On Friday night at the Bob Devaney Sports Center, the Huskers swept the University of Denver Pioneers 25-15. 25-17, 25-21 in front of 8,332.
On the night, the Huskers hit a respectable .281 to DU’s .153. Kadie Rolfzen led the attackers with a .364 but was followed closely by Amber Rolfzen with .333 and Kelsey Fien who whit .308, but led the team with 11 kills.
The Huskers outdug the Pioneers 41-35, and had 11 service aces, the most recorded in one match by a Husker team since 2005.
The Huskers lost the first point against the Colgate Raiders, but the Annika Albrecht, playing Kelsey Fien’s back row, went on a four-point run. Colgate got close again at 5-4, but then Coach Ryan Baker used his first timeout down 9-4. The first set never got close again, with the Huskers eventually closing out Colgate 25-9.
The Huskers hit a phenomenal .593 for the set led by Kadie Rolfzen’s .700 with seven kills and no errors. In fact, the Huskers only recorded on hitting error for the set.
The Big Red added five total blocks to make an overall dominating performance. The only red mark was the three missed serves to one ace.
The Raiders had first serve in the second set and served the ball into the net to give the Huskers the first point. The Huskers extended the lead, aided by three Colgate service errors, and forced a Raider timeout up 8-3. The Huskers never looked back and eventually beat Colgate 25-12.
The Huskers were helped mightily by the five service errors committed by the Raiders in the second set. Through two sets, Nebraska had 28 kills to Colgate’s 11. Colgate was hitting -.039 while Nebraska was hitting at a .479 clip.
Colgate kept it tight at the beginning of the third set, holding a lead at 4-3, but Colgate used their first timeout trailing 8-4. The Huskers kept the pressure on and ultimately beat the Raiders 25-15.
For the match, Kadie (.458) and Amber Rolfzen (.500) led the way with 14 and 11 kills, respectively. The team hit .450 for the match, which is a huge statement by a team who has been looking for an identity.
Justine Wong-Orantes had 19 of the Huskers 38 digs on the night, and Kadie Rolfzen solidified her place as the MVP of the Ameritas Players Challenge with 3 solo blocks.
The Huskers looked good against what is an inferior opponent. After starting with two losses to top 15 teams, the Huskers have had a nice run on the schedule to get some things right and build confidence.
However, Creighton comes to Lincoln on Wednesday, and Texas (having beaten Nebraska twice last year) will be at Devaney on Saturday. Both Creighton and Texas pose a much bigger challenge to the Huskers than any of the last five opponents, so we will see whether concerns from the first two matches remain.
There are still a couple of glaring concerns for Nebraska. The middle blockers are still struggling to close their block, making the job difficult for the defense. They also still seem to be a team desperate for a leader.
Improvements need to be made before the gauntlet of the B1G, and time is getting short. The Huskers play Iowa on Wednesday the 24th in Lincoln. The B1G is the best conference in the country, and the resolve of a still young team will be tested.