LINCOLN, Neb. -- It was the Morgan State volleyball program's second NCAA tournament match, but facing third-ranked Nebraska and its 4,154 fans last night, the Bears had plenty of first-game jitters.
Needing only 57 minutes, Nebraska advanced to the second round with a 15-1, 15-2, 15-0 win at the sold-out NU Coliseum. The loss was the second in as many years for Morgan State in the first round. The Bears ended 1997 with a defeat at Southern California.
"I really thought that we were going to be more relaxed because of that experience," Morgan State coach Ramona Riley-Bozier said. "We had nothing to lose and we only had something to gain, and that's the way I had hoped we'd play. If we had, we'd still be playing up there right now."
Ten Nebraska players had at least one kill as the Huskers (29-1) advanced to meet Utah. The three points allowed by Nebraska broke the school record of six. set seven times since teams switched to best-of-five matches in the early 1980s.
The Bears (18-15) took their only lead on the opening point of Game 2, scoring first on a kill from Dorothy Buford. Nebraska answered with 14 straight points.
Bears senior Tiffany Pickens said Morgan State played well at times, but not with the consistency needed to stay with the likes of Nebraska. "We have to learn how to keep pushing, especially with opponents like these who don't give you much of a chance to take back the momentum."
Riley-Bozier said her team can learn plenty from playing the likes of Nebraska and No. 2 Penn State, which swept the Bears on the road earlier this season. But they'll gain more next season when they'll finally have a campus facility where they can play and practice. Many workouts had to be scheduled at 4: 45 a.m.
Said the Bears' 11th-year coach: "Maybe then I can get some sleep in the morning. But I plan to work until it's not a fluke that Morgan State got in."
Pub Date: 12/05/98