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The Student News Site of Burke High School

The Burke Beat

The Student News Site of Burke High School

The Burke Beat

OPINION: Can Nebraska put Texas’ horns down?

The Huskers advance to the NCAA championship in Tampa, will they win it all?
Kassidy Otteman
Left to right: Lexi Rodriguez, Merritt Beason, Laney Choboy, Bekka Allick and Harper Murray. Image courtesy of Nebraska Volleyball by Kassidy Otteman.

Nebraska volleyball has had a near perfect 2023 season, and the Huskers are looking to continue their winning streak in the NCAA national championship.

In the NCAA semifinals the Huskers swept Pittsburgh in three sets and Texas upset Wisconsin in four. The national championship is set for Sun. at 2 p.m. central time at Amalie arena in Tampa, Fla.

Going into the postseason Nebraska earned the number one overall seed, and Texas was seeded at two.  Many fans were anticipating a Big 10 championship game against Wisconsin. Texas’ chances of beating the midwest powerhouse with valuable players like Sarah Franklin and 6-foot-9 middle blocker Anna Smrek were little. They managed to pull it off and defeat the Badgers 3-1.

Husker head coach John Cook is seeking his 6th championship title with his team. Texas will be defending their 2022 title. When it comes down to it, can the Big Red defeat the Longhorns in a championship game?

The two teams have met twice in previous national championships, the Huskers winning both in 1995 and 2015. Nebraska fans feel confident about their chances, and junior Lea Hanson is one such fan.

“I do think Nebraska will win the national championship,” Hanson said. “I’m a big Husker fan and they have had such an incredible season so far so I have no doubt they will continue to do great things and come together as a team to win it.”

Nebraska has many dangerous players in libero Lexi Rodriguez, setter Bergen Reilly, outside hitter Harper Murray and outside hitter Merritt Beason. The team has had an explosive year but they’ll face a challenge with Texas.

Longhorn outside hitter Madisen Skinner had a new record of six aces in the final four and 18 kills. Nebraska middle blockers Andi Jackson, Bekka Allick and Maggie Mendelson might have trouble fending off Skinner’s attacks. Against Pittsburgh, Nebraska had 15 total blocks. The matchup between Skinner and this blocking crew will be one to watch. Skinner has won two back to back championships with Kentucky and Texas, so she’ll be seeking a third in this match.

Overall, the Huskers have the edge. Their defense is unstoppable in Rodriguez and their offense will give Texas’ defense a run for their money. We saw Texas libero Emma Halter struggle to pickup Franklin’s hits, and I expect it’ll be no different with Nebraska’s talented outside hitters. Although Texas did beat Wisconsin fairly easily, the Badgers had many issues defensively that allowed them to get the win. The Longhorns won’t be so lucky with Nebraska.

Even if Nebraska doesn’t end up winning the championship, the future is bright for them with such a young team of talented players. This season will be one volleyball fans remember for many years to come.

“The Huskers have been such an unstoppable team and they really know how to work well together which I think every team should value, Hanson said. “If they lose a set, they bounce back and really focus on each step of the game and lift each other up, which I feel is really important, especially in volleyball where every point is fought so hard for back and forth. Overall, the Huskers have had an awesome season.”




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About the Contributor
Kaitlyn Lisko
Kaitlyn Lisko, Editor-in-Chief
Senior Kaitlyn Lisko is beginning her third year on the newspaper staff and second year as editor-in-chief. At school she's also involved in senior senate and African-American history challenge.

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