The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current, May 06, 1997, Page 10, Image 10

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Mike Kluck
Women athletes
getting more
In 1992 Garth Brooks opened his
first television special on NBC by
introducing himself to the nation.
“Hi, I’m Garth Brooks,” Brooks
said. “I’m a country music singer. I
was bran in Yukon, Okla.
“Hey, wait a minute where are
you going?” Brooks asked as he
came toward the camera. Brooks was
acting as if he was trying to catch
viewers before they turned the chan
“Oh, it’s the country music
thing,” Brooks said, humbly admit
— ting to the genres lack of popularity.
He went cm to show clips of his
show and concerts.
His scheme worked.
His show was the highest rated
program for NBC that week — the
highest rated musical show in tele
vision history -■*— and it prompted
NBC officials to schedule a second
For years, women athletics at
Nebraska and across the nation have
felt like Brooks.
Over the years, women’s pro
grams have tried many techniques
and tactics to lure an audience. It
always seemed, though, (Mice the la
bel “women’s” was given to an ath
letic event, people started switching
That was until this year.
This year NU women’s athletic
programs, along with college pro
grams around die country, jumped
aboard the wave of support die U.S.
teams created in the 1996 Summer
Olympics in Atlanta.
Attendance figures at women’s
athletic events across the nation were
up—as well as at Nebraska.
NU women’s basketball averaged
more than 3,000 fans a game, which
^ was the best attendance in the
program’s history.
The third-year Nebraska soccer
program also saw an increase in at
tendance, averaging 944 fans a
game, which was sixth best in the
i ue nusiuas were tusu tuucu uy
not having a losing a game during
the regular season. Their only loss
was a 1-0 defeat to Portland in the
semifinals of the NCAA Tburaa
Volleyball continued its success
with another trip to the Final Four,
while the women’s gymnastics and
swimming teams saw many career
best finishes in the NCAA Tourna
Success for women’s athletics at
NU may still be coming. The
women’s golf team competes in the
NCAA West Regional this weekend,
while the softball team waits to see
if it has qualified for its third straight
NCAA Tournament.
The progress of women’s athlet
ics should make it more exciting next
season as the growth of the sports
Khick is a journalism gradu
ate student and will be the Daily
Nebraskan sports editor next year.
- > •_: .ymr* •/*'-*'*'**-' -• 1_ i
Matt Millks/DN
FIONA NEPO and Reaee Saunders hag after NO’S epic fifth-game battle with Pmm State le December. That match was one of the most exciting momenti
In the year of NU sports.
. ' - 5
Hard work saps rewards
I Year not as exciting, but athletes have their moments
By Mitch Sherman
and Trevor Parks,
1996-97 Sports Editors
t For an encore, the 1996-97 athletic
season wasn’t too bad.
Though not filled with the excite
ment of last year’s championships and
national news media attention, the last
nine months have brought to the Uni
versity ofNebraska plenty of landmark
achievements and thrilling events.
Marshall Nelson and Tressa Th
ompson captured individual national
titles, and several Nebraska teams out
performed their preseason expecta
In August, the Comhuskcr football
and volleyball teams began defense of
their national championships and
soon experienced the difficulty of try
ing to return to the promised land of
college athletics.
The football team drilled Michi
gan State to open its season before
traveling to Tempe, Ariz., the same
site where NU won its second straight
national title eight months earlier. On
the third weekend of September, the
mighty Huskers lost.
“Basically the story of the game
was they just whipped us,” Coach Tom
Osborne said. “We weren’t good
enough to move the ball when we had
to get field position.”
In fact, die Huskers weren’t good
enough — or prepared enough — to
move the ball at all. The Sun Devils
blanked NU 19-0, an embarrassing
score that shocked the nation late on
the evening of Sept. 21 in the Arizona
“When you play a legend-type
team, a reputation-type team, people
kind of shudder when they see the N
on their helmet,” ASU Coach Bruce
It was like two terriers pulling on a rag
back and forth. It just so
happened that we had the
rag when time ran out.”
I Terhy Pettit
NU volleyball coach, in reaction to NlTs win
over Penn State
Snyder said. “I pinched myself to
make sure it wasn’t a dream.”
The Huskers rebounded nicely
from the loss to cruise through the
first-ever Big 12 Conference season,
topping Colorado 17-12 in a Novem
ber showdown in Lincoln that deter
mined the winner of the North Divi
Without Terrell Farley, whom
Osborne suspended after the star line
backer twice drove under the influence
of alcohol, Nebraska lost again. This
time, Texas, behind cocky quarterback
James Brown, stole the show.
“I think we’re going to win by
three touchdowns,” Brown said days
before the Big 12 championship game
in St. Louis.
Texas didn’t win by three touch
downs, but a 37-27 drubbing was
plenty to deprive the Huskers of a
chance to play for their third straight
national title in the Sugar Bowl. “We
went from the penthouse to the out
house overnight,” Defensive Coordi
nator Charlie McBride said. “In ev
ery game we have played this year, we
have played well — except this one.
We never slowed them down any.”
NU then traveled to Miami, where
it beat Virginia Tech 41-21 in an anti
climactic and poorly attended Orange
Bowl at the less-than-nostalgic Pro
Player Stadium.
At 11-2, Nebraska failed in the
eyes of many to reach expectations.
But Grant Wistrom and Aaron Thylor
earned first-team All-America honors,
and eight NU players—including six
defenders—were selected in April’s
NFL draft.
Another defending champion, the
NU volleyball team entered the 1996
season without five starters from its
1995 title team. But nine freshmen
and sophomores helped lead the team
back to the Final Four, where the
Huskers lost in four games to even
tual national champion Stanford.
On the way to Cleveland, NU com
piled a 30-3 record, rolling to the first
Big 12 title. In December, the Husk
ers faced Penn State in an epic battle
at the NU Coliseum for a spot in the
Final Four.
The decisive fifth game proved to
be one of the most exciting in Husker
volleyball history. Nebraska escaped
20-18 after a dramatic comeback, win
ning the match behind the strength of
All-American Lisa Reitsma and new
comer Megan Korver.
“It was like two terriers pulling on
a rag back and forth,” Nebraska Coach
Terry Pettit said of the NCAA Tour
nament East Regional championship
match. “It just so happened that we
had the rag when time ran out.”
Reitsma and first-year setter Fiona
Nepo earned first-team All-America
honors, and the duo will lead an ex
perienced squad back into action next
“We had a great season,” Reitsma
said, “so I'm not disappointed at all.
There’s a lot of people who didn’t
think we’d make it here. This was sup
posed to be a rebuilding year, but it
rur uic r*u soccer team as wen,
1996 was supposed to be building year.
In only its third season, the Huskers
cracked the preseason top 25 far the
first time. NTJ then achieved the un
thinkable, completing the year as the
only Division I team with a perfect
Coach John Walker was named the *
National Coach of the Year, and Kari
Uppinghouse gained first-team All
America honors. A strong supporting
cast, including goalkeeper Becky
Hombacher and newcomers Lindsay
Eddleman, Jenny Benson and Isabelle
Momeau, made the difference for the
Huskers, who beat Texas A&M for the
Big 12 title in St. Louis.
“I probably wouldn’t have believed
this,” Walker said. “The odds against
us winning every gatne are great.”.
Nebraska beat Minnesota in a
marathon first-round NCAA Touraa
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