Notable quotes from Nebraska’s 3-0 win over Washington, which sends the Huskers to Columbus, Ohio, for the Final Four.
Nebraska Coach John Cook on if the Huskers felt less pressure against Washington than Penn State.
“No question. Penn State was the third time. Look at Wisconsin yesterday against Ohio State, us against Penn State; it’s tough to beat a team a third time. They’re in the tournament, but they’re not expected to win. There’s no pressure on a Penn State or an Ohio State, for example. All the pressure was on us. If we blow it at home then it’s a tough loss. You saw how well Penn State played. To get through that, it’s a huge mental barrier, a huge weight off us, and we played so much freer today. As you go through this tournament, you have to get in some situations where you have to dig out. Last time we were in a tough situation was at Minnesota and we almost dug out of that. It gives you a lot of confidence when it’s almost over and you dig out and come back.“
Junior setter Kelly Hunter on Nebraska’s success playing out of system.
“We came out swinging from the very beginning. We knew it was going to be a lot of out-of-system [play] because they’re a great team and they swing nice and deep. We knew it was going to come down to out-of-system and we practice that every single day. Everyone did their best to put up a hittable ball and our hitters just took rips off the top of their block and underneath it.“
Cook on outhitting Washington .437 to .088.
“Both are very impressive. To do that in a regional final is really, really impressive. Us hitting .437 [is probably more impressive] because they’re a very good blocking team. You saw that yesterday. They literally shut down Arizona. They made more errors. That’s not normal for them. I think part of their game plan, they like to go high hands and hit off and get kills. I think they were going for our hands. But our blockers today, unlike yesterday, were doing a great job of getting low and not high. Yesterday we were high and learned on Penn State that good hitters are going to hit it high off those hands.”
Hunter on how this trip to the Final Four is different than last year’s.
“It being in Omaha was a huge incentive for us [last year]. We were just happy to get there. We didn’t know we were going to win. Obviously, that’s everyone goal, but our main goal of the season was to get there. This year our main goal is to win it all. It’s just a little bit of a different feeling, but all of the same excitement is there.”
Senior outside hitter Kadie Rolfzen on playing her last match in Lincoln.
“I’ve been essentially committed to this program for eight years. It’ll be weird coming into practice on Monday and Tuesday knowing we’re not going to play here again, but it was a great four years to play in front of the best fans in college volleyball and we know they’re going to come out in Columbus, too.”
Cook on trying to defend a national title.
“This group is trying to do what’s never been done before [at Nebraska]. In 2001 we came back and went to the Final Four. In 2006, we didn’t make it [the following year]. So this was our next shot to get out. It’s a hard thing to do. Now we’ve got one goal left, to make history here.”
Cook on which team, Texas or Creighton, he’d like to see in next week’s semifinal.
“It would be great to play Creighton. You talk about the volleyball world going crazy, in Nebraska that would be special.”
Brandon is the Managing Editor for Hail Varsity and has covered Nebraska athletics for the magazine and web since 2012, Hail Varsity’s first season on the scene. His sports writing has also been featured by Fox Sports, The Guardian and CBS Sports.