After defeating Michigan State, 3-0, Saturday, IU volleyball (15-13) looks to build on its current two-game win streak when it visits No. 7 Nebraska (22-4) Wednesday.
“The weird thing is Nebraska gets eight, nine thousand fans, but they’re not boisterous kind of fans,” IU Coach Sherry Dunbar-Kruzan said. “They’re very intelligent about volleyball, so they like to see good volleyball. It’s not an intimidating place, but it’s an awesome place.”
Senior outside hitter Amelia Anderson said because the fans are so knowledgeable, they are known to cheer for the opposing team if they have good plays.
However, Anderson said there is much more to succeeding in a volleyball match besides the atmosphere the players are surrounded by. In order to bring home a win it comes down to strategy, and IU knows what adjustments to make after playing Nebraska in a 3-0 loss two weeks ago, Anderson said.
“They’re pretty much the same,” Anderson said. “We’re pretty much the same, too. We’re trying to make adjustments like where we’re going to score and how we’re going to get around their big block.”
Nebraska’s usual middle blockers stand at 6-foot-3 in comparison to IU’s middle blockers who range from 6 feet to 6-foot-3.
Although not impossible, trying to put balls down on an opposing side can be strategically harder against a much larger team. Anderson said the best way to top an opponent who out-sizes them is by playing smart and with speed.
Though the Hoosiers want to play fast, the Cornhuskers have already proven they can play fast, too. Nebraska sophomore setter Kelly Hunter had a 0.800 hit percentage against IU in the teams’ last meeting and junior hitter Amber Rolfzen hit 0.750. Dunbar-Kruzan said the Hoosiers counter fast play with serving.
“If you get them out of system and don’t have three attackers to deal with, then you can modify what you’re doing with your block defense,” Dunbar-Kruzan said. “So it starts with our serving and then we really have to transition in score points right away and not give them more opportunities to score.”
Dunbar-Kruzan said offensively IU will have to change slightly in order to successfully combat Nebraska, but the team doesn’t doubt its chances to deliver an upset.
“They’re going to play us tough,” Anderson said. “We know that. We’re going to have to go in there and give them everything we have.”