Nebraska Uses "The Gun" to Beat UCLA

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Over the off season Nebraska volleyball coach John Cook met with Tom Osborne, asking him what it takes to repeat.

Well, apparently, Cook got more than advice, he got a page out of Osborne's playbook.

It's like the old option play at Nebraska," Cook said afterward. "It's the fullback up the middle. And if you can't stop it, you're in big trouble."

The play, called "the gun" features the two middle-blockers being used as offensive weapons. It's a quick-hitting set, that drove UCLA crazy Saturday night.

"That's a fun play," Tracy Stalls said, referring to "the gun." "I mean she's all tricky, [Rachel Holloway] fakes me out, because she's going up and down. But it's really effective because a lot of times we end up one-on one, and so it's like, either cut it one way or the other. And so it's just a really fun play to run."

Nebraska's middle blockers pounded out 26 kills, with zero hitting errors. A stat line John Cook's not so sure, he's ever seen before.

"Last year people thought that was a weakness of our team," Cook said, "we're trying to make it a strength, and certainly tonight it was a big strength for us."

The middle was wide-open, with UCLA keying in on Nebraska's All-American outside hitters. Still, Sara Pavan, Jordan Larson, and Christian Houghtelling hit double-figures in kills, resulting in an impressive AVCA Showcase win, against the #5 team int he county.

This team's got some big time play-makers," Cook said. "And when the game's on the line we're able to raise it up, and that's I knew that, but each season's new so that was good to see"

"Just finding a way to win," Pavan said. "This game tonight was a battle and we didn't let up at all. It's just really a great testament to the great fight that we all possess."

With a pair of weekend wins, Nebraska remains perfect here at the Qwest Center. But now it's back to their real home, the NU Coliseum.