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Husker women prove hype nothing without heart PDF Print E-mail
Written by Wauneta Breeze   
Wednesday, 17 December 2008 20:40
     I made Amy get out of bed a little earlier than usual on Sunday morning.
     Knowing she’d be peeved and probably curse my good name to my pretty face, I threw caution to the wind and woke her anyway.
     She had to see for herself what I’d just witnessed.
     It was insane, inconceivable and indescribable all at the same time.
     I also wanted her to see it before church so the ending wasn’t spoiled by a fan with good intentions of spreading holiday cheer.
     I, of course, am talking about the Husker volleyball team’s narrow win over the Washington Huskies on Saturday evening.
     Since they played ridiculously late Saturday evening, we set our DVR to record the goings-on. I told Amy I wasn’t going to read the paper until I’d seen the game. I was going to watch it as ‘live’ as possible the next morning.
     (Just so you know, I saved the game on my DVR. I think it should be required viewing for every young volleyball player.)
     And if anyone knows to whom I need to speak about the 10:30 p.m start time for the game, let me know. I’ll make some calls.
     Anyhootie, if you know me -- which many of you do -- I was up at the plumber’s crack of dawn on Sunday morn, yearning to see if my favorite team had earned a trip down the street to Omaha.
     After last season’s abrupt ending and the graduation of Tracy Stalls, Chris Houghtelling and volleyball legend Sarah Pavan --capped off by Rachel Holloway announcing that she would not return to her post as ‘quarterback’ -- this season looked to be one reserved for the art of rebuilding only.
     I had been brutally honest about this team’s Final Four chances and received nary an argument about my bleak prophecies.
     I couldn’t have been more wrong. The chemistry and ambition of this team proved the naysayers wrong all season -- yours truly included. Halfway into the season, I sensed that I might be eating some crow come Christmas time.
     Saturday night’s game though was the proof in the figgy puddin’ that hype has nil to do with the sport of volleyball.
     The Huskers took on the Washington Huskies in front of a rowdy Seattle crowd about the same time Hugh Laurie began his hosting gig on Saturday Night Live. (Which is just a fancy way of saying it was way past my bedtime.)
     With a crowd of 5400+ Washington fans rooting against the Huskers, our team defied odds so unfairly stacked, Pam Anderson would’ve been jealous.  
     Let’s discuss first the crowd. Nebraska will pack about three times more than that into the Qwest Center next week, but it’s respectable anywhere but here. And they were quite vocal.
     The Huskers dropped the first set. In fact, it could be up for debate whether or not they were present. They went on to drop the second set. Barely.
     I did some fast-forwarding  at this point because a good guy’s gotta go to church sometime.
     The Huskers won the third set pretty soundly. On to the fourth. And lawdy, it was a squeaker. The Huskers pulled it off but it was uglier than Paris Hilton’s wonky eye.
     On to the fifth set.
     I could barely watch because historically speaking, fifth sets make me psychotic.
     And this one was a doozy.
     The Huskers looked like the fatigue and drama and pageantry had taken it all out of them. They fell behind 9-3 and I began to think the mega-intimidating Washington Huskies would be playing Penn State next week.
     Then something remarkable happened.
     For me to say that the Huskers dug deep would be a gross understatement -- a crime punishable by letting Jordan Larson use me as target practice.
     Behind the play of senior Larson, they took the lead with an unspeakable 9-0 run that put the game at 12-9 in their favor.
     Washington got a spark though and went on a tear, evening up the score at 13-13, before Larson tooled a hit off the block and went back to serve.
     Now, here’s where I think John Cook might be stupider than he is brave. Larson had missed a few serves during the game and struggled a bit from the line.
     He ordered her to jump serve though, later explaining that if they were to get to Omaha, it wouldn’t be from playing scared.
     He’s obviously insane.
     Larson tossed the ball into the air, swung her usual swing and it landed on the court, smack dab between the Washington libero and another defensive specialist.
     As Larson crumpled to the floor in disbelief, you could see another brand of the same emotion on the faces of the Washington fans and team.
     And I began to indulge in mouthfuls of crow.
     The Huskers, in a historically wacky match, set a new standard for comebacks -- proving that hype has nothing to do with winning.
     There is another ‘H’ word that has everything to do with it, though.
     Heart.
     Whodathunkit? Believing in yourself and maxing out really can win games.
Last Updated on Thursday, 18 December 2008 14:27