In what junior Lindsay Krause called the most competitive Red-White Scrimmage she’s been a part of at Nebraska, the Red team beat the White 3-1 on Saturday.
Though the Red team won three of the four sets, the aggregate score was even as the White team earned the biggest set win to offset three deuce-game losses. Red won 25-23, 25-23, 19-25, 27-25.
“For those of you guys that listened, I told you it was going to be a great match,” Coach John Cook said, echoing Krause’s thoughts. “You saw a great match, by far the best Red-White we’ve ever had here since I’ve been here. Both teams played some great volleyball and it was fun to watch and I think our fans got their money’s worth. I think our players feel pretty good about where they’re at right now and the hard work they’ve put in getting to this point and they were able to go out there and perform. Sometimes the Red-Whites can get really ugly and sloppy, but there was some really good volleyball.”
The Red team included setter Bergen Reilly, outside hitters Ally Batenhorst and Harper Murray, opposite hitter Merritt Beason and libero Lexi Rodriguez, The White team featured setter Kennedi Orr, outside hitters Krause and Hayden Kubik, opposite hitter Caroline Jurevicius and defensive specialists Laney Choboy and Maisie Boesiger, with Choboy playing libero. The three middle blockers — Bekka Allick, Maggie Mendelson and Andi Jackson — rotated between the two teams.
“We tried to make the teams as even as we could, and this is a repeat from Thursday in practice,” Cook said. “We did games to rehearse for this so they would be more comfortable and every game was deuce … So this is just a repeat of Thursday’s practice. That’s why I felt pretty confident that this was going to be a heck of a match.”
Neither team found points easy to come by as the Red hit .141 and the White hit .171. The two sides combined for 15 aces and 21 errors from the service line.
Newcomers Beason and Murray finished with 13 kills apiece, hitting .132 and .179 and notching 11 and 12 digs, respectively. Reilly finished with 36 aces, 16 digs and four aces, hitting the double-double threshold midway through the second set. Rodriguez led the team with 18 digs.
Krause led the way with 16 kills on 59 swings (20 more swings than any other player), hitting .169 with nine digs and four aces. Kubik added 13 kills on .179 hitting and nine digs. Orr finished with 29 assists and eight digs. Choboy led everyone with 19 digs.
Allick led the middles with 10 kills on .200 hitting with seven blocks while Jackson matched her in kills, hitting .438 with six blocks.
The first two sets were tight throughout, featuring 17 ties and eight lead changes, but the Red team played cleaner volleyball down the stretch in both games to take a 2-0 lead.
Red out-hit White .202 to .127 in the first two sets behind nine kills on .300 hitting from Murray and eight kills on .286 hitting from Beason. Murray said it was great to play in front of the Devaney Center crowd for the first time.
“All the freshmen, we all talked about it,” Murray said. “We were super nervous, but we knew going into this that it was going to be a great match and having the upperclassmen be there by our side, because they’ve been through this, it meant the world to us. So just to see what Nebraska volleyball is all about, that was a perfect game for it and it was it was amazing.”
After a back-and-forth start to set three, White used a 4-0 run served by Krause to take a 16-11 lead and maintained control the rest of the way to extend the match.
Krause led the Red team with five kills and two aces in the set as Red hit .387 with just one error and held White to .118 including eight errors.
After a clean third set, White dug itself a 9-2 hole with an error-filled start to set four, and the struggles continued as Red extended its lead out to 13 at 19-6. Then Allick killed the ball and Boesiger stepped up to the line, serving a 9-0 run featuring four blocks and two kills from Allick to get the White team back into the game. They continued to push, cutting the deficit down to one then surging ahead and earning set point at 25-24.
White misfired on the next point, however, and Reilly served back-to-back aces to close it out.
“That tells you everything,” Cook said about the comeback. “It’s a Red-White; they could have packed that thing in, but they didn’t. It was beautiful. If we sat down and wrote a screenplay for today, we couldn’t have done it any better … Deuce games, big comeback. Even though one team won 3-1, but it could have gone either way, those first two games … So we couldn’t have scripted it any better.”
Red only hit .026 with nine kills compared to 14 kills on .085 hitting for the White, but Red earned a 7-3 edge in service points thanks to four aces.
Cook said the Red-White Scrimmage was another step forward, but he still has has some work to do over the next week to determine his best lineup ahead of the season-opener on Friday.