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.