#1 Nebraska Hands #11 Penn State 4th-Straight Loss

  0 Braden Keith | November 05th, 2016 | Big Ten, College - Women's Indoor, News

Match Stats

  • #1 Nebraska def. #11 Penn St. 3-2 (22-25, 25-17, 25-23, 23-25, 15-11)
  • Nebraska moves to 21-1 (12-1 Big Ten) Penn St. falls to 17-7 (9-4 Big Ten)
  • Rec Hall, University Park, Pennsylvania (Penn St. hosted)

In front of 5,564 fans at Rec Hall between traditional volleyball powers Nebraska and Penn State, it was the top-ranked Cornhuskers that outlasted the 11th-ranked Nittany Lions on Friday 3-2.

With only one of the sets showing a separation of more than 4 points, the back-and-forth match went as one might expect between these two powers.

Nebraska was  led by 19 kills each from Andie Malloy (.312 hitting) and Mikaela Foeck (.235 hitting); plus a career-high 16 kills (.615 hitting) from middle blocker Amber Rolfzen.

Rolfzen is best-known for her defensive prowess – she led the Big Ten in blocks-per-set last season – but until last season, she was a pin hitter, and showed on Friday that she can still swing with the best in the country.

Justine Wong-Orantes had 23 digs, which pushed her to the all-time career digs leader in the history of this legendary program, with over a month left in the Huskers’ season to continue to build that lead.

Penn State went much deeper into their bench in the match, using 15 players as compared to Nebraska’s 10. Despite playing a bigger crew, however, they were still less balanced than Nebraska with Simone Lee (23 kills on 70 attacks, .171 average) and Haleigh Washington (13 kills on 26 attacks, .385 average).

Lee combined her effort with 13 digs for her 3rd double-double of the 2016 season.

In the 5th decisive set, it was Amber Rolfzen who gave the Huskers a big boost at a crucial moment. After back-to-back kills from Malloy to make it a 6-3 Nebraska lead, then Rolfzen contributed the next three points – once on a kill, once on a block with her twin sister Kadie, and then another kill to cap off a 9-3 Nebraska run.

Penn State cut the lead in half with a short burst of their own, but Rolfzen stopped the momentum with her 16th and final kill of the match.

This was Penn State’s 4th-straight loss, which hasn’t happened to them since 1982. All 4 of those losses have come to top 16 teams.


Press Releases

Courtesy Nebraska Athletics:

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – The No. 1 Nebraska volleyball team fought its way to a 3-2 (22-25, 25-17, 25-23, 23-25, 15-11) win at No. 11 Penn State on Friday night in front of 5,564 fans at Rec Hall.

The Huskers (21-1, 12-1 Big Ten) maintained their lead in the Big Ten standings with their second five-set win at Penn State (17-7, 9-4 Big Ten) in the last two years. Nebraska won its 14th straight road match, and five of its six road wins in Big Ten play have come against ranked teams.

Andie Malloy had her best match as a Husker with 19 kills on .312 hitting. Mikaela Foecke also added 19 kills, and Amber Rolfzen matched her career high with 16 kills and had no errors for a .615 hitting percentage. She also matched her season high with nine blocks.

Justine Wong-Orantes had 23 digs, becoming the new Nebraska career record holder. She surpassed Kayla Banwarth’s career total of 1,706 with her 16th dig of the match, which came midway through the third set. Kenzie Maloney added a career-high 17 digs, and Kadie Rolfzen also had a season-high 17 digs to go with nine kills. Kelly Hunter posted 61 assists with eight digs and five blocks.

After being outblocked 6.5-0 in the first set, Nebraska regrouped and outblocked the Nittany Lions 13-5.5 the rest of the way, finishing with a 13-12 edge. The Huskers outhit Penn State .238 to .166 and have held six straight opponents under .180 hitting. Penn State entered the match as the third-best hitting team in the nation (.304).

Simone Lee led Penn State with 23 kills and added 13 digs. The Nittany Lions have lost four matches in a row for the first time since 1982, though all four have come against top-16 teams.

Set 1: Penn State posted 4.5 blocks early in the set to build a 13-8 lead, which came after a 4-0 run. The Huskers put together three straight points on Kadie Rolfzen and Amber Rolfzen kills around a Penn State hitting error to pull within 14-12. The Huskers pulled within two points on two occasions but committed a service error each time to end their rally. Penn State’s block continued to hurt the Big Red as the Nittany Lions increased the lead to 20-15. Nebraska trailed 23-17 before a Penn State service error and two hitting errors made it 23-20. A kill by Haleigh Washington gave PSU four set points at 24-20. The Huskers killed off the first two with a pair of kills by Malloy, but Simone Lee finished the set with a kill and the 25-22 PSU win.

Set 2: The Huskers turned to Malloy early and often, and she produced three kills to help them to a 5-4 lead. Amber Rolfzen was in on a block and notched two kills, and Malloy tacked on another for a 9-6 lead. Malloy’s 10th kill, an ace by Albrecht and a free ball smash by Hunter made it 12-8 Big Red. Penn State ran off three straight points to cut it to 12-11, but an Amber Rolfzen kill and Penn State hitting error restored a 14-11 Husker advantage. Two blocks by Holman – one with Kadie Rolfzen and one with Foecke – moved the lead to 17-12 and capped a 5-1 run. A kill by Malloy and ace by Wong-Orantes extended the margin to six, 20-14, before Penn State’s second timeout. Penn State pulled within 21-17, but NU closed out the set with a 4-0 run to even the match. Amber Rolfzen posted back-to-back kills and a block with Hunter to spark the Big Red down the stretch. Nebraska hit .256 and held Penn State to .098. The Huskers were much better at the net, posting four blocks after none in the first set.

Set 3: Another pair of early kills by Malloy gave the Huskers a 4-3 lead, but Penn State answered with three straight points for a 6-4 edge. Penn State led 7-5 before Nebraska took control. The Huskers went on a 9-0 run to stake a 14-7 lead. Amber Rolfzen had a kill and two blocks in the run, and Foecke smashed a pair of kills. Penn State trimmed the deficit to 14-10, but a block by Amber Rolfzen and Foecke got the Big Red sideout after a timeout. The Nittany Lions cut it to 19-17, but Malloy answered with her season-high 15th kill. But Penn State continued to chip away at the lead and tied the set 20-20 on a Heidi Thelen kill. Amber Rolfzen put NU back in front with a kill, and Foecke followed with one of her own after a tough serve by Sydney Townsend. Penn State committed a hitting error, and the Huskers were back ahead by three, 23-20. Foecke gave Nebraska set point at 24-21, and Kadie Rolfzen pounded home the winner at 25-23.

Set 4: Penn State went up 8-6 before a Holman kill and a Malloy solo block tied the score at 8-8. Another block by Hunter and Amber Rolfzen put the Huskers ahead for the first time in the set, 12-11. Penn State regained a 13-12 lead before Foecke tied it with her 14th kill. The Nittany Lions went ahead 16-14, but Kadie Rolfzen tallied a kill and the Huskers won a replay challenge that ruled a Penn State hit went out, and the set was tied 16-16. A sideout battle ensued until Hunter and Amber Rolfzen teamed up for a block and a 20-19 lead. After a Penn State timeout, Washington struck for two kills to give Penn State a 21-20 lead and force a Husker timeout. Foecke terminated out of the timeout, but the Huskers committed a pair of errors to give the Nittany Lions a 23-21 lead. Hunter hammered down an overpass to get within one and then stepped to the service line. Lee earned set point for Penn State, and the Nittany Lions closed out the 25-23 win to force a fifth set.

Set 5: Foecke found the floor first, and Penn State misfired for a 2-0 Husker lead. Penn State tied it 2-2 before Kadie Rolfzen snuck a kill down along the net to make it 3-2. Nebraska took a 6-3 lead after back-to-back kills by Malloy, both of which came after great floor defense by the Huskers’ back row of Maloney and Wong-Orantes. After a Penn State timeout, Amber Rolfzen recorded her 14th kill and then combined with her twin sister for a block to make it 8-3 as the teams changed sides. She added another kill after the short break to finish off a 6-0 run and put NU ahead 9-3. The Nittany Lions didn’t go away, though, scoring three straight to cut the deficit in half, 9-6. With a 10-7 lead, the Huskers got kills by Amber Rolfzen and Foecke to go up 12-7 and force Penn State’s final timeout. The Nittany Lions got within 12-9 before a kill by Foecke, and the Nittany Lions hit wide to give NU match point at 14-9. The Huskers won the match, 15-11, after a challenge found Foecke’s shot touched the line for the final point.

Up Next: Nebraska travels to Rutgers for a 6 p.m. (CT) match on Saturday in New Brunswick, N.J.

Courtesy Penn State Athletics:

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – The No. 11 Penn State women’s volleyball team (17-7, 9-4 Big Ten) looked to upset the nation’s top team for the second time in 2016 on Friday evening, but fell short in a thrilling five-set match, 3-2 (25-22, 17-25, 23-25, 25-23, 11-15) to the now-unanimous No. 1 Nebraska Cornhuskers (22-1, 12-1 Big Ten). PSU downed then-No. 1 Minnesota earlier this season, also in five sets.

Penn State, normally one of the nation’s most efficient teams, was limited to .166 hitting in the marathon bout. Junior classmates Simone Lee and Haleigh Washington were the lone Nittany Lions to reach double-figures scoring. Lee posted a team-best 23 kills while taking 70 swings. With an additional 13 digs, she posted her third double-double of the 2016 season.

Washington had a 13-kill performance, adding three blocks in the outing. She also posted a team-high .385 hitting percentage. Fellow middle blocker Tori Gorrell posted a team-high seven blocks while adding nine kills.

An aggressive performance from freshman libero Kendall White highlighted the back row defense, as the Indianapolis native posted a career-best 32 digs in the course of the match, exceeding her previous high by nine.

Penn State faces one of its fastest turnarounds of the season, facing the Iowa Hawkeyes at 4 p.m. on Saturday. Five fans will be chosen at random to compete in the “perfect serve” competition for a chance to win $10,000.

The match came down to a decisive fifth set, following a complete game from Penn State in the fourth to tie the match at two-all. A kill from freshman middle blocker Tori Gorrell tied the set at 3-3, before a 5-0 run gave the Cornhuskers what would inevitably be an insurmountable lead into the fifth-set break. A three-point rally by Penn State, capped by an ace from Detering made the score 9-6 in Nebraska’s favor when the visitors called for time.

Nebraska made a 5-3 run out of the break to set up match point. A kill from Weiskircher kept Penn State’s hopes alive. Originially called an error from Nebraska, a successful challenge from the Cornhuskers overturned the final point, ending the fifth, and the match, 15-11.

Junior outside hitter Ali Frantti had a strong performance in the opening frame posting a trio of kills and four blocks to guide PSU to a 25-22 win. With an early 9-8 lead, Penn State manufactured a 3-0 run on a strike from Frantti and a pair of blocks to force Nebraska’s first timeout with a 12-8. The team extended the lead to 20-15 with a pair of scoring plays from Gorrell to push Nebraska to take its second timeout. Nebraska rallied, pulling within two at 24-22, before a kill from Lee finalized the set one victory.

Nebraska took the second and third sets by 25-17, and 25-23 scores. Penn State made a switch at setter half way through the second set, moving Weiskircher in to replace the starting setter in Abby Detering. PSU looked stronger in the third, increasing its hitting percentage by .027 and forcing six Cornhusker errors.

A breakout fourth set for Lee put PSU back in contention, as the junior posted eight kills in the frame. The set was as back-and-forth as possible, with 18 ties and four lead changes in total. The final tie came at 20-20, before Washington thundered down a ball that gave PSU what would be the match-tying lead. Lee killed the ball for set point at 24-22, before Weiskircher scored two plays later to take the fourth, 25-23, and forcing the decisive fifth set.

– No. 11 Penn State fell short against No.1 Nebraska in five sets (25-22,17-25,23-25,25-23,15-11) Friday evening.
– The match’s total attendance reached 5,564, marking the second match of the season that the Nittany Lions have brought over 5,000 fans to Rec Hall. It also marked a new season best.
– Two Nittany Lions posted double figure kills in tonight’s match. Junior Simone Lee led the offense with 23 kills, marking her fifth match of the season with 20 or more kills. Junior Haleigh Washington finished second on the team with 13 kills.
– Freshman Kendall White charted a career-high 32 digs, marking the first time a Nittany Lion had 30 or more digs in a match since Alyssa D’Errico vs. Minnesota on Novemeber 27, 2010.
– Junior Simone Lee recorded her third double-double performance of the season with 23 kills and a career-high 13 digs.


– Penn State moves to 10-17 in the all-time series against Nebraska and 3-3 in matches played at Rec Hall.


Haleigh Washington, junior middle blocker: Washington charted 13 kills to go along with five digs, surpassing the 700 kill milestone.
Simone Lee, junior outside hitter: Lee tallied a team-high 23 kills and a career-high 13 digs, marking her third double-double performance of the season.
Ali Frantti, junior outside hitter: Frantti put down seven kills and seven digs while matching a season-high mark of five blocks.
Kendall White, freshman defense specialist: White registered a career-high 32 digs to put her over 300 career digs.
Keeton Holcomb, sophomore defensive specialist: Holcomb dished out 10 digs and three assists, marking her third match of the season with 10 or more digs.
Tori Gorrell, redshirt freshman middle blocker: Gorrell led the blocking unit posting seven blocks including one solo stuff. She also finished third on the team with nine kills.
Bryanna Weiskircher, redshirt sophomore setter: Weiskircher passed out 28 assists to go along with four digs and two kills

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About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and co-founder of VolleyMob.com. Braden's first foray into sports journalism came in 2010, when he launched a swimming website called The Swimmers' Circle. Two years later, he joined SwimSwam.com as a co-founder. Long huge fans of volleyball, when Braden and the SwimSwam partners sought an opportunity to …

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