13-0) remained at No. 1 after rallying from a 0-2 deficit to beat Kansas on Saturday. Pittsburgh (15-1) fell from No. 2 to No. 4 after suffering its first loss of the season, falling to a ranked Georgia Tech team in five sets. That cleared the way for Louisville (14-0) to move up to No. 2.

Utah (11-4) dropped two spots to No. 17, Stanford (9-5) fell one spot to No. 18 and Creighton (17-2) held its place at No. 19.

Wisconsin, Purdue and Penn State are all right behind Nebraska at 5-1 in league play. Ohio State and Minnesota are 4-2.

After taking sole possession of first place in the Big Ten standings, Nebraska also cleaned up during the weekly awards. Nebraska has the Big Ten Setter of the Week, Freshman of the Week and Co-Player of the week.

Madi Kubik has earned her second career Big Ten Player of the Week honor, splitting the award with Ohio State’s Emily Londot. Kubik averaged 4.29 kills per set on .250 hitting and 3.0 digs per set. She recorded her second double-double of the season with 19 kills and 12 digs against Penn State on Wednesday and she followed it up up 11 kills and nine digs against Rutgers on Sunday. Kubik has led the Huskers in kills in each of Nebraska’s first six Big Ten matches.

Hames guided the Huskers to a pair of wins after averaging 11.29 assists and 2.86 digs per set while chipping in six block assists, two aces and two kills. She recorded her eighth double-double of the season with a season-high 49 assists and 12 digs against Penn State, guiding the Huskers to a .244 hitting percentage against the Big Ten’s top blocking team. The Big Ten Setter of the Week honor is the first of her career.

Libero Lexi Rodriguez rounded out the honorees by earning Big Ten Freshman of the Week, her second honor of the season. She averaged 5.14 and 1.14 assists digs per set while serving two aces as the Huskers held their two opponents to a combined .125 hitting. She put up 19 digs and four assists in a four-set win over the Nittany Lions then followed it up with 17 digs, four assists and two aces against the Scarlet Knights.

Nebraska will face a pair of unranked teams in Lincoln this week as Indiana (8-10, 2-4) comes to town on Wednesday and Illinois (3-3 Big Ten) visits on Saturday.

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