Husker Volleyball Picks Up Two Huge Road Wins

David McGee

The Husker Women's Volleyball Team picked up two road wins against top 25 teams this weekend, taking down #16 Wisconsin in four sets, and #9 Minnesota in a marathon five set match.

On Friday night, the Huskers traveled to Madison, Wisconsin and beat the #16 Badgers 3-1 (18-25, 25-20, 25-23, 25-19).

The Huskers lead the Badgers in nearly every category. They outhit Wisconsin .248-.208, outblocked them 11.0-7.0, outdug them 63-62 and committed three fewer service errors, six to Wisconsin’s nine.

Kelsey Robinson and Kadie Rolfzen both recorded double-doubles on the night. Robinson had 21 kills (.439) and 13 digs while Rolfzen registered 19 kills (.341) with 17 digs.

Justine Wong-Orantes added 14 more digs for the night and one service ace. Cecilia Hall had a remarkable eight block assists on the night.

The Huskers finished off their weekend road trip in Minneapolis against the #9 Minnesota Golden Gophers with a 3-2 win (25-22, 15-25, 27-25, 15-25, 15-11). The win capped a fantastic weekend for Husker sports (See: Soccer, MBB, WBB, Football).

Mary Pollmiller started the first set off with a service ace. The Huskers opened up a 6-3 lead before a Kadie Rolfzen service error. The Huskers forced the first Minnesota timeout up 8-4. Two straight Gopher aces forced Coach Cook to take a timeout leading 12-10.

A Brenna Lyles ace pushed the lead to 15-11 Big Red before a Santana kill gave Minnesota the sideout and the point.

Minnesota tied the game up at 20, the first tie since 2-2, and forced the Huskers’ second and final timeout. After a premature whistle and replay at 21-20 Huskers, Kelsey Robinson and Cecilia Hall teamed up to block the Gophers’ right side attack to force Minnesota’s second timeout with the Huskers up 22-20.

Santana’s second service error for the Golden Gophers gave the Huskers set point up 24-22, and they took advantage, using a Kadie Rolfzen kill to win the set 25-22.

Kadie Rolfzen started the second set with a kill. Minnesota stayed right with the Huskers and took their first lead of the match at 4-3 in the set. The teams stayed close, but Minnesota opened up at 12-9 lead, and the Huskers used their first timeout.

With the Huskers down 14-9, Broekhuis entered the match for Amber Rolfzen and immediately recorded a kill down the line from the outside.

Minnesota pushed their lead to 19-14 on a serve receive error by Meghan Haggerty and Justine Wong-Orantes. Coach Cook called the second timeout with Minnesota up 20-14.

Kelsey Fien entered with the Huskers down 21-14 for Kadie Rolfzen, and then Melanie Keil came in for Meghan Haggerty. The Huskers gave up the set 15-25.

In the second set, the Huskers’ serve receive seemed plagued by communication problems, while the middles, especially Meghan Haggerty were leaving holes in the block that Minnesota’s outside hitters easily exploited.

The Huskers started strong in the third set with a Kadie Rolfzen kill to go up 1-0. The Huskers took a 3-1 lead on Alexa Ethridge’s serve. The Huskers eventually pushed it to a three point lead at 6-3, and kept that gap for awhile.

The Huskers pushed the lead to 13-9 on a Kadie Rolfzen ace and forced Minnesota Coach Hugh McCutcheon to use his first timeout.

Minnesota closed the Husker lead to two, at 16-14, when Coach Cook called his first timeout of the set.

Like the first set, Minnesota tied it up at 20, and the Huskers went on a 2-0 run before Minnesota called a timeout. The Huskers pushed the lead to 23-21 before Minnesota closed it back up and tied it at 23, forcing a Huskers timeout, their last of the set.

Haggerty and Amber Rolfzen combined to stuff the Minnesota outside attack and earn the set point, but Minnesota answered with two quick points to get their first set point, and first lead of the set, at 25-24. Nebraska pushed the next three points, including a brilliant kill by Meghan Haggerty, to win the set 27-25.

The fourth set started with a 4-0 Minnesota run. Minnesota continued to push the advantage, opening up an 11-5 lead before a Daly Santana service error. Nebraska took their second, and final, timeout down 15-8.

Kelsey Fien checked in for Kadie Rolfzen again with the Huskers down 16-8. After a Fien error put the Gophers up by nine, the Huskers went on a 3-0 run kept alive by great defense from both Robinson and Wong-Orantes.

Alicia Ostrander checked in for Cecilia Hall after Hall took a ball off the head on a block. A couple of errors by Amber Rolfzen saw her subbed out for Morgan Broekhuis.

Minnesota opened up their biggest lead of the set at 24-14 on their first set point. The Huskers earned the point and sideout, but Minnesota won the set 25-15.

The Huskers took a 3-0 lead in the deciding set off three straight Kadie Rolfzen kills, the third coming on a Minnesota overpass. Minnesota used their first timeout down 3-0.

The Gophers came out of the timeout and went on a 3-0 run, forcing the Huskers first timeout of the fifth.

The Huskers put together a run of their own out of their timeout and opened up a three point lead at 7-4. The Huskers were up 8-5 at the switch.

The Huskers forced the second Minnesota timeout with a 10-6 lead. The Huskers opened the lead up to 13-8 before the Gophers put together two straight points and Coach Cook took a timeout up 13-10. Out of the timeout, a Gopher service error gave the Huskers their first matchpoint. The Huskers ended up closing out the match with a 15-11 fifth set victory.

On the night, the Gophers actually outhit the Huskers by a large margin, .335-.254, and outblocked the Huskers 11.5-9.0. The Huskers outdug the Gophers 71-58, and had four more kills for the Huskers, 71-67.

Kadie Rolfzen had 20 kills on the night, a career high, and hit .351. She also added 11 digs to tally her second double-double of the road trip. Justine Wong-Orantes added an incredible 24 digs on a night where Mary Pollmiller had 61 assists.

While Kelsey Robinson made more hitting errors than is typical for her, she came up big in key moments, including one rally where she was set four times before she finally put the ball away. Nonetheless, she hit .250 for the night with 23 kills and 18 digs, giving her another double-double.

While the Huskers have won tight matches this season, going into the packed house of a top ten team and grinding out a win like this is a great experience builder for a young team. This win puts the Husker Volleyball team in charge of their own destiny for the conference title. A quirk of the scheduling means we only have to play Penn State once this season, and it happens at Devaney. However, we have Michigan and Michigan State coming to Lincoln next weekend. Both are top 25 teams.

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