The #1 ranked Husker Volleyball Team traveled to Albuquerque, New Mexico for the Lobo Classic. The Huskers returned to Lincoln with three sweeps over Arkansas, New Mexico, and Montreal, though the Montreal match was an exhibition.
Against Montreal the Huskers won 25-14. 25-10, 25-12. The Huskers hit .333 for the match while holding Montreal to -.080. Briana Holman led the Huskers with nine kills on 16 swings for the match hitting .312. Olivia Boender saw time in two sets on Thursday, hitting .667 with four kills on six swings with no errors. Tiani Reeves also saw time in one set, hitting -.250. This was Reeves’ first action of the season.
The exhibition match was scheduled, in part, so the Huskers could adapt to the altitude in Albuquerque. Albuquerque is 5300’ above sea level, not an elevation the Huskers face in the B1G, and Coach Cook mentioned, after his press conference following the Oregon State match, that it was something the Huskers would have to adjust to. Serves, in particular, travel farther at that elevation.
It paid off. Friday night the Huskers took on Arkansas sweeping the Razorbacks 25-19, 25-15, 25-21. The Huskers hit .255 to .111 for Arkansas and were lead by Senior Andie Malloy’s 10 kills and .500 hitting percentage. No other Husker had double-digit kills on the night, but Kadie Rolfzen added nine kills of her own to hit .250.
The Huskers were actually outblocked by Arkansas in the match 6-4 and were also outdug 37-34. Statistically, it wasn’t a great match for the Big Red, but they had fewer service errors, eight to the Razobacks’ 10, and more aces, five to Arkansas’ two, so they team clearly scored when it mattered. Additionally, Arkansas had five ten fewer kills and five more errors than the Huskers, so even when the Huskers didn’t look their best, they still found a way to win.
Saturday night, the Huskers took on the hosts, the New Mexico Lobos. Nebraska looked much more like themselves against New Mexico in the 25-22, 25-20, 25-14 sweep. The block was back in effect with nine Huskers blocks to five for New Mexico. Briana Holman led the way with five block assists and one solo block. Kelly Hunter added four block assists of her own.
For the second straight match, Andie Malloy led the way in Husker kills with 14 and a .385 percentage. Again Kadie Rolfzen had the second-most kills with nine. The Huskers hit .311 as a team to New Mexico’s .110.
Kadie Rolfzen led the team in digs on the night with 16 of the team’s 43. Kelly Hunter was second on the team with seven. The Huskers again outserved their opponent, recording five aces to two for New Mexico, though the Big Red also had eight errors on the night.
One of the best signs in the early season for the Huskers is the dynamic offense. Even though no player has posted phenomenal kill numbers, the team number is still high, so the ball is getting spread around. All six attackers are contributing in a significant way which makes the offense hard to predict and harder to defend. The hitters are seeing more solo blocks, which gives them more court into which they can hit.
The weekend was also a breakout weekend for Andie Malloy. She showed what the Huskers were hoping to see from the graduate transfer. Leading the team in both matches in kills solidified her position as Mikaela Foecke’s opposite.
Next weekend, the Huskers host the Ameritas Players’ Challenge at the Bob Devaney Sports Center next weekend. On Friday afternoon at noon the Huskers will take on Montana State and then on Friday evening, the 7:30 match pits the Huskers against Gonzaga. That match will be on NET and BTN2GO. Saturday night at 8:00 the Huskers take on in-state rival Creighton in another NET televised match (also available on BTN2Go).