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Penn State Women’s Volleyball Loses To Nebraska 3-2 In NCAA Semifinals

Penn State women’s volleyball lost its seventh straight match against Nebraska in Thursday’s NCAA semifinals, dropping a 3-2 thriller to the Cornhuskers in Kansas City.

The Nittany Lions traded punches with Nebraska all night long, but fell 18-25, 25-23, 26-24, 26-28, 11-15 in the Sprint Center.

How It Happened

Penn State and Nebraska were locked in a stalemate midway through the first set, but a 9-1 Husker run gave them some breathing room. Despite Simone Lee’s hot start, Penn State couldn’t pull off the comeback and went down 1-0 early.

Haleigh Washington overcame a scoreless first set with seven kills in the second to help the Nittany Lions tie the match at 1-1. Russ Rose won a huge challenge on a Nia Reed swing that deflected off Nebraska’s Kelly Hunter to even things up 20-20 late in the set. Tori Gorrell and Abby Detering stuffed Briana Holman on set point to head into the intermission with confidence.

Penn State battled back from a 20-16 deficit to take the third set, thanks in large part to a huge kill from Heidi Thelen and an attack error on the Huskers. The Nittany Lions came from behind again in the fourth, but Nebraska held them at bay long enough to extend the match to a fifth set.

The Huskers used a 5-0 run to take control of the final frame and eventually send Penn State home. They now own a 21-10 lead in the all-time series. Lee and setter Bryanna Weiskircher recorded double-doubles for the Nittany Lions, while four Nebraska players finished with double-digit kills.

“I’m disappointed in the outcome,” Rose said postgame. “I thought the kids played hard. And other than serving and some passing issues, I thought we were competing well in a tough environment.”

Similar to last year’s Sweet 16 loss, the Nittany Lions had a golden opportunity to put away Nebraska, but the fourth set simply slipped out of their reach.

“We had a free ball coming over the net for match point and two girls collided and fell. So then you go into the fifth game and you miss two serves and get aced and have five hitting errors. That’s why teams lose,” Rose said.

Player Of The Match

Mikaela Foecke | Junior | Outside hitter

The West Point, Iowa, native was phenomenal on both ends of the court, tallying a match-high 19 kills and 19 digs.

What’s Next?

The Nittany Lions (33-2) finish the season painstakingly short of their ultimate goal, with 14 costly service errors proving the difference in this one. Nebraska will play Florida for the national championship Saturday at 9 p.m. ET on ESPN.

About the Author

Ethan Kasales

Ethan’s a senior journalism major who grew up in Lemont, a few minutes from campus. When he’s not covering Penn State sports, you can usually find him golfing or teaching snowboarding at Tussey Mountain. Feel free to email him at [email protected]

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