- #14 Nebraska def. #2 Penn State 3-0 (26-24, 25-19, 25-20)
- #14 Nebraska improves to 8-3 (1-0 Big Ten); #2 Penn State falls to 10-1 (0-1 Big Ten)
- University Park, Pennsylvania (Big Ten Match)
- Box Score
University Park, Pennsylvania – #14 Nebraska pulled off the upset of #2 Penn State to open up Big Ten play as the Cornhuskers look ready to defend their 2016 conference crown.
The win for Nebraska wasn’t just surprising in terms of rankings and environment, but also that it was a sweep. In fact, it was the first time in 15 years that Penn State was swept on their home floor as Nebraska has now won three straight in University Park.
Nebraska got a big lift to start the match as middle blocker Briana Holman started the match despite injury. She actually led the Cornhuskers with 17 kills and seven blocks while hitting .583 in Nebraska’s 2016 Sweet 16 comeback over Penn State, and she was even better tonight with 13 kills on just 16 swings and one error (.750).
Holman’s efficiency was a common theme for Nebraska as Penn State struggle defensively. The Cornhuskers logged 21 kills and hit .364 in the first set while keeping Penn State, one of the nation’s top hitting percentage offense coming in, to a .250 mark. Nebraska did lose a late lead to even things at 24, but a Penn State serve error and a block by Kelly Hunter (39 assists, nine digs, six kills for the match) and Lauren Stivrins (eight kills, four blocks for the match) ended things 26-24.
Set two was even better offensively for Nebraska who continued to shock Penn State on their home floor with a dominant 25-19 set win. The Cornhuskers would hit .390 in the second set to Penn State’s .267. That continued in set three which was more about defense in Nebraska out-hitting Penn State .282-.167.
Beyond Holman’s outstanding play, Annika Albrecht was phenomenal with 19 kills while hitting .400 to go with six digs and four blocks. For Penn State, Simone Lee had another strong performance with 15 kills and 13 digs while hitting .308, although Nebraska made her a target offensively. Maybe the biggest surprise was Nebraska’s ability to key on All-American Haleigh Washington and draw Penn State’s eyes from finding her an opening. She had just 15 swings and logged six kills and a .333 hitting percentage.
Nebraska looks like a Big Ten contender again as they try to defend their crown. They’ll play tomorrow with a great opportunity for another road win at Rutgers. Penn State on the other hand looks to bounce back against Iowa tomorrow as they have three more home matches in a row coming.
Courtesy of Nebraska:
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – The 14th-ranked Nebraska volleyball team handed No. 2 Penn State its first sweep in Rec Hall in 14 years as the Huskers upset the previously unbeaten Nittany Lions on Friday night, 26-24, 25-19, 25-20, in front of a crowd of 3,763.
The Huskers (8-3, 1-0 Big Ten) won their sixth straight match against Penn State and gave the Nittany Lions (10-1, 0-1 Big Ten) their first 3-0 loss at home since Oct. 18, 2003 against Minnesota.
Seniors Annika Albrecht, Briana Holman and Kelly Hunter led the charge for the inspired Huskers. Albrecht had a career-high 19 kills on .400 hitting and added six digs and four blocks. Holman, who was questionable to play leading up to the match with an ankle injury, had a season-high 13 kills and hit .750. She also had three blocks. Hunter had 39 assists, six kills and nine digs. Mikaela Foecke and Lauren Stivrins each added eight kills.
The Husker attack was sharp all night as they hit .347, the highest by a Penn State opponent this season. The defense was just as strong, holding the Nittany Lions to a season-low .227 hitting percentage. Nebraska won the digs battle, 51 to 43, and edged Penn State in blocks, 7.0 to 6.5. Kenzie Maloney had 12 digs, and Sydney Townsend added 10.
Simone Lee had 15 kills and 13 digs to lead the Nittany Lions.
Set 1: The Huskers led early after Hunter opened the match with a kill and NU proceeded to connect on five kills in seven attacks for a 7-4 advantage. Penn State drew even at 9-9 before Stivrins terminated across the court and Foecke added a kill. Holman scored the next four points for the Huskers via kills and put NU ahead 15-13 at the media timeout. Penn State tied the set again at 16-16 on a kill by Lee, but Stivrins answered again for the Huskers. The teams engaged in a sideout battle until Penn State took a 20-19 lead, its first of the set. After a timeout, Sweet posted a kill and Penn State hit wide to put NU back in front, 21-20. Albrecht tacked on her sixth kill and the Huskers led 22-20 before Penn State took a timeout. It made little difference, however, as Albrecht pounded another kill on the next point. Lee killed for Penn State to end Foecke’s service run and then added another to cut it to 23-22 Huskers. Holman gained set point for the Big Red after Hunter handled a tough pass and, while off balance, set Holman for a kill. The Nittany Lions scored two straight to tie the set at 24-24, but they served long for NU’s third set point. And the Huskers didn’t let that one slip away, as Stivrins and Hunter combined for a block to nab the 26-24 win. The Huskers won the hitting battle .364 to .250.
Set 2: Holman and Albrecht took over in set two as they accounted for a 5-0 run with three straight kills and then went in on two straight blocks for an 8-4 Husker lead. Hunter put down back-to-back kills to put the Huskers up 13-9. NU led 15-12 at the media timeout after another kill by Hunter. After the media timeout, Holman and Foecke tallied back-to-back kills to make it 17-12 and force a Penn State timeout. Penn State drew within 19-17 on a kill by Lee, and the Huskers used a timeout. Albrecht responded with her 12th kill of the match, and Stivrins also terminated for a 21-17 Husker advantage. After a PSU timeout, Albrecht once again found an open spot on the floor for a 22-18 lead. Albrecht and Foecke finished off the 25-19 win as the Huskers hit .390. In the second set alone, Holman and Albrecht combined for 12 kills and teamed up for two blocks.
Set 3: Nebraska came out on the attack once again and went up 9-6 after a pair of blocks, one by Sweet and Stivrins and one by Albrecht and Stivrins. Penn State cut it to 14-13 before an Albrecht kill and a block by Stivrins and Albrecht. Later, Stivrins pounded a kill for an 18-15 lead. The Nittany Lions got within 18-17, but Stivrins came up big as she did all night to give the Huskers a two-point edge again. Holman’s 13th kill of the match made it 22-19 Huskers. Albrecht added back-to-back kills for match point, and the Huskers clinched the sweep on her 19th and final kill of the night.
Up Next: The Huskers travel to face Rutgers on Saturday at 6 p.m. (CT). The match can be viewed online with a BTN Plus subscription and can be heard on Husker Sports Network radio affiliates and on Huskers.com.