The #8 Husker Women's Volleyball Team took to the road on Wednesday, traveling to West Lafayette to face the #16 Purdue Boilermakers. The Huskers faced a dynamic attack, but ultimately earned the win on the night 3-0 (30-28, 25-20, 25-17)
The first set was a back and forth affair, with neither team taking a substantial lead until the Huskers finally opened up the 15-12 lead at the media timeout. The Huskers extended the lead to 18-13, leading to the first Boilermaker timeout of the first set.
Purdue closed the gap out of the timeout, using a 4-1 run to close the gap to 19-17 Nebraska, and causing the Huskers to take their first timeout of the set.
Two Husker hitting errors and an ace by Annie Drews of the Boilermakers tied the score at 21 and led to the second and final Nebraska timeout of the set.
Purdue earned the set point with the score 24-23, but Amber Rolfzen got the touch on her swing and tied the score back up at 24.
The Boilermakers had a second set point with the score 25-24, but two straight Husker points gave the Huskers their first set point, and forced the second Boilermaker timeout of the set with the score 26-25 Huskers.
The Huskers had a set point again at 27-26, 28-27, and finally closed the set out 30-28 on their fifth block of the night.
Set two started like set one with the teams trading points. Nebraska took a two-point lead at 4-2, and a Sydney Townsend ace extended the Husker lead to three, 7-4.
The Husker maintained the three-point lead until a two-point Purdue run closed the gap to one point, 10-9 Nebraska.
Purdue tied the score thanks to a Foecke hitting error at eleven, but a serving error by the Boilermakers and a Kelly Hunter kill opened the lead to two again for the Huskers.
Through the first part of the third set, every time Purdue closed the gap or tied the score, they seemed to make a service error. With the score 14-13 Nebraska, Purdue committed their third service error of the set and gave Nebraska a two-point lead at the media timeout, 15-13.
Purdue ran off two straight points out of the timeout to tie it at 15, but sloppy defensive play by the Boilermakers ended with a free ball not clearing the net, and the Huskers maintaining the lead.
The Huskers took a two-point lead again at 18-16 and forced Purdue Coach Dave Shondell to take his first timeout of the second set.
The Huskers took a 22-19 lead on an attempted setter dump by Purdue that sailed long. The Boilermakers wanted a touch called, but none of the officials saw a touch, and Purdue is not a school with replay available. Ultimately, Purdue took a timeout.
Nebraska kept the serve all the way to their first set point with the score 24-19. Purdue took the point, but a long rally off of Purdue's serve ended with a Kadie Rolfzen kill and the Huskers taking the second set 25-20, and a 2-0 advantage in sets.
The Huskers opened up an early 5-2 lead after a Justine Wong-Orantes ace, but Wong-Orantes followed the ace up with an error, and a Husker ball handling error, and a backrow kill by the Boilermakers tied the score up at five.
The Huskers opened the the lead up to two again, but Purdue once again tied the score, this time at 11. Although Nebraska didn't open up a decisive lead through the first half of the set, Purdue could never get closer than a tie.
The Huskers rode a two-point run, and a Kelly Hunter kill, into the media timeout with a 15-13 lead. The Hunter attack landed out of bounds, but the officials called a touch on the Boilermaker block, the second time that Purdue Coach Dave Shondell disagreed vehemently with the call by the officiating crew.
The Huskers extended the lead out of the timeout, pushing it to 16-13. Nebraska held that margin, and then extended it when Sydney Townsend's serve barely trickled over the net, making the score 19-15 Huskers, and resulting in Purdue's first timeout of the set.
Things didn't get better for Purdue, as the Huskers continued to run the dynamic, aggressive offense at the Boilermakers. A Cecilia Hall slide and Kadie Rolfzen kill on back-to-back rallies gave Nebraska a 21-16 lead and forced Purdue's second and final timeout of the set.
The Huskers had their first match point with the score 24-16, but a Kelsey Fien roll shot missed the baseline, and gave Purdue another serve, and Nebraska their second match point. Fien got a second chance at it and ended the match 25-17. Nebraska closed out the third set on a 12-4 run after the set was tied at 13.
The Huskers outhit the Boilermakers .277-.205 and were led by Kadie Rolfzen (.357) with 11 kills and Amber Rolfzen (.526) with ten kills. Kelsey Fien added nine kills to hit .261.
Justine Wong-Orantes was the only Husker with double-digit digs for the night with 14 of the Huskers' 44 digs. Purdue actually had more digs, 49, for the night.
The Huskers had a relatively low six blocks for the night, all of them assisted blocks with Amber Rolfzen recording five. However, Purdue only recorded four, with two of them being solo.
Again, the Huskers had far more aces than their opponents, with six aces to only one for the Boilermakers. Sydney Townsend had two on the night. Nebraska also had fewer errors, five, than Purdue's eight.
The Huskers looked sloppy in the first half of this match, especially in the first set. However, as the night went on, the Huskers were more able to convert on free ball opportunities, and turn digs in to kills.
This match was a better indication of whether or not the Huskers had overcome the disappointment of the losses to Wisconsin and Minnesota. The Huskers played a top 25 opponent on the road and mostly controlled the match. Even though the team didn't play their best ball in the first set, they managed to fight through and ultimately dictate the outcome of the match. That's going to be an important part of success in the post-season.