After sweeping the Montana State Bobcats at the Bob Devaney Sports Center 25-15, 25-5, 25-16 in the 12:00 matinee, Friday night the #1 Nebraska Cornhusker Volleyball team took on the Gonzaga Bulldogs, earning their second sweep of the day 25-15, 25-12, 25-11.
In the early match, the Huskers hit .544, meaning over 50% of their attacks found the floor against Montana State. The Huskers had 42 kills on 68 swings with only five errors. Olivia Boender played in all three sets tallying 16 kills on 22 swings without an error.
In the Montana State match the Huskers had six blocks, five aces and 33 digs. The leading blockers were Amber Rolfzen, with one solo and two assisted blocks, and Briana Holman with three assisted blocks. Justine Wong-Orantes had ten of the Nebraska digs.
Gonzaga served first and gave the Huskers the ball on a double hit and Kelly Hunter added an ace to make the Husker lead 2-0.
The Bulldogs fought back and put the Huskers down 2-4 before their second ball handling error made the score 3-4 in Gonzaga’s favor.
The Huskers took the lead back on a 4-0 run before an Imani Wimbush kill briefly gave Gonzaga the serve. While Gonzaga kept it close briefly, the Huskers opened the lead up to 15-8 at the media timeout.
Serving woes gave the Bulldogs two of three after the media timeout and they closed to within five of the Huskers at 15-10 after a sloppy point by the Big Red, but Nebraska opened the lead back to seven at 18-11, forcing the first Zags timeout.
Gonzaga couldn’t control the Husker attack after the timeout, and down 23-13 to the Huskers, Bulldogs Head Coach Diane Nelson used her second timeout of the set.
The Bulldogs put together a two-point run out of the timeout, but the Huskers answer with one of their own to close the set out 25-15.
In the first set Amber Rolfzen had three kills on three attempts to hit 1.000 for a Husker team that hit .406 with only two errors. The Huskers had one more dig than the Bulldogs, 15-14, and had three and a half blocks to Gonzaga’s two.
Nebraska opened up a quick 4-1 lead in the second set, but the Bulldogs used two Wimbush kills to tie the score at four.
After a Mikaela Foecke kill gave the Huskers the point, but Gonzaga took the subsequent point and then took their first lead at 5-6, still riding their 5-1 run.
Nebraska took the lead back at 8-7 and began to re-open the advantage on a Kadie Rolfzen ace. Back-to-back Annika Albrecht kills (a phrase we don’t get to say much, as she plays primarily DS), opened the Husker lead to 13-9 and led to a Gonzaga timeout.
While Gonzaga earned the first point after the timeout, Sydney Townsend went on a serving run and opened the lead up to 16-10 Nebraska lead.
While a Gonzaga challenge overturned the referees’ call of ball out of bounds on the Bulldog block and briefly closed the score to 16-12 Huskers, Nebraska got serve back and Kelly Hunter ran off four straight to force a Bulldog timeout trailing 20-12 to the home team.
A Bulldog attack that sailed long kept Hunter on the service line and the Husker run alive. Ultimately the Huskers closed the second set on a 9-0 run to take it 25-12 on a Mikaela Foecke kill.
The Huskers were hitting .403 through two sets. Briana Holman was leading all hitters with seven kills, hitting .333. Annika Albrecht had two kills in the set, bringing her total for the night to three on three swings with no errors. Both Andie Malloy and Kadie Rolfzen had six kills through the first two sets of the match. After two sets, The Big Red had 31 kills to 17 for Gonzaga.
The Huskers added two more blocks in the second set to bring the total for the match to five and a half while Gonzaga added three to tally five through the first two sets. The Huskers also added three aces in the second set and did not record an error.
However, Gonzaga’s first two points of the third set came off of Husker service errors, and Imani Wimbush added a kill to knot the score at three.
Annika Albrecht stepped back to serve with the score 7-5 and aced the Bulldogs and fueled a run that opened the Husker lead to 11-5.
The teams traded sideouts until Kelly Hunter stepped back to the line and dropped a serve to the floor in front of Gonzaga libero Tiyana Hallums. Another Husker point on a Gonzaga hitting error made the score 15-7 Huskers, leading to the media timeout.
Gonzaga closed to 15-9 after the media timeout, but the run was short lived, and the Huskers opened the lead back to eight, 17-9 leading to a Gonzaga timeout.
The Bulldogs never closed in again, and the Huskers closed the set and the match 25-11.
Foecke led all Huskers with 12 kills on the night, hitting .455. Albrecht had the best percentage, hitting .750, with three kills on four swings. Overall the Huskers nearly doubled the Bulldogs’ kill total, with 48 to 25.
The Huskers had six and a half blocks to five for Gonzaga with Amber Rolfzen recording two solo blocks and one assist. Nebraska outdug Gonzaga 47-38, led by Kadie Rolfzen’s 13.
The Huskers’ Saturday night match will be against in-state foe Creighton at 8:00 pm. The match will air live on NET and BTN2Go.