LINCOLN, Neb. – In John Cook’s opinion, any win in Big Ten play is a great win.
No. 8 Nebraska picked up a ‘great’ win, and sweep, against No. 3 Minnesota 25-21, 25-18, 25-13 inside the Devaney Center Friday evening.
Friday’s sweep for the Huskers was the second straight against a top-three ranked opponent. Last weekend, the Huskers swept No. 2 Penn State on the road. Friday’s sweep was the team's fourth in as many matches, and ninth in the last 10.
“I thought we did a really nice job of playing consistent volleyball, not giving up any big runs,” Cook said.
Nebraska (10-3. 3-0) built an early lead in the first set, forcing Minnesota (13-1, 1-2) to call two timeouts. The Huskers largest lead in the set was seven, but the Gophers rallied to pull within one point, 22-21
Nebraska hung on to win the first set 25-21.
The Huskers picked up right where they left off in the second set, cruising to a 25-18 win, before finishing the match with a quick 25-13 win in the third set.
Senior middle backer Briana Holman, who had 11 kills, said she wasn’t surprised by the final result of the match.
Holman said the game plan the coaches came up with was executed well.
“(Minnesota) changed a little, they had other people come in, but I don’t think we were rattled,” Holman said. “I feel like we focused on our side. So we played really well.”
Holman said a key factor in the Huskers' game plan was to frustrate the Gophers.
“We’ve been doing a lot of different things with blocking,” Holman said. “We just wanted to get in their head and frustrate them. It seemed like every time they hit there was four hands up.”
The strategy worked for Nebraska, which held Minnesota to just 33 kills. The Huskers finished with 52.
Senior setter Kelly Hunter, who finished the match with 11 digs and 43 assists, had a similar take on the Huskers' blocking defense.
“Making the other team have a lack of confidence kind of gives you your own confidence,” Hunter said.
With Nebraska’s above-par play, Hunter said Cook didn’t have much to say to the team during the match, which isn’t normal.
“It’s kind of weird to hear him quiet,” Hunter said. “He’s not as talkative. Sometimes during the match I kind of felt like he didn’t even know what to say.”
Hunter admits the Huskers didn’t play perfect, but she can tell Cook is proud of how the team is playing point-by-point and having a quick mindset.
After the match, Cook had nothing but positive things to say about Nebraska’s defensive play.
“We got enough touches to slow those hitters down when they pass well,” Cook said. “We were really good when they didn’t pass. I thought that was they key.”
Between the second and third sets, former three-time Huskers All-American and two-time Olympian Jordan Larson had her No. 10 jersey retired.
Nebraska returns to action against No. 7 Wisconsin Saturday at 7 p.m. The match will be televised by NET.