Nebraska 3, Louisville
Nebraska 3, Louisville 0ÂDec. 10, 2004
Christina Houghtelling had 13 kills and 10 digs to lead the Nebraska Cornhuskers to a sweep of the Louisville Cardinals in regional semifinal volleyball action in the Louisville bracket.
Play was fairly even early in the first game. The Cornhuskers (30-1) used a 4-0 run to open a 13-8 lead. Nebraska used several short run to keep the momentum. The Cornhuskers scored five or the games last eight points to win game one.
After taking an 11-8 lead in game two, Louisville (30-3) scored five of the next six points to take a 13-12 lead of its own. The Cornhuskers rallied right back with a 5-0 run to take the lead once again, 17-13. The two teams battled from that point, but the Cornhuskers would not let Louisville gain any momentum.
Tied at eight early in the third game, Nebraska scored five straight to sieze control and force a Louisville timeout. Following the timeout, Nebraska scored four straight. A Cornhusker attack error ended the 9-0 run.
Nebraska continued its relentless attack, completing the sweep without letting Louisville any closer than seven the rest of the way.
Nebraska will face the Southern California Women of Troy in the region final Saturday evening.
Louisville coach Leonid Yelin
"We've never had such a big crowd. I would like to thank our fans for coming and cheering for us, they are the best fans. They don't cheer only when the team wins. They are always behind us and believe in us. I hope they will come back and support us because it's the only way we can get better, we can't do this without them. "
"I think we could have played better. Part of the reason we didn't was due to the great game Nebraska played. Our key players - outside hitters were hitting under .100, for the first time this season. We have to credit Nebraska for that. We did a great job blocking. We are still positive because we have a big returning class, we only lose two players. We're a young team, have a lot of things to work on. Tonight was a great experience and a great lesson we can learn from."
On the play of Nebraska
"Unfortunately we don't have even one team in our conference which is even close to the level of Nebraska. It doesn't even help us to play a long season if it's not against top competition. All season long we lost only two games including the first and second rounds. So I think Nebraska playing in the Big 12, a much stronger conference, the kids get used to almost every night having to fight. It prepares them much better for this kind of night.
On team's poor hitting performance
I think it stems from our passing because the outside always had a double block, the middles couldn't do a lot to hold the blockers and the outside couldn't do a lot against two blockers which was not necessarily what we were used to because we usually pass a lot better than that.
On her play
I tried a lot of things and they just didn't work and that's usually when players start making mistakes because you get frustrated when stuff that always works, doesn't. That's why everything just falls down, our serving, our passing....
On the home crowd
When we all came out, it was a rush, but personally I don't think about anything once I'm on the court it's all about volleyball. Sometimes when we have a big crowd you have to block it out when you're on the court and you've got to play your game and be mentally ready. I think some of our teammates weren't mentally prepared. They came in and were excited, but it took us awhile to get where we really needed to be where we were passing better and hitting better off of the passing. It was a great experience.
Nebraska coach John Cook
"It was a great win for our team. I thought the crowd was great tonight. You could really feel a lot of energy from the crowd down on the court. It was great to see their crowd come out and support Louisville volleyball. I thought our kids did a great job of working through mistakes, staying composed and finding a way to win each game. We were able to dictate how we wanted to play with our serving and our defense. It was a great win, that's what it's all about in the NCAA tournament."
"They started playing really well. We had a chance to side out and a couple of times to win, but we just didn't get it done with them right in the game. We maintained our composure and found a way to win that game. This was a great win against Louisville who is an excellent team on their home court. This is probably one of the biggest matches in the history of their program. The regionals, the crowd, playing Nebraska, there was a lot of pressure tonight and I thought our kids did a great job finding ways to be successful."
On the feeling on the court in second game lead change
"When the game was on the line, of course everyone wants the ball, I really felt that tonight. I knew I wanted the ball and I wanted to make a difference."
How important it was to win the second game
"When you get into those stretches in a tight game like that, the adrenaline is really flowing. It was great for Chris to come up and make a big play like that. When you get in those types of stretches, teams tend to back off and start tipping the ball just to not make a mistake. She just went up and wasn't afraid to make an error. I think that was a big turning point for us."
On Louisville's size
"That forces us to make good passes on our outside, but a couple of times we just forced it down into their big blocks. We adjusted to it, we took advantage of their weaknesses."
-- Courtesy Louisville