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Husker Volleyball: Earn a Split In Michigan

The Husker Volleyball team traveled to the State of Michigan, beating the Wolverines, but dropping the match against the Spartans.

David McGee

The Husker Volleyball team went to Michigan, where they beat the #17 Wolverines 3-2 (25-13, 28-26, 10-25, 20-25, 15-8) Friday, but lost to the #7 Michigan State Spartans 3-1 (20-25, 24-26, 25-20, 19-25) on Saturday.

On Friday night, the Huskers outhit (.228-.203), and outblocked (18.0-12.0) the Wolverines and also won the ace battle (8-7) while keeping serving errors to a minimum, with two through five sets. The Wolverines, however, outdug the Huskers 55-50.

There are a couple of remarkable sets in this match. Set one was a 25-13 Husker victory, and it made it appear that the Huskers would make quick work of the home team. The Huskers hit .600 in the set, while Michigan hit .074. However, in the third set, a 10-25 Husker loss, the Huskers hit a dismal -.036 while the Wolverines hit .560.

Kelsey Robinson had another incredible night with a double-double (23 kills, 17 digs). Through the five set match, Robinson had only 3 errors on the night. Kadie Rolfzen added 13 kills and 8 digs, while Justine Wong-Orantes had 9 digs.

A lot of players who haven’t seen a lot of playing time this season, including Morgan Broekhuis and Kelly Hunter saw time on Friday. It’s not surprising to see inconsistent matches from time to time with this young team. This also gives us great cause for optimism to see them able to fight back and win a match like this.

On Saturday night, the Huskers traveled to East Lansing to take on the Michigan State Spartans. There, they ladies suffered their first B1G loss of the season.

While the Huskers improved their hitting over Friday to a .258, the Spartans hit .288. The Huskers, however, outblocked (11.5-8.0) and outdug (52-47) the Spartans. The Huskers' old nemesis, the service error, reared it's ugly head, as the Huskers committed eleven errors to the Spartans' ten.  Michigan State had two more aces (4-2).

Both Kadie Rolfzen (13 kills, 10 digs) and Kelsey Robinson (20 kills, 12 digs) had double-doubles for the night. Robinson hit .333, and Rolfzen hit .219 for the match.

Morgan Broekhuis played in all four sets for the Huskers, playing for the injured Amber Rolfzen. Rolfzen was nursing a minor hamstring injury, but Coach Cook said in his post-match radio show that she’d be fine. Broekhuis recorded five kills on 22 attempts for a .045 hitting percentage.

I was asked on twitter (@Coach_Ty6) how teams can record half of a block (for example, the 11.5 the Huskers recorded against Michigan State). It’s similar to a half-sack in football. An assisted block is counted, in the stats, as a half-block for each hitter. Even if three blockers are credited with an assisted block, it’s recorded as a half-block for each of them.

While using a triple block isn’t terribly common, it does happen from time to time in the middle. Triple blocking leaves the defense vulnerable to a well-placed tip, and it’s hard to do effectively. When it is used, it’s usually done against a middle attack.