Monday, 4 March 2024

International Volleyball

NCAA volleyball: Landfair to Nebraska; transfers galore; coaching carousel spins on

NCAA volleyball: Landfair to Nebraska; transfers galore; coaching carousel spins on

Our holiday hiatus is over, but volleyball didn’t care.

Not even on January 1, when the rest of the sports world was focused on football.

No, on Monday the 2022 Big Ten player of the year and a first-team All-American, Taylor Landfair, said she was transferring to Nebraska. 

It comes on the heels of a season in which Landfair and her team struggled and the 6-foot-5 outside hitter saw her stats drop considerably. More on Landfair and others making moves follows.

Since our last report there were coaching hires, conference moves by the Pac-2, and a disturbing story about Idaho volleyball by the Orange County Register.

Taylor Landfair and her Minnesota teammates walking into their NCAA match at Creighton/Kelly Hagenson photo

Rush hour in the transfer portal

Landfair is headed to Nebraska, a team that lost in the NCAA national title match to Texas with no seniors. There were four outside hitters on that roster, including VBM second-team All-American freshman Harper Murray, juniors Ally Batenhorst and Lindsay Krause, and sophomore Hayden Kubik, who has entered the portal herself.

In 2022, Landfair had 479 kills (4.35/set) and hit .257 to go with 25 aces and 72 blocks. This past season, she had 361 kills in three more sets played (3.19/set), 35 aces and 54 blocks. She had her best digs total of her career, 229 (2.03).

It would be hard to imagine Landfair not taking the other outside spot opposite Murray.

Worth noting is that Texas outside hitter Jenna Wenaas is a Minnesota transfer, and so was Carter Booth, the starting middle for Wisconsin, which Texas beat in the national semifinals.

After Texas — with a roster that for the second straight championship year was loaded with key transfers — beat Nebraska, the last question of the post-match news conference went to Cook:

“In what ways has Texas set the bar that you and other teams have to match now?” he was asked.

The veteran coach, who has won NCAA titles in 2000, 2006, 2015 and 2017, replied:

“I’ve got to think about that. But you look at tonight’s match, I mean, they’ve got half their starting team are transfers. They’re all fourth- and fifth-year players, except for Ella, the setter, who did a great job.

“So that’s how they’ve been building their team. That’s how they built last year’s team. I like what we’re doing. I like recruiting kids and trying to make them be great.”

As VBM contributor Lincoln Arneal noted in Huskers…

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