Nebraska Volleyball: Huskers Stifle Hoosiers in Packed Devaney

David McGee

The Huskers returned home Saturday to a packed Devaney Center and swept the Indiana Hoosiers.

The University of Nebraska Women’s Volleyball team welcomed the Indiana Hoosiers to the Devaney Center on Friday night to start of the weekend that would see the Huskers playing both teams from the state of Indiana.  The Huskers swept the Hoosiers 25-15, 25-16, 25-16 and gave Coach Cook his 400th win as the Huskers' Head Coach.

Given how effective the slide attack was against the Big Red last Saturday in East Lansing, it was no surprise to see Indiana run it three times in their first five points against us on Friday. However, the Huskers block was much more up to the task.

The Huskers forced a Hoosier timeout at 12-8, and Nebraska kept the four point advantage after the timeout as the teams traded sideouts. At 18-13 Nebraska, the Hoosiers used their second, and final, timeout of the first set. After the timeout, the Huskers pushed the lead to 23-13. The Huskers eventually took the set 25-15.

The Huskers outhit the Hoosiers .208 to a -.071 in the first set due in no small part to the Huskers’ six blocks. Good news for Husker fans was that the ladies did not commit a service error in set one.

No Husker hitter had more than two kills, and Kelsey Robinson had two kills on three attempts against no errors to hit .667. Megan Haggerty and Cecilia Hall both hit .250, and the setter, Mary Pollmiller, hit .500.

The Huskers started off set two with a service error, and gave Indiana an early 3-2 lead, but quickly got it turned around to go up 8-4 before the first Indiana timeout. Indiana scored four of the next five points and forced a Nebraska timeout with the Huskers clinging to a 9-8 lead. Included in that run was a Robinson serve that landed in the first row, and a Haggerty swing on an overpass that missed the sideline by ten feet.

After the set was tied at 11-11, the Huskers began to open up a lead, and the Hoosiers called timeout at 18-13. Blocking began to look better, and the Husker hitters were connecting and keeping the ball in bounds. The Huskers only extended that lead and went on to win the set 25-16.

The Hoosiers hit .056, while the Huskers hit .342. Cecilia Hall pushed her hitting percentage for the match to .364, while Meghan Haggerty was hitting .375 after two sets.

The Huskers committed four service errors in the second set, and through two, neither team had and ace.

The Huskers opened up a quick 4-0 lead to start the fourth set. Indiana couldn’t close the gap and called timeout at 10-5 Nebraska. Indiana used their second timeout at 16-9 Nebraska.

After Nebraska opened up at 19-12 lead, a couple of hitting and defensive errors allowed the Hoosiers to close the gap to 19-14. After the sideout to make it 20-14 Nebraska, the Hoosiers sided out twice, but the Huskers closed out the set 25-16 on a Kadie Rolfzen kill.

Even when Indiana hit a respectable .212 in the third, Nebraska hit .474 with 20 kills on 38 attempts with only two errors for the entire set. The Huskers had two errors and one ace on serve, while the Hoosiers had two aces in the set with no errors.

For the night, the Huskers hit .360. Both Kelsey Robinson and Kadie Rolfzen had 11 kills, with Kadie edging Kelsey .364-.333 in hitting percentage. Cecelia Hall led the Huskers with a hitting percentage of .467 on the night, and the only hitter who had an attempt but was not over .300 was Amber Rolfzen, who still hit .267 as she returned from injury.

Although it felt, when you were watching it like a much higher number. Justine Wong-Orantes led the night with 15 digs as the Huskers and Hoosier both recorded a total of 41 digs on the night. J-Wo was everywhere the Hoosiers put the ball.

The Huskers had nine blocks to Indiana’s five and only one blocking error, while the Hoosiers committed three.

At one point in the night, the Hoosiers had two girls who stand less that 5’ 6” tall on the court at the same time. That is fairly remarkable for D1 volleyball, let alone B1G volleyball. While Courtney Harnish at 5’ 3” and Kyndall Merritt at 4’ 11” are exclusively back row players, it is remarkable to have them playing at that size. It’s a statement to their abilities, as players that size often get overlooked by Division I coaches on that fact alone.

Husker blocking continues to improve. Michigan State scored a lot of points on the slide attack (generally a middle blocker running out and hitting at the right side antenna) and that particular attack is a strength of Indiana’s Awele Nwaeze. Nwaeze only had three kills on the night, and the improved Husker blocking can be credited with a big part of that.

This weekend should be a nice weekend for the Huskers to get back to their winning ways after splitting in Michigan. While there is no such thing as an off weekend in the B1G, coming off of playing two Top 25 teams on the road to having five of the next six in Devaney should help the Huskers put together another run.

My piece about the match with #25 Purdue will be much shorter, as I’ll be in York tomorrow night coaching the Dorchester Longhorns in the Crossroads Conference tournament. GBR, but tomorrow’s all about my (shameless plug) Lady Longhorn Volleyball Team!

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