Wischmeier Plays Big In Role On Court

By NU Athletic Communications
Lincoln -- Lindsay Wischmeier plays one of the most important roles on the Nebraska volleyball team.

But you won’t see her see her pounding a game-winning kill to the opposite side of the court. And you’ll probably never see her stifle an opposing attacker at the net with a block.

The 5-foot-9 junior leaves the bench for three rotations at time to stabilize the Huskers by doing less exciting tasks -- serving, passing and floor defense -- and then she checks out.

So is the job description of a defensive specialist. The work often goes unnoticed, and it’s rarely glamorous.

But it’s definitely necessary.

“Defensive specialists are overlooked all the time,” Wischmeier said. “You’re not getting the big kill. You’re not getting that great block. People think, ‘Oh, she’s too short to be a volleyball player.’”

“But what some people don’t understand is that if you don’t pass well and play good floor defense, your team is never going to be in the position to get that kill or block in the first place.”

Wischmeier made her debut as a defensive specialist last year at the 2000 US Bank/Arby’s Tournament at the NU Coliseum in Lincoln. Wischmeier’s performance wasn’t especially memorable, NU Coach John Cook said, because she was still adjusting to her new role.

The Burchard, Neb., native was one of two starting setters in NU’s 6-2 offense as a freshman in 1999, when she set the Nebraska freshman record for assists in a single-season with 724. She switched to defensive specialist when Cook opted to return to a 5-1 offense with 2000 AVCA Player of the Year Greichaly Cepero at the controls.

The Huskers are hosting the US Bank/Arby’s Tournament once again this weekend. Nebraska, which faced No. 17 Pepperdine Friday night and No. 20 Notre Dame earlier today, will conclude tournament play Sunday in a 3:30 p.m. match against seventh-ranked UCLA.

This time around, Wischmeier, who said it took her the first month of the 2000 season before she felt comfortable in her new role, has been a stabilizer for the Huskers defensively.

“Last year at this time, it was a whole new experience,” Wischmeier said. “It’s a whole different game, because you’re not touching the ball as much. You’re not getting as many opportunites to make a play, so when the opportunity arises, you have to make the most of it.”

And Wischmeier does, Cook said.

“When the opportunity presents itself, or whenever she is in a position to get something done, she always delivers,” Cook said. “Lindsay is very focused and very competitive, and she has a knack for making big plays in big games.”

Wischmeier averaged 2.14 digs per game last season, but her averaged jumped to 2.20 digs per game against ranked teams. She tallied a career-best 18 digs in a regionally televised match at 24rd-ranked Texas A&M last season, as NU broke the Aggies’ 28-match home winning streak.

Wischmeier took her game to an even higher level in the the NCAA Tournament, posting 2.39 digs per game and helping to save the season in Nebraska’s come-from-behind, 3-2 victory over South Carolina in the second round of the NCAA Tournament Dec. 2.

Top-ranked Nebraska trailed the unranked Gamecocks, 2-1, and the Huskers were in danger of dropping a fourth game after allowing USC to build a 12-8 lead. Gamecock setter Cally Plummer had confused the Huskers all night with dumps and tips for 15 kills through the first three games.

The Nebraska coaches instructed Wischmeier to shadow Plummer in the fourth and fifth games, a move that paid off. Wischmeier totaled eight of her 15 digs in games four and five, and Plummer notched just two of her 17 kills in the final two games.

“What I like (about matches like that) is that everyone is looking at you,” Wischmeier said. “It’s a tough situation, and everyone knows that the team needs to make a big defensive play or get a key dig. That’s when you realize how important your role is to your teammates.”

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