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#4 Husker Volleyball Beats #24 Michigan

On the night of the annual Pink Out, the Husker Volleyball team knocked off #24 Michigan in Lincoln 3-1.

On Saturday night for the Annual Pink-Out match, the #4 Husker Volleyball team hosted the #24 Michigan Wolverines at the Bob Devaney Sports Center. The Huskers defeated the Wolverines 3-1 (25-18, 25-19, 20-25, 25-17).

The first set began with the teams trading points, with the Huskers opening up the first two-point lead of the match at 7-5. Michigan fought back to the tie, but Coach Cook won a challenge to give Nebraska the 9-8 lead, the Huskers opened the lead to 13-9 and forced the first Wolverine timeout.

The Huskers extended the lead with a Cecilia Hall/Mikaela Foecke block followed by a Foecke kill to extend the lead to 15-9.

A ball-handling error called against Hall paused the Husker run, but the Huskers got the sideout immediately and added to the lead to force Michigan's final timeout of the set with the Huskers up 17-10.

Nebraska took a 19-12 lead, but a three-point Michigan run led to Coach Cook using his first timeout of the set up 19-15.

It stayed close briefly after the timeout, but the Huskers eventually seized control and won the set 25-18.

Michigan hit .263 for the set, a number that's usually good enough to win a set, but the Huskers hit .410 led by Mikaela Foecke's .500 with five kills on ten attempts and no errors. Kadie Rolfzen also had five kills with twelve attempts to hit .417.

Michigan took an early four-point lead in the second set, 5-1, which forced an early timeout from Nebraska Coach John Cook.

The Huskers closed the gap to 7-5 Michigan, but then a 3-0 run by the Wolverines opened the lead up to 10-5 for the Wolverines before an Amber Rolfzen kill.

Nebraska chipped away at the lead and narrowed it to a one-point margin for the Wolverines 13-12, resulting in Michigan's first timeout of the second set.

The Huskers tied the score at 13, but then Michigan went on a run of their own and opened up a 15-13 lead.

A Kadie Rolfzen kill ended the Michigan run and the Huskers held the serve to take their first lead of the set 16-15. Nebraska opened the lead up to 19-15 on a double-hit call on Michigan setter Carly Warner.

Nebraska opened the lead up to 23-16, but Michigan closed it to 23-19 and led to Coach Cook's second timeout. Nebraska took the two points out of the timeout to take the set 25-19.

The Huskers' hitting fell off dramatically in the second set to .119. However, Michigan hit .048 with ten errors. Kadie Rolfzen and Mikaela Foecke continued to lead the way for the Huskers with eight kills apiece. Amber Rolfzen had seven kills through two, but was leading the way with a .455 hitting percentage.

The Huskers had notched seven blocks through two sets with five coming in the second set. Amber Rolfzen was leading the way with one solo and four assisted blocks.

Michigan opened up a three-point advantage early, but Nebraska closed to within one at 6-5 Wolverines and held that margin briefly before Michigan opened the lead to 9-6.

Nebraska, however, went on a 3-0 run to tie the score at nine. The teams then traded points until a two-point Michigan run made the score 15-13 Wolverines at the media timeout.

Michigan extended the lead to three at 16-13 and maintained that lead as the teams traded points until a two-point Michigan run made the score 23-19 Michigan and Coach Cook used his first timeout of the set.

The Huskers took one point thereafter, but surrendered the third 25-20.

Nebraska hit .250 in the set, but Michigan had four hitting errors to the Huskers' five to hit .297 in the third.

Through three, Mikaela Foecke was leading all hitters with 13 kills and was hitting .243. Kadie Rolfzen had 11 kills to hit .276 and Amber had nine kills and was hitting .350.

Early in the second set, Coach Cook used his second challenge of the night on a Foecke attack that sailed long, hoping it had been touched, but he lost the challenge, and the score was 2-1 Michigan.

However, Nebraska recovered and took the lead at 4-3. The Huskers pushed the run to 6-0 and forced a Michigan timeout with the score 8-3 Big Red.

Nebraska opened the lead up to 13-6 and forced the second and final Wolverine timeout of the set.

Michigan cut the lead to as few as four, but never again posed a serious threat to the Huskers as the Huskers closed out the set and the match with a Kadie Rolfzen ace 25-17.

For the night the Huskers hit .263 to .156 for Michigan. Foecke led all hitters for the night with 18 kills and five errors on 46 attempts to hit .283. Both Amber and Kadie Rolfzen had 12 kills with Amber hitting .357 for the night and Kadie hitting .211.

The Huskers had 13 blocks to three for Michigan. Amber Rolfzen continues to thrive in her new position as she had two solo blocks and six assisted blocks. Cecilia Hall also had one solo and four assisted blocks.

The Wolverines actually had four more digs than the Huskers, 69-65 with four players in double-digits. However, Justine Wong-Orantes had 20 of the 65 Husker digs on the night and Kadie Rolfzen added 12 to record another double-double.

The Huskers started slow in both sets two and three, and it allowed Michigan to gain the confidence necessary to take the third. On a night where Penn State fell to Northwestern, the Huskers showed that while they can still beat the Top 25, there is some work to be done to ensure it can be done in the tournament.

Husker blocking continues to be possibly the most marked improvement this season. The combination of Amber and Kadie Rolfzen on the outside combined with Cecilia Hall's improvement as a blocker has been a HUGE upgrade to the Husker block.

While overall service errors have been better for the Huskers this season, it was a problem in sets three and four tonight. Through the first two, the Huskers had no missed serves, but they missed three in the third and four in the fourth for seven total on the night against just two aces.

Foecke recovered nicely from back-to-back disappointing performances against a very good Michigan team tonight. She and fellow freshman Kenzie Maloney are gaining confidence and consistency as the season goes on. That bodes well for the Huskers' chances of finishing the season in Omaha.

The Huskers take to the road next weekend, taking on Northwestern Friday night and Illinois Saturday. Friday's match will be available on BTNPlus, but Saturday's match against Illinois will be televised on BTN and BTN2Go.