LINCOLN — During practice on Monday, the Nebraska volleyball team didn’t dwell too long on everything that went wrong during its five-set win against Iowa.
Instead, the sixth-ranked Huskers are eager to move on after being forced to go the distance against an Iowa team that had lost its previous five matches. Nebraska enters one of the most critical weeks of the season as it travels to play No. 7 Minnesota and No. 5 Wisconsin this weekend.
“It will be a 30-second harp and then we are moving on at the beginning of practice,” NU coach John Cook said about addressing the issues from the Iowa match.
Even with 25 hitting errors, eight service errors and five Hawkeye aces, sophomore setter Nicklin Hames said the mistakes against Iowa were largely fixable.
“We weren’t in the right mindset or communicating,” she said. “It just showed out on the court. We’re going to work on those this week. It’s things we can control.”
Cook said the Huskers’ lack of focus was evident at the end of sets. In each of the last three sets, NU failed to convert its first set point because of a service error.
Lexi Sun’s struggles were the most evident as she finished with eight kills and nine errors. However, Cook said because of a lack of depth at the outside hitter position, they need to learn from the mistakes during the course of the match.
Nebraska eventually responded with an efficient fifth set with nine kills on 15 swings.
“We can’t get where we can just turn on the switch when we need to,” Cook said. “That’s the lesson we have to learn from that match. They certainly played well and played almost a perfect fifth game.”
In the long history of multisport athletes to succeed while playing volleyball at Nebraska, Cook believes Kalynn Meyer is the next in line.
Meyer, who was the lone scholarship signee last week, is a state champion in volleyball, basketball and track and field. She is the No. 21 volleyball prospect in the nation by PrepVolleyball.com and was named The World-Herald’s prep athlete of the year twice.
Her success in other sports should translate naturally to the volleyball court. Cook compared the motion of a layup to that required by a middle blocker to hit a slide.
“Physically, she’s a big, strong girl,” Cook said. “She can run. She can move. She’s got a pretty fast arm. She’s very coachable and is going to work hard. She’s a big, physical athlete who can move. It’s hard to find athletes like that, especially from Superior, Nebraska.”
Cook said Meyer reminded him of All-American Christina Houghtelling, who was a state champion in the high jump and triple jump at Cambridge.
Meyer might continue her track career at Nebraska. Cook said he talked to NU track and field coach Gary Pepin about Meyer throwing for the Huskers. Because volleyball’s practice schedule is lighter in the spring, she could do both sports.
“We’ve talked about it when we recruited her,” Cook said. “If she wants to do that, yeah, sure.”
Kubik is top freshman again
Outside hitter Madi Kubik was named the Big Ten freshman of the week on Monday, her second honor of the season.
Kubik averaged 4.38 kills per set as she recorded 35 kills in wins over Michigan State and Iowa last week. The West Des Moines, Iowa, native also set a career best of 16 digs in a five-set win against Iowa.