Nebraska takes over the No. 1 slot then immediately faces a challenger in a top-five matchup. And on top of that… this is a REMATCH of the 2021 DI women’s volleyball national championship. Remember the one where Wisconsin won its first-ever title in program history in a five-set thriller? Yes, that one. I couldn’t be MORE excited for this matchup.
The Huskers have a lot of familiar faces from last year’s team, but Wisconsin looks fairly different. The Badgers do, however, still have the MOP of the national championship match — Anna Smrek, along with a few other players like Devyn Robinson, Jade Demps, etc. The new faces include Caroline Crawford, Sarah Franklin and could also include Danielle Hart, who was on the team last season but was injured.
Nebraska has been rolling through its opponents so far this season. The Huskers are unbeaten in the Big Ten so far and have only one loss on the season to a top-10 team in Stanford. They have swept their last six opponents, and three of them were ranked. They have looked really balanced offensively and just overall have cleaned up their game as the season has progressed. Wisconsin has won eight since its loss to Minnesota earlier in Big Ten play. The Badgers are the second-best blocking team in the nation, but Nebraska leads in opponent hitting percentage. I think the match is going to come down to offense and execution.
Nebraska is 19-11-1 all-time against Wisconsin, but the Badgers have won the last eight meetings between the two teams. The teams met three times last year, including the NCAA championship match on Dec. 18 in Columbus, Ohio. Wisconsin prevailed 3-2 after jumping out to a 7-0 lead in the decisive fifth set. Nebraska came back to get within two at 14-12, but it wasn’t enough. All five sets were decided by two or three points.