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Volleyball Drops First Two of the Season

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Huskers Drop Matches to Florida State and Seminoles at Devaney to open the 2014 season

David McGee

The Husker Volleyball season did not start the way most had imagined or hoped it would. After going up 1-0 against Florida State (ranked 12th nationally), they lost the next three to go 0-1 on the season. Things got even worse on Sunday when the Stanford Cardinal (No. 3) swept the Huskers at Devaney in decisive fashion.  It marked the first time in program in history (according to BTN) that the Huskers dropped three in a row at home.

On Friday night, the stat battle was pretty closely matched, with the Huskers actually outscoring the Seminoles 96-95. The Huskers started strong with a 25-18 win, but then lost 25-27, 23-25, 23-25 to lose the match 1-3. Husker hitting was an unremarkable .182 for the match while the ‘Noles hit .176.

The entire box score was similar. The Seminoles had ten service errors to the Huskers’ seven. However, the Huskers had two aces to the Seminoles’ five. The teams had an identical number of total attacks (170), errors (26) and the Huskers had one more kill than the Seminoles (57-56).

On Sunday, the Huskers were dominated, in nearly every category, by the Stanford Cardinal. Stanford had 22 more kills than Nebraska on seven fewer attempts, 23 more assists (a product of the kills), and 17 more digs.

It’s early, and while both Alicia Ostrander and Kelsey Fien had more than a couple of nice moments (Ostrander had 18 kills against FSU, and Fien hit .333 with nine kills against Stanford), the loss of Kelsey Robinson loomed large.

The Huskers had multiple opportunities to take control of the match against Florida State, and only did so in the first set. They allowed the Seminoles to stay in the match and ultimately take it.

Nebraska never really looked like they were in it against Stanford. Blocks didn’t get closed, leaving an incredibly talented team with free reign to attack the Huskers defense, which didn’t seem to make an attempt to stop the attack.

Two matches, just one weekend, into the season, the lack of leadership in the program was evident. There didn’t seem to be a player who was ready to take the team on her shoulders and help them out of slumps. Even though it doesn’t need to be the same player all the time like it was last year, there was no single player who looked willing to carry the load for even a short period.

Coach Cook tends to find answers. He’s also willing to make unpopular choices to make a difference. Kadie Rolfzen, Kelsey Fien, Alicia Ostrander, and Annika Albrecht all saw reps at outside hitter, and also spent sets on the bench. There is incredible experience at our setter spot, but if hitters aren’t terminating, there’s only so much that she can do.

The Huskers have a lot of key matches coming up, and travel to Dayton to play Dayton, Bakersfield, and Eastern Kentucky this weekend. Hopefully this will give the team a chance to get their rotation solidified and work through some glaring issues from the past weekend.

GBR