Penn State Volleyball Loses To No. 4 Nebraska, Falls to 13-1
The No. 4 Nebraska Cornhuskers came to Rec Hall for a Friday night matchup with No. 1 Penn State. It was the third consecutive match against a top-25 team for the Nittany Lions, and the tough schedule finally seemed to catch up. For the first time in 14 matches this year, Penn State lost. Despite the home team winning the first two sets, the Cornhuskers stormed back and took it in five sets.
How It Happened
Everything went right for Penn State in the first set. After jumping out to an 11-2 lead thanks to the offense of Haleigh Washington and Megan Courtney, the Nittany Lions let off of their pace a little bit but still held the No. 4 team in the country to 12 points. The set’s dominant final score of 25-12 is indicative of one of the team’s most dominant performances of the season — and that’s certainly saying something.
The second set was more of what was expected from Nebraska. The two teams stayed neck and neck early, starting off the set trading points to get to 5-5 and kept it close throughout the set. Nebraska put some pressure on as it took a 15-12 lead, but a timeout was called and Penn State responded with three straight point, forcing a Husker timeout at 15-all. Ten points later, at 20-20, Russ Rose called another timeout, which his team followed up by winning two straight points. At 23-22, Rose called his final timeout, and the teams battled to an eventual 26-24 win for Penn State.
Nebraska’s performance in the third set was nothing short of outstanding. The team jumped out to 5-1 and 10-3 leads, and maintained a cozy lead the whole set. Penn State began a comeback around the 18-10 mark, but multiple brutal out-of-bounds calls killed its momentum. Rec Hall was as loud as it was all night letting the referees know it thought of their vision, and Nebraska ultimately cruised to a 25-14 win.
The fourth set was much more competitive than the third. Penn State came out of the gates reinvigorated, and a combination of Simone Lee and Haleigh Washington carried the team as it stayed close early. Nebraska led 15-12 at the media timeout, and Russ Rose’s team took that breather and responded flatly, blocking the next point out-of-bounds. The Cornhuskers continued on to win the set by a final score of 25-20. For the second match in a row, Penn State won the first two sets and dropped the next two to head to a fifth.
The final set, played to 15, looked to be in Penn State’s favor as it jumped out to a 5-2 lead, but Nebraska came back to take a lead at 8-7 as the teams switched ends. Nebraska led 13-9 towards the end of the set, and Penn State couldn’t recover, losing the fifth set 15-11.
Player Of The Game
Most players put up outstanding statistics by nature of playing in a rare five-set match, but most players also had their fair share of errors. In true Russ Rose fashion, we’ll stray away from a player of the game this time.
Penn State is back in action against the Iowa Hawkeyes Saturday night at 7:00 p.m. in Rec Hall.