Huskers Wrap Up Spring Season at Minnesota
Courtesy: NU Athletic Communications
Saturday’s match will provide a stern challenge, as the Golden Gophers are 8-1 on the spring, including victories over Texas and Iowa State. Minnesota returns nine letterwinners from a team that went 28-9 and reached the NCAA Semifinals, including first-team All-America middle blocker Lauren Gibbemeyer, who averaged 3.31 kills and 1.43 blocks in 2009.
“We want to do what we did against Illinois where played five sets and rotated a lot of players in the lineup,” Nebraska Coach John Cook. “We are anticipating that they are going to have a big crowd, and want to simulate what would have happen when you have to go on the road for a regional when you have to play a great team in their gym. We have had a good week of practice, and I think we have continued to make strides this spring.”
The Huskers were finally at full strength in practice this week with the return of Lauren Cook and Lindsey Licht, both of whom missed extensive time last week because of illnesses. Licht saw limited action in the win at Illinois, while Cook could make her NU debut this weekend in Minneapolis.
The Huskers return six starters, including AVCA All-American Sydney Anderson, Brooke Delano and Tara Mueller, and 12 letterwinners from a team that won 26 matches before losing in the 2009 Omaha Regional final to Texas.
Both teams have also fortified deep teams with freshmen who arrived early to campus. For Nebraska, Morgan Broekhuis had six kills and four blocks in NU’s win over Illinois last Saturday and was the nation’s No. 2 recruit by Prepvolleyball.com. Minnesota added Ashley Wittman, who was the Gatorade National High School Player of the Year in 2009, and she totaled a match-high 17 kills in the Golden Gophers’ win over Texas.
The Huskers come into the match with a 1-0-1 record following a victory over Illinois last Saturday. In that match, Brooke Delano totaled 16 kills and three blocks, while outside hitters Tara Mueller (16 kills, 13 digs) and Hannah Werth (11 kills, 10 digs) both recorded double-doubles. Sydney Anderson guided a balanced offense with 52 assists and 15 digs, while Kayla Banwarth totaled a match-high 22 digs against the Illini.