The 10 best Husker games of 2021 (and, yes, volleyball dominates the list) | Volleyball
It’s official: 2021 is in the books.
If you like to load your diary with Husker games, note the first NU competition of the new year (men’s hoops against Ohio State on Sunday), the Red-White Spring Game (April 9) and football in Ireland (August 27).
Yes, it’s time to look ahead, but hey, how about another look at 2021? That said, we take a look at our top 10 Husker games of the year.
This is a list of “games”, but we also want to congratulate the Nebraska bowling team for winning an NCAA championship, Kate Smith for her Big Ten championship in women’s golf, the bronze medal of Mayson Conner in the high jump away from the NCAA. championships, with Abigail Knapton finishing the best diving career at NU and the Huskers’ fourth-place finish at the NCAA in men’s gymnastics.
1. I hung them in Austin
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The website: Gregory Gym in Austin, Texas.
A win that earns a ticket to the final four in any sport creates a euphoric moment (and will be at the top of this list).
To do it against a nemesis who beat you in the NCAA Tournament the previous season and at home? Even sweeter.
NU coach John Cook called it one of the biggest wins in program history, and that’s saying something.
The underdog Huskers knocked out No. 2 Texas in four sets. The Horns couldn’t do anything against NU’s strong defense, and Madi Kubik, Lindsay Krause and Texas native Ally Batenhorst led the offensive attack.
NU were back in the Final Four.
‘Tonight they put it together:’ Sparked by freshmen – and defense, of course – NU stuns Texas to reach Final Four
2. Arkansas tying pigs
The website: Baum-Walker Stadium in Fayetteville, Arkansas.
More than 11,000 rabid fans, most of them cheering for the home team, hoped to see the Arkansas No. 1 win a regional title.
Spencer Schwellenbach and a group of tough-minded Huskers canceled the party, or delayed it, anyway.
Schwellenbach re-enacted one of the most memorable individual performances in program history, pitching 4⅔ innings of relief shutouts, silencing one of the best teams in the country and the crowd.
Griffin Everitt had the biggest hit of the game, a two-out, two-run single in the fifth to give NU the lead for good.
NU fell short in the rematch a day later, but a message was sent: Will Bolt put NU baseball back on track.
‘You’ve got to have this fight’: Huskers force winner’s regional final with decisive win over No. 1 Arkansas
3. A classic with my friend Wisconsin
The website: Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio.
A week after defeating Texas in the Elite Eight, Nebraska was playing for a national championship. Standing in the way was Wisconsin’s No. 4, who was seeking his first national title and had won seven straight against the Big Red.
The Huskers took the first set, setting the tone for one hell of a game.
The margin of victory in each set was no more than three (Badgers won 22-25, 31-29, 25-23, 23-25, 15-12), the Huskers and Badgers totaled 60 points in the second set and NU were down 7-0 in the fifth set before drawing within 14-12 on Cook’s match point challenge.
The game had it all – defense, drama, digging – and it was the most-watched NCAA volleyball final on TV.
The Huskers’ big, memorable finish to 2021 is short; “This is what a national championship should be”
4. Wolverines have the last bite
The website: Memorial Stadium.
After a 56-7 thrashing of Northwestern and two near misses against nationally ranked Oklahoma and Michigan State, the stage was set for the Frost era to claim a decisive victory.
Night game. John Harbaugh’s undefeated and No. 9 Michigan team in town.
Adrian Martinez drilled for a 5-yard touchdown to give NU a 29-26 lead with 7:08 to go. The sold-out crowd could feel it, but Michigan scored a pair of field goals and pounced on a critical fumble to escape with a 32-29 win.
Whatever your interests, you have to admit it was a very entertaining game of football.
‘I thought tonight was the night’: Brutal trend under Scott Frost continues as Michigan’s No. 9 escapes Nebraska
5. Start a Big Ten title race
The website: Bart Kaufman Field in Bloomington, Indiana.
Nebraska, in the midst of a Big Ten title run, trailed Ohio State 9-2 in the sixth inning in the first of three games over the weekend.
The Huskers could have focused on Indiana, their last-drink opponent, but no.
Nebraska scored the next nine points to stun Ohio State 11-9. The icing on the cake was Jaxon Hallmark’s winning RBI single in the ninth inning.
About 24 hours later, NU rode Ohio State 9-0 to seal the Big Ten championship with three games remaining.
Huskers receive gem from Hroch after scoring nine straight to stun Ohio State
6. Look like days of yore
The website: Memorial Stadium.
At the end of the season, Nebraska’s dominating 56-7 victory over Northwestern looked like it happened in 2018. Indeed, it was in 2021.
NU rushed for 657 yards, including 427 rushing yards in a rare conference game rout to advance to 3-3.
The pre-fourth quarter light show thrilled the crowd and after the final whistle it was brought to Michigan.
NU would lose their final six games, but that night O Street was jumping and Husker fans were talking bowl shots.
‘Man did we run it better’: Huskers had 427 rushing yards, seven touchdowns in 56-7 rout of Northwestern
7. Make some noise in Omaha
The website: CHI Omaha Health Center.
In a strange spring season, including the entire NCAA tournament played in Omaha, the Huskers made another familiar run across the court, reaching the Elite Eight.
Baylor and National Player of the Year Yossiana Pressley stood in the way of the Sweet 16, and NU were without All-American Lauren Stivrins, who was injured.
The Huskers didn’t miss a beat, sweeping the Bears (25-21, 25-17, 25-19) behind eight aces and a solid defense (Baylor hit .141).
‘We’ve proven a lot of people wrong’: Without Stivrins, Nebraska advance to regional final
8. Beat the Buckeyes
The sport: Creoles for women.
The website: Pinnacle Bank Arena.
The Huskers’ iconic victory of the 2020-21 season came against the then-undefeated Buckeyes, who came to the PBA ranked 15th nationally.
NU were without second-leading scorer Isabelle Bourne, so the Huskers needed someone to step in.
Hello, Sam Haiby and Kate Cain.
Haiby had 11 points, 10 assists and eight rebounds, and Cain had 22 points, 12 rebounds and nine blocks to lift NU to a 63-55 win.
It was NU’s third win over a top 15 opponent in 17 days.
‘We like to win, what can I say’: Nebraska beats No. 15 Ohio State for third upset of the season
9. 4OT with the Wolfpack
The website: PNC Arena in Raleigh, North Carolina.
Was it a nice game? No. But add an extra period and expect drama.
Now add three more extensions.
Nebraska and North Carolina State needed four more sessions to decide this one, with the Wolfpack coming out on top 104-100.
The Huskers had plenty of chances to win before losing a game that also featured a second-half brawl (remember an injured Trey McGowens on the ground with his scooter?)
Yes, this one had a bit of everything.
‘A lot of adversity’: NC State outlasts Nebraska in wild 4OT ACC/Big Ten Challenge game
10. Pick Up Steam Against Boilers
The website: Holloway Gym in West Lafayette, Indiana.
Nebraska lost to No. 5 Wisconsin in four sets a day earlier, so the question was how the Huskers would react against another top-10 team.
The Huskers had an immediate response.
Behind Kubik (16 kills and 10 digs) and Kayla Caffey (13 kills), the Huskers bounced back with a 25-21, 25-10, 22-25, 25-15 victory at No. 6 Purdue.
How big was that win? What followed was a run to the national championship game.
‘They should be really proud’: Nebraska ends regular season with win over No. 6 Purdue
NU Baseball at Arkansas (June 7): Game tied 2-2 in the eighth inning before the Hogs escaped 6-2 to win the regional.
NU baseball vs. Rutgers (May 10): NU scores six runs in the first inning, but does not score again until the 13th inning; wins 7-6.
NU Volleyball vs. Pittsburgh (December 16): The Huskers give up the first set but dominate in the next three to reach the national championship game.
NU Volleyball vs. Minnesota (February 21): No. 4 Huskers rebound to sweep No. 5 Minnesota 25-17, 25-15, 25-22 in the spring.
NU Football in Wisconsin (November 20): Despite the mistakes, including kicking off the opener for TD by the Badgers, NU go along with the No. 19 team.
NU Men’s Hoops vs. Illinois (February 16): The Huskers take the No. 6 team to overtime before falling 77-72. NU lead 64-58 with 2:25 remaining in regular time before Ayo Dosunmu takes over.
NU Men’s Hoops vs. Penn State (February 23): Teddy Allen nearly tied the school record for points in a game, finishing with 41 on 16 of 24 shots. Penn State won, however, 86-83.
NU Women’s Hoops vs. Creighton (November 17): The Huskers win 67-62 to snap a five-game losing streak against the rival Bluejays.