Published Thursday, December 6, 2012 AT 6:32 PM / Updated at 6:32 PM
Huskers, Huskies no strangers to big meetings
Rich Kaipust Omaha World-Herald

Knowing the history between Nebraska and Washington, both head coaches expect nothing less than another down-to-the-wire showdown Friday night in the NCAA volleyball tournament.

The Huskers and Huskies meet in a 6 p.m. Sweet 16 match at the CenturyLink Center. The winner will play the BYU-Oregon winner on Saturday night.

“Every match has just been good volleyball,” Washington coach Jim McLaughlin said Thursday. “Very exciting matches, very intense matches. I would expect this will just be another dogfight, for sure.”

Washington upset No. 3-ranked Nebraska in this same round in 2010 in Seattle, and that four-set match ended with a brief exchange between McLaughlin and NU coach John Cook. Nebraska beat the Huskies in 2008 to advance to the Final Four, but that came three years after Washington toppled No. 1 NU in the 2005 national championship match.

“Whenever we’ve played, there’s been a lot on the line,” Cook said. “It hasn’t been like a preseason tournament or non-conference (match) somewhere in some gym somewhere. These have all been big matches. Center stage.”

Both Cook and McLaughlin have acknowledged that they haven’t had a follow-up conversation about what happened that 2010 night in Seattle.

“We haven’t had coffee together, but I haven’t been in Seattle and he hasn’t been in Lincoln,” Cook said Thursday after putting NU through its final practice before Friday night.

McLaughlin told The World-Herald earlier this week that the two coaches have only traded some text messages since that match, which turned in the Huskies’ favor after a controversial point late. Cook and McLaughlin exchanged words during their post-match handshake, and assistant coaches had to step in to cut off any further confrontation.

About Rich Kaipust

Rich Kaipust is a staff writer for The Omaha World-Herald and covers Nebraska football. You can follow Rich on Twitter (@RKaipustOWH) or email him at