Women’s Volleyball Falls In Straight Sets At No. 1 Nebraska
Penn State (19-9, 11-6 Big Ten) slipped to No. 15 in the nation following its five-set loss to Ohio State Saturday in Columbus. Russ Rose’s Nittany Lions couldn’t get much going in a 3-0 (25-17, 25-14, 25-22) setback at No. 1 Nebraska that marked their final away match of the regular season.
How It Happened
A few weeks after dropping a 3-2 home marathon to the Cornhuskers, the Nittany Lions struggled mightily on the offensive end in the first set, posting a rough .026 hitting percentage as a team in front of huge crowd of 8,407. Nebraska (25-1, 16-1 Big Ten), led by head coach John Cook, battled to a 10-10 tie before running away with a 25-17 victory to open things up in the Bob Devaney Sports Center.
Rose went with Bryanna Weiskircher as his starting setter in Lincoln. He’s been switching between the redshirt sophomore and Abby Detering the last few matches, with Weiskircher leading the Nittany Lions to a 3-1 win at Maryland in her last start. It was more of the same in the second set, however, as Nebraska asserted its dominant offense in a balanced fashion. The Huskers raced out to a 14-7 lead and wouldn’t look back, prevailing 25-14 to keep their hopes of a sweep alive and well.
Freshman Kendall White turned in a strong defensive outing for the Nittany Lions with a match-high 18 digs, but the supreme lack of offense assured last year’s national champs (and this season’s presumed favorites) would cruise to an easy win in their home gym. Keeton Holcomb, Lainy Pierce, and Laura Broerman rotated in at defensive specialist and would combine for eight digs. Penn State headed into the intermission sporting an ugly -.014 clip, connecting on just 14-of-70 swings with 15 attack errors. Detering subbed in toward the end of second set and would stay in the lineup to open the third. She would finish with 15 assists to Weiskircher’s 12.
Junior setter Kelly Hunter put together an outstanding night for the Huskers, orchestrating a relentless attack that made Penn State one-dimensional. However, the Nittany Lions picked themselves up and fought for an 11-10 lead midway through the third frame. Junior Ali Frantti turned on the jets down the stretch to lead Penn State with seven kills, while Haleigh Washington and Simone Lee added six apiece. Tori Gorrell, Heidi Thelen, and Clare Powers combined for nine more when a 25-22 third set sealed the sweep. Outside hitters Andie Malloy and Mikaela Foecke paced the Huskers with 11 and 10 kills, respectively.
Player Of The Match
Kelly Hunter | Junior | Setter
The Papillion, Neb., native was all over the court Wednesday, finishing with a match-high 36 assists, 15 digs, and three kills for the double-double.
The Nittany Lions are back in Rec Hall Saturday at 7:00 p.m. against Purdue. They’ll have two more home matches the following week to round out the regular season.