LINCOLN — The starters did what they were supposed to do against the backups in the Nebraska volleyball team’s scrimmage, but Capri Davis wasn’t about to be relegated to a reserve role.
Playing against the Red team, which was made up of the projected starters, Davis put up 16 kills in the first two sets. Then in a planned move, the sophomore outside hitter switched to the Red team and recorded kills on two of her three swings.
The Red team won the scrimmage 25-18, 25-21, 25-20 Saturday night at the Devaney Center.
Coach John Cook said Davis has played at that high level the past few days in practice and he was excited to see it translate to the scrimmage.
“When she is playing like she was tonight and going over the block ... it’s hard to stop her,” he said. “Those are game-changing hits.”
Last year as a freshman, Davis saw action in 26 matches and finished with 79 kills, including 18 against Creighton. Cook said her biggest weakness last year was consistency, but the 6-foot-1 product of Mansfield, Texas, showed no signs of a letdown as she finished with a .467 hitting percentage.
Davis also used a variety of swings at the net, but her most impressive hits were back-row attacks coming right down the pipe. Junior outside hitter Lexi Sun said Davis played “unreal” and was glad to have her on the Red team for the final set.
“We’ve seen glimpses of it in practices every day. It’s just props to Capri and how hard she’s been working,” Sun said. “This summer she’s been going into the gym and really getting after it. Tonight it just showed. I’m having a proud mom moment.”
Davis wasn’t the only one who put up solid numbers. Sophomore setter Nicklin Hames connected well with her middle blockers as Callie Schwarzenbach finished with 10 kills and Lauren Stivrins terminated on all seven of her attacks.
Sun finished with 11 kills to pace the Red team, while freshman Madi Kubik of West Des Moines finished with a combined eight kills as she also split time between the squads.
The one area that Cook singled out for improvement was serving. The Huskers combined for 23 service errors while recording just six aces.
After the match, Cook thanked the sellout crowd of 7,946. He said teams make the biggest jump in play from the first match to the second, so it was important to simulate a real match for the scrimmage.
While Cook said he was impressed with how comfortable the players were on the court, he admitted he was nervous before the scrimmage. The players could barely contain their excitement for their first public match of the year.
“I can’t remember the last time I saw a team so excited in practice,” Cook said. “It was like they were little kids on Halloween. They know what’s coming that night. They are just excited and bouncing off the walls all day and they were just giddy.”
White.......18 21 20
Red..........25 25 25
W (kills-aces-blocks): Davis 16-0-1, Zuhn 4-0-1, Sato 4-0-1, Kubik 3-0-0, Szabo 1-0-0, Stutheit 1-0-0, Densberger 0-2-0, Rolfzen 0-0-1. Totals 29-2-4.
R: Sun 11-1-2, Schwarzenbach 10-0-0, Stivrins 7-0-5, Kubik 5-0-0, Sweet 5-1-0, Hames 2-0-0, Davis 2-0-0, Knuckles 0-2-0. Totals 42-4-7.
Set assists: W 29 (Drewnick 25, Miller 2, Kubik 1, Sato 1), R 39 (Hames 29, Knuckles 2, Sweet 2, Stivrins 2, Davis 1, Kubik 1, Sun 1, Schwarzenbach 1).
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Densberger lifter of the year
Defensive specialist Hayley Densberger was named the volleyball team’s lifter of the year. The junior from Malcolm received a trophy before the third set.
Sun called the award well deserved.
“Hayley is one of the hardest- working girls on our team,” Sun said. “She shows it in the gym and when we are lifting every day. Hayley is a stud and has been working really hard in the offseason.”