The #1 Husker Volleyball team suffered their first loss of the season, falling to the #19 Ohio State Buckeyes 1-3 (25-17, 21-25, 21-25, 13-25).
Set one started off with a flurry of missed serves, and each team having a one-point advantage at various times. Neither team had even a two-point lead until 12-10 Nebraska. The Huskers extended the lead to 15-12 at the media timeout, but to that point in set one, neither team had exerted control.
Nebraska took control out of the media break with a missed Ohio State attack and then an Annika Albrecht ace to take a 17-12 lead, forcing an Ohio State timeout.
Ohio State got the first point out of the timeout, but then the Huskers scored the next two to take a 19-13 lead and force Ohio State into their second timeout of the set.
Nebraska continued to push the offense and extended the lead to as much as eight at 22-14. The Buckeyes closed the gap to 22-16, but the Huskers took set point with a 24-16 lead, and won the set 25-17.
In set one, Nebraska outhit Ohio State .286-.000, led by three kills apiece from Andie Malloy, (.750), Mikaela Foecke (.500), and Kadie Rolfzen (.333).
Ohio State served to start the second set, but Nebraska earned the first point. Ohio State then took the next two and took a one point lead, 2-1.
The teams briefly traded points and leads, but Nebraska took the advantage earlier in the second set, taking the lead 6-4, but quickly opening it to 8-4.
Ohio State closed to 9-8, but Nebraska quickly opened up a three-point advantage again, 11-8.
The Huskers held the three-point advantage briefly, but the Buckeyes closed to 14-13 and Coach Cook used the first Nebraska timeout of the set.
Nebraska took the first point after the timeout, but Ohio State battled back and tied the score at 15, then took a 17-15 lead before a Malloy kill ended the run.
The Huskers tied the score again at 18, but Ohio State took the next two points to take a 20-18 lead and force Nebraska Coach John Cook to call the final Big Red timeout of the second set.
Nebraska never regained control of the set, and ultimately dropped the set 25-21.
After two sets, Nebraska was hitting .229 to .154 for the Buckeyes. Kadie Rolfzen led all Huskers with six kills and a .357 hitting efficiency.
The Huskers took a quick 2-0 lead in the third, but Ohio State came back and took a 6-5 lead.
An Albrecht serve gave Nebraska the lead back at 8-7, but her next serve was in the net, tying the score again and giving Ohio State the serve.
The night’s first challenge came when Nebraska seemed to tie the score at 11 on a Buckeye serve that was called long by the line judge. Video confirmed the call, and the Huskers took the serve.
The next point, however, was also called out, and Ohio State again challenged, submitting that the ball had been touched by a Husker. This time, the officials agreed with the Buckeyes, and the call was reversed.
The score stayed close, with Ohio State taking a two-point advantage into the media timeout, 15-13.
The Huskers took the first three out of the timeout to take the 16-15 lead, but Ohio State then stopped the run and tied it at 16, taking the 17-16 lead on a Husker net violation.
Olivia Boender was inserted for Andie Malloy when the Huskers tied the set again at 19, but Ohio State took the next two points, resulting in a Nebraska timeout trailing 19-21.
Nebraska made the score 21-20 Ohio State on a Boender kill, but Ohio State took the next two points to make it 23-20 Buckeyes and force the second, and final, Nebraska timeout of the set.
Ohio State took their first set point with the score 24-20, but the Huskers fended off one, before falling 25-21 in the third set on a serve hit long.
Ohio State hit .536 in the third set against .312 for Nebraska. The Huskers had committed 10 service errors through three errors, outdone by 11 for the Buckeyes. Kadie Rolfzen led all Huskers with 10 kills.
The first two Husker attacks of the fourth were blocked by the Buckeyes before Briana Holman broke through to score the first Nebraska point with the score 2-1 Ohio State.
Nebraska kept the count within one until a Buckeye run gave Ohio State a 7-3 lead and forced Coach Cook’s hand and Nebraska used the first timeout of the fourth set.
With the team down 8-3, Coach Cook put Annika Albrecht in the front row for Boender and the Huskers took the next point, but a Foecke swing sailed long, and Ohio State found themselves up 9-4. A play at the net gave Ohio State the 10-4 lead, and had Kelly Hunter on the floor, nursing her ankle. She seemed to be okay, and after an extended dead ball, play carried on with Hunter still in the match.
Nebraska couldn’t close the gap, and when Ohio State’s serve found the floor for an ace, the score was 15-8 Buckeyes and the Huskers took their second timeout of the set.
With the Huskers down 17-8, Annika Albrecht was put back in for Andie Malloy in the front row, a rare position for the junior, but it seemed that little could cure what ailed the Big Red, as Ohio State kept extending the gap, leading by eleven at 19-8.
An apparent Husker point was overturned by review when it was ruled that the ball had hit the floor as Mikaela Foecke attempted a pancake near the net.
The set ended in similar fashion, with the Huskers being called for a net violation, dropping the set 25-13 and falling 3-1 in the match.
The Huskers hit -.057 in the fourth set with nine kills against eleven errors on 35 swings.
For the night, Kadie Rolfzen led all Huskers with 13 kills, hitting at a .367 clip. The only other Husker above .200 was setter Kelly Hunter who had three kills on 13 attempts with no errors.
Ohio State far outdug the Huskers 62-53. The Huskers were led by Justine Wong-Orantes’s 18 digs. The Huskers did have more blocks than the Buckeyes, 12-11 , with Amber Rolfzen recording seven block assists for the night.
Though the Huskers seemed right on the verge of breaking through in the second and third sets, the team never looked close in the fourth set, and Ohio State established the lead early and never relinquished.
The question mark at outside hitter grew larger for the Huskers tonight, as Andie Malloy had only four kills on 21 swings with two errors. However, her replacements, Annika Albrecht and Olivia Boender both hit -.167 in her stead.
The fourth set, in particular, did not look like Nebraska Volleyball, a sentiment shared by Coach Cook and the Husker players after the match. It seemed that the players were doing things that we haven’t seen all year from the Huskers, almost over playing for the sake of the kill, rather than doing what had been trained.
This night also proved, again, how brutal the B1G schedule is. This is the fourth straight match for the Huskers taking on Top 25 competition. Ohio State has proven to be a bit of an enigma for the Huskers in the last couple of years, being one of the few teams to regularly beat the Huskers, and on this night they seemed to come in with something to prove, throwing themselves all over the floor to keep balls alive, and finishing points the Huskers couldn’t.
The Huskers have some time to get right, as the next match is Friday, again at home against Indiana on Friday at 7:00 pm Central in an NET televised match, and Sunday at 2:00 pm Central against Purdue in a match that will air on ESPN2.