LINCOLN — John Cook and his Nebraska volleyball team is once again at the top of the college volleyball world.
At least for a couple of days.
The 7-0 Huskers received 37 first place votes and amassed 1,550 points to move up from their No. 2 spot where they had been since the preseason poll in August.
Right behind them was the former No. 1 Stanford. The defending national champion Cardinal, which beat Nebraska in the championship match a year ago, received 23 first place votes and totaled 1,538 points.
We’ll learn much more about these two teams when No. 2 Stanford plays at No. 1 Nebraska Wednesday night at the Devaney Center.
The poll wasn’t out before Cook spoke Monday morning at his weekly press conference, but it looked like the Huskers would move up to No. 1 after No. 7 Minnesota knocked off Stanford over the weekend.
Cook wasn’t particularly excited about the possibility of his team moving up to No. 1. Besides, he said the Huskers didn’t deserve to be there yet.
“They (Stanford) have played some top 10 teams,” Cook said. “We haven’t played any. We haven’t proven anything yet. We’ve proven we’ve taken care of business, we’ve beaten a couple of ranked teams. We’ve beaten some very good teams.
“I was impressed with how Loyola played and San Diego last week. So we’ve beaten some good teams. Now we get a chance to play a top 10 team and we’re going to play a lot more as we go into the Big Ten.”
Junior outside hitter Lexi Sun said the Huskers aren’t concerned about the ratings at this point in time.
“I don’t think we should read that much into them,” Sun said. “It obviously is a big game on Wednesday and we’re more focused on that than the rankings. I think we should be just keeping our priorities straight and not reading too much into that.”
Stanford is now 5-1, but it swept then-No. 7 Florida, defeated No 3 Texas 3-2 and handed No. 4 Penn State a 3-1 loss at Happy Valley.
The night after beating Penn State, the Cardinal dropped a 3-1 decision to No. 8 Minnesota, also at Happy Valley.
“College volleyball is very competitive,” Cook said. “They went on the road and had to play two great teams back-to-back which we’re going to do several times in the Big Ten Conference. It’s really hard to beat good teams every night.”
Sun said she wasn’t really tuned into the Stanford-Minnesota match.
“I wasn’t really watching the game. I kind of forgot they were going to play each other,” Sun said. “But I think it’s exciting. I think this year there are a ton of great teams and really anyone can beat anyone. Now we’re going to get Stanford’s best shot because they’re a little upset probably by that loss. So I’m excited for Wednesday.”
There are just six unbeaten teams left in the top 25. Besides Nebraska there is No. 5 Baylor (7-0), No. 6 Pittsburgh (10-0), No. 13 Hawaii (9-0), No. 16 Missouri (8-0) and No. 24 Cal (8-0).
“It’s crazy,” Hames said. “You can go on social media and it’s like there’s another upset. Someone else is losing. I think it just kind of shows that all teams can be beaten and you have to bring your ‘A’ game every night. We kind of had that this weekend. If you’re not bringing your ‘A’ game anyone can challenge you. It’s kind of a good lesson for everybody.”
The Huskers have managed to hang onto that unbeaten record so far, but Stanford will be their biggest challenge to date.
All eyes in the college volleyball world will be on Lincoln with a sold out Devaney and a BTN television crowd watching as well.
“I know it’s going to be crazy, it’s going to be fun,” Hames said. “We have the best fans in the nation. I know they’re going to come and it’s going to be loud. I know there’s going to be a ton of support and I think that’s pretty awesome.”