The #1-Ranked Nebraska Huskers Womens’ Volleyball Team traveled to the state of Michigan over the weekend to take on two ranked teams in the #22 Michigan Wolverines and the #20 Michigan State Spartans. The Huskers swept Michigan Friday, but needed an extra point in the fifth set Saturday night to knock off the Spartans 3-2.
Friday night, Nebraska went in to Ann Arbor and beat the Wolverines 3-0 (25-22, 25-20, 25-18). The Huskers hit .234 to .118 for the Wolverines on the night. Briana Holman led all Husker attackers with a 11 kills and a .556 hitting pace. Kelly Hunter hit .800 for the night with four kills on five attempts.
The Huskers outblocked the Wolverines 13-7, led by Kadie Rolfzen’s five block assists and one solo block. Michigan actually outdug Nebraska 47-43 Friday, but two Huskers, Hunter and Justine Wong-Orantes both had double-digit digs on the night, with J-Wo leading the way, notching 12 digs.
Saturday night in East Lansing proved a little more exciting for Husker fans, and resulted in the Huskers doubling their set-loss total for the season. The Huskers dropped the first two sets against Michigan State before ultimately prevailing 3-2 (22-25, 23-25, 25-20, 25-14, 16-14).
It’s worth mentioning that Nebraska trailed most of the fifth, in fact being down a match point, before fighting back to take the match.
The Huskers hit .303 for the match to .214 for the Spartan attack. Kadie Rolfzen and Mikaela Foecke led the Huskers hitters with 16 and 17 kills respectively and both hit .289. Amber Rolfzen added eight kills to hit .438, and Annika Albrecht was again part of the offense, recording three kills on five attempts to hit .600.
The Huskers’ defense was key in keeping in and ultimately winning this match with 15 more digs, 68-53, than the Spartans had. Wong-Orantes had 14 digs with Albrecht getting 13 of her own. The Huskers also had 13 blocks to 10 for Michigan State led by Hunter, Amber Rolfzen, and Briana Holman with one solo block and five block assists apiece.
Saturday also saw Olivia Boender replace Andie Malloy in the third set and play in her place in the fourth and fifth sets. Whether this change will be permanent remains to be seen, but Boender has played very well in Malloy’s place in the games she’s played this season.
The Huskers next match is Wednesday against the Illinois Fighting Illini on Wednesday in Champaign before coming home on Friday to take on Ohio State at the Devaney Center. The Illinois match will be televised Wednesday on BTN and BTN2Go at 7:30 Central. Friday’s match will be carried live on NET at 7:30 Friday.