The #1 Nebraska Women’s Volleyball team traveled to Penn State and Rutgers over the weekend, coming out on top in a five-set thriller against the Nittany Lions, and easily sweeping the Scarlet Knights.
Friday night was one of the most anticipated matches of the B1G season. It was the first of two meetings in two weeks for Penn State and Nebraska, holders of eight of the last ten National Championships.
Penn State came in limping, having lost three straight matches on the road against Michigan, Wisconsin, and Minnesota. For a good part of the match, it looked like Penn State might get back on track against the Huskers, but a strong fifth set allowed the Huskers to hold on to their confe rence lead with a 3-2 (22-25, 25-17, 25-23, 23-25, 15-11) win.
A big part of the reason for Penn State’s success on the night was the fact that the Nittany Lions seemed to have an answer for Kadie Rolfzen no matter what she tried. For most of the match, Rolfzen’s hitting pace was in the negatives, but by the end she was hitting .056.
This match was won by the Huskers’ other two outside, Mikaela Foecke and Andie Malloy. Both had 19 kills with Malloy hitting .312 and Foecke hitting .235. It marked a coming out of sorts for Malloy, whose struggles throughout the season had led to her being replaced, from time to time, by Olivia Boender. Malloy’s spot was never in doubt on Friday night, as she was the most effective, consistent Husker attacker.
The Nittany Lions had six and a half blocks in the first set, but five and a half through the next four sets to close with 12 on the night. The Huskers were shut out in the first set, but had 13 blocks in the next four sets to outblock the Lions. Amber Rolfzen was part of nine Husker blocks.
Both teams had 81 digs on the night. Yes, 81! Justine Wong-Orantes returned to the floor for the Huskers after missing a match with a head injury and notched 23 of the Huskers’ digs. Kadie Rolfzen and Kenzie Maloney each had 17.
Saturday night, the Huskers made quick work of the Rutgers Scarlet Knights in Piscataway after the long Friday night. The Huskers swept Rutgers 25-10, 25-14, 25-12.
Saturday night saw the Huskers hit .395 to -.024 for the Knights. Kadie Rolfzen had a nice recovery, recording ten kills with no errors to hit .435. Briana Holman also had 12 kills with one error to hit .688. Mikaela Foecke only had six swings on the night, but converted five of them to hit .833.
The Huskers had 11 blocks in the three sets to four by the Scarlet Knights led by Amber Rolfzen again, who was in on eight of the Huskers’ blocks.
The Huskers had 38 digs on the night against 34 for Rutgers. Justine Wong-Orantes was the only Nebraska player in double-digits with 10.
Their play over the weekend earned conference Co-Defensive Player of the Week honors for Amber Rolfzen and Setter of the Week honors for Kelly Hunter.
The Huskers play Iowa at home on Wednesday at 7:00 PM in a match that will be televised on NET-2 and BTN2Go. Saturday the Huskers go back on the road against Indiana. That match will be available on BTN Plus.
All Husker matches are broadcast in Lincoln on B107.3 FM.