The night before Thanksgiving saw the #5 Nebraska Huskers Women’s Volleyball team travel to Evanston, Illinois to take on the the Northwestern Wildcats. A match that could have been a challenge for the Huskers was anything but as Nebraska swept Northwestern 25-13, 25-20, 25-21.
Nebraska had 41 kills on the night to hit .341 and held Northwestern to 30 kills and .207. Annika Albrecht was the only Husker with double-digit kills, registering ten and hitting .261. The middles were really the stars on the night with both hitting at or above .500. Briana Holman had seven kills and hit .778. Lauren Stivrins hit .500 with eight kills.
The Husker defense was critical again. The team had 35 digs, led by Libero Kenzie Maloney and DS Sydney Townsend, and eight blocks led by Lauren Stivrins’ four assisted blocks.
Serving was much better in this match. The Huskers had eight errors, but righted that with seven aces. While errors are frustrating, being able to offset them with aces makes them palatable. Many high-level teams use a high-risk/high-reward serving mentality and the fact that Hunter Atherton has seen more time than Hayley Densberger of late shows that the team is willing to risk some errors for the payoff that aces can bring regarding momentum heading to the post-season.
The Huskers close out the regular season Saturday night in Lincoln against Iowa. The match will be on NET and on Husker Sports radio affiliates. By the time the match starts, we should have an idea of what the Huskers need to do to secure at least a part of the conference title as Penn State plays at Wisconsin on Friday night.
The conference title will be shared by Penn State and Nebraska if both teams win out. Even though Nebraska beat Penn State in conference play, the tie-breaker is unnecessary for making the NCAA tournament. Either team can secure the title alone if they have fewer losses than the other.
Take a listen to today’s Five Hearts Podcast as Greg and I talk Husker Volleyball and more and preview a bit of the postseason.