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After falling to Michigan in first set, NU volleyball digs out a win

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The Wolverines stormed the NU Coliseum court swinging.

In Sunday’s matchup against the Nebraska volleyball team, Michigan opened with four consecutive points to begin the match.

The fast swings forced Husker coach John Cook to call a timeout.

“We couldn’t do anything,” he said. “Michigan was playing really well and bringing it to us. We just weren’t checked in.”

Michigan (14-4, Big Ten 2-2), a team that came into the match 10th in the Big Ten, won the first set, 25-21.

But like Nebraska football’s game the night before, Cook’s team displayed poise and never gave up.

The No. 6 Huskers (11-2, 3-1) went on to capture the next three sets to defeat the Wolverines.

Cook said he was pleased with how the Huskers were able to step up their performances after the first set.

“I think they realized they need to crank it up a gear,” he said. “Lauren (Cook) got us a big run in game two and we got some confidence from there.”

In the succeeding set, the Huskers hailed out a 5-0 advantage before a Michigan timeout. Though Michigan would score on the following serve, the minor setback didn’t appear to intimidate Nebraska one bit.

Behind Morgan Broekhuis’ six kills, two digs and three blocks, the Huskers captured the second set, 25-13.

The team’s comeback after the loss in the first set reminded Cook of another Husker team’s performance this weekend.

“It was similar to last night’s football game,” Cook said. “Now I know how Bo felt after the first quarter.”

After hitting just .133 in the first set, the Huskers swung for a .548 hitting percentage in the second set. And the team wasn’t done swinging for high numbers either.

Like its previous set, Nebraska stormed out to a 4-0 lead in the third set and never looked back.

Though Michigan’s Jennifer Cross threatened the Huskers lead with four kills down the stretch, NU went on to win 25-17. NU’s Hayley Thramer and Broekhuis led the team in the third set with four kills each; overall, the team managed a .353 hitting percentage in the set.

It was evident that the team’s motto of ‘unfinished business’ was in the back of their minds after their first set defeat.

“We just took care of our side of the net and passed the ball … we started to pay attention to the little things,” Broekhuis said

Through three games Nebraska was feeling comfortable, Cook said. But then came the fourth set.

After starting out with an illustrious 4-0 lead for the third set in a row, then extending that lead to 8-3, the Huskers quickly found themselves in trouble.

In the next eight serves, the Wolverines would go on a 6-2 run to slim the Husker lead to 10-9. After seeing their comeback slide away to 17-11 score before finally calling a timeout, Michigan came back to score four consecutive points.

After a Nebraska timeout, Michigan scored four more points to inch back to a 20-19 deficit, forcing Nebraska to call another timeout. But the 30 second break would be all the Huskers would need.

The Huskers finished the set on a 5-2 run to defeat the Wolverines 25-21 and win their third conference match in a row.

“We just got the momentum going, crowd into it and took off from there,” Cook said.

Broekhuis, who record the match’s last kill, finished with a team-high 16 kills and eight blocks. Gina Mancuso added 12 kills and tied Lauren Cook with a team-leading 16 digs; Cook also had 48 assists.

Thramer, who finished the match with 12 kills, seven blocks and a team-high .450 hitting percentage, said she credits Cook for her outstanding performance against Michigan.

“She definitely was trusting me tonight and I was trusting her,” Thramer said. “She even said, ‘Thanks for trusting me on that one’ and I just told her, ‘I trust you every time’”.

After the team’s third Big Ten win, the Huskers will have four days off before traveling to West Lafayette, Ind., to face Purdue.

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