Friday night, the number ten Nebraska Huskers welcomed the number eight Minnesota Golden Gophers to the Devaney Center. It was the first home match for the Huskers in nearly three weeks.
The Huskers fell behind early in set one, but after a timeout at 5-7, ran off three points to take the lead and force Gopher coach Hugh McCutcheon to take a timeout. It continued to be a hard fought, back-and-forth battle until the Huskers pulled ahead again, forcing a Minnesota timeout at 16-13 Nebraska.
Minnesota fought back and tied the game at 21, forcing Coach Cook to take his second, and final, timeout of the set. The timeout was followed a Minnesota service error. The Huskers scored the final three points to take the set 25-22 in a run which included a service ace by Amber Rolfzen.
The Huskers outhit the Gophers by a narrow margin, .318-.314 in the first set, with Kelsey Robinson leading the way recording eight kills on 18 attempts while committing just two errors.
The second set started off with Nebraska and Minnesota trading points. A Golden Gopher ace pushed the score to 9-11, and forced Coach Cook to call his first timeout. A block by Meghan Haggerty and Mary Pollmiller tied the set at 12. Nebraska opened up a two point lead at 16-14 to force a Minnesota timeout.
Nebraska pulled ahead and won the second set 25-19. A Kelsey Robinson ace at set point put an exclamation point on what was a remarkable set for her, and the rest of the Big Red.
After two sets, the Huskers were outhitting Minnesota .375-.270.
After the intermission, the Huskers came out hot, opening up a three point lead at 7-4. Kelsey Robinson kept her rhythm, and even the libero got in on the action, with Wong-Orantes sneaking in a dump kill.
A Kelsey Robinson kill to push the lead back to three forced the second Minnesota timeout with the Huskers up 20-17. The Huskers then rode an Amber Rolfzen serving run to a 25-19 victory.
It should be remarked that Kelsey Robinson’s performance tonight was once in a season. She committed only three attack errors throughout the evening, averaging just one per set. She hit .450 on the night. That is fantastic.
Minnesota has two incredible hitters in Daly Santana and Tori Dixon. Santana hit .214 and Dixon hit .286 on the night. The Gophers earned every bit their number eight ranking in the country, with a 14-1 record entering the match. Keep in mind, as well, that their head coach won a gold medal with the men’s national team, and a silver with the women’s.