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Volleyball: Ameritas Players' Challenge Recap

The Husker Volleyball Team won the 10th annual Ameritas Players' Challenge over the weekend, sweeping UC-Davis, Georgia Tech, and the University of South Florida

For the 2015 Ameritas Players' Challenge, the Nebraska Huskers Volleyball Team welcomed the University of California-Davis, the University of South Florida, and Georgia Tech to the Bob Devaney Sports Center on September 11th and 12th.

The Huskers played the UC-Davis Aggies on Friday night easily 3-0 (25-17, 25-11, 25-17). Leading the way for the Huskers was freshman Mikaela Foecke with 12 kills and a .450 hitting percentage. Cecilia Hall had 8 kills and hit .615. The team had eight blocks to one for the Aggies.

Saturday started early for the Huskers, with a 10:00 am first serve against the USF Bulls. However, the result was much the same, with the Husker sweeping the Bulls 25-13, 25-21, 27-25.

The first set against South Florida looked like what we expected, with the Huskers winning easily, but the next two weren't so easy. In the second, the score was essentially tied until the Huskers began to pull away at 11-9.

The third was even worse, with the Huskers trailing by as much as five, and not taking the lead until 20-19 on a Kelly Hunter kill. USF made it interesting again, taking a 23-21 lead, but Justine Wong-Orantes finished the set and match off with a kill.

The Huskers hit .357 to USF's .221 and had 52 kills against 39 for the Bulls. Foecke (13, .571), Boender (10, .286), and Kadie Rolfzen (10, .333) lead the way for the Huskers in kills, and Kadie(14) and Boender(13) also had double-digit digs to give both players a double-double for the morning. Wong-Orantes also had 14 digs for the match.

After a marathon five-set match for the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets, in which they beat UC-Davis (the third set went 37-35), they faced the Huskers at 4:00 pm. Perhaps in anticipation of the football game, the Huskers swept the Yellow Jackets easily, 25-13, 25-15, 25-21

The first set felt much like the first against USF, with the Huskers striking hard and early, and never letting off.

The second set gave Husker fans a brief moment of concern, as the Huskers trailed 3-1, but it was short lived, as a 9-0 run put the Huskers up big for good.

Set three was more competitive. The Huskers opened up a 10-5 lead, and then Georgia Tech closed the gap and tied it up. The score was tied briefly until the Huskers began to open a lead up at 15-14. Nebraska grew that lead for the remainder of the set.

The Huskers hit .389 for the match with 41 kills and only 6 errors. Mikaela Foecke led the way with 12 kills on 19 attempts with no errors, hitting .632. Kadie Rolfzen added 8 kills, and Kelsey Fien added seven.

The Huskers outblocked the Yellow Jackets 11-4, but were outdug 39-36, with no Husker in double digits.

Coach Cook played with lineups throughout the weekend. We saw Mikaela Foecke and Olivia Boender playing outside with Kadie Rolfzen opposite the setter. Meghan Haggerty and Cecilia Hall played middle. Amber Rolfzen saw the court for the first time this month. Brooke Smith also had extensive time at DS as a serving specialist.

Serving was a bright spot on the weekend for the Huskers, as the team is making fewer errors to this point in the season. Cecilia Hall's offense was also a bright spot, as she's not been a force in the past. The blocking still looks better than it has in the past, and perhaps the move to right side for Kadie Rolfzen precipitated that.