Nebraska volleyball sweeps the season opener over Utah

Lincoln – Nebraska played three freshmen in their first game of the season.

The display by these players – center fielder Bergen Riley, outside hitter Harper Murray and defensive specialist Lanny Chopuy – along with coach John Cook’s post-game comments suggest they will still get a chance to show what they can do.

In the first game of her college career, Murray had a solid all-around game and played just in time to help the Huskers sweep Utah State on Friday 25-20, 25-17, 25-17.

Nebraska won the last five points of the game.

Murray finished with nine kills and led Nebraska hitters with a . 350 batting percentage. It added five blocks and one ace.

The Huskers’ other starters were outside hitter Lindsay Krause, right-handed batter Merritt Beason, middle blockers Bekka Allick, Maggie Mendelson, and libero Lexi Rodriguez.

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Riley had 26 assists and four kills in six attempts. It also had seven fossils and three blocks.

Riley earned the right to start at the setter position, Cook said, as the Huskers also own little Kennedy Orr.

“Day by day, she’s usually one of our best servers, getting better as a goalkeeper, setting a really good pace, setting the middle really well,” said Cook. Her back sets are world class. If you really know volleyball, some of her back sets are elite. She is a great competitor.

“It was very close, but with time I’m a few points better at the moment.”

Riley knew a few hours before the match was going to start.

“(Cook) kind of said this team has a lot of faith in you and you’ve given us reason to trust you and we have complete faith in you,” Riley said. “That was his logic.”

Bison, also in her first game at Nebraska, had nine kills.

Alec had a solid all-around match with five kills in eight attempts, seven blocks and one ace.

In the first set, Nebraska began to roll through the stretch when both Alec and Murray had blocks.

Murray made the set-point kill with a mid-court blast. She was also strong at the end of the second set with a block and a kill for NU’s final two points.

Cook said Murray had a solid start. She’s got a triple advantage on 21 goals to serve, and teams will continue to challenge her in this way.

“You’ll get the balls served, because when you’re up there with Lexie and Lani they’ll serve it up,” Cook said.

Besson made more mistakes than Murray, but he also dazzled the crowd several times with his killing spree in the back rows.

“It worked,” Riley said. “It’s hard to stop when we get that connection. We’re going to keep working on that and keep trying to perfect that, and it’s going to be hard to stop.”

Outside hitter Shelby Caplanch had nine kills in Utah. 286 batting percentage and limited the Aggies to 0.061.

Nebraska plays Lipsump (0-1) at 5 p.m. on Saturday. Lipscomb lost to SMU 25-17, 25-16, 25-21 earlier Friday in Game 1 of the Ameritas Players Challenge.

With three games over three days to start the season, the Huskers will likely be working on a few players this weekend, including another freshman at middle blocker Andy Jackson.

“We kind of told them this is the group that’s going to lead our scramble tonight,” Cook said. “We’re a herd of horses rushing into the season, and this is the group that would have led the stampede tonight. We’re going to mix it up a bit (Saturday).”

Bergen Riley and Harper Murray after Nebraska’s season-opening win over Utah

Nebraska volleyball scrimmage recap and preview of the 2023 season

Contact the author at 402-473-7435 or on Twitter @LJSSportsWagner.

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