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Nebraska Volleyball: #9 Huskers fall to #6 Illinois

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Returning home to Devaney didn’t provide any relief for the road-weary Huskers as they dropped another top-ten match up to Illinois.

The #9 University of Nebraska Huskers Women’s Volleyball team returned home after what proved to be a brutal road trip on Saturday night. After playing three straight top ten teams on the road, the Huskers were greeted at home by a familiar face in Illinois Head Coach Chris Tamas, and what is become a familiar result against the nation’s elite, falling 1-3 to the #6 Illini 29-27, 19-25, 25-27, 22-25.

Again the Huskers struggled to find the floor with their attacks. Nebraska hit .099 on the night, far below the standard we’ve come to expect from the Husker attack. Senior outside hitter Mikaela Foecke had 17 kills and hit .145. Sophomore middle blocker Lauren Stivrins hit .292 with nine kills.

A major factor in neither team hitting well, Illinois hit .187, was the defense. Both teams had 12 blocks and the Huskers had 99 digs. Illinois had 104 digs. Three Huskers had twenty or more digs. Senior libero Kenzie Maloney had 24; Freshman setter Nicklin Hames had 23; Sophomore outside hitter Lexi Sun had 20.

Freshman middle Callie Schwarzenbach had seven block assists to lead the Husker defense at the net.

Again inconsistency and inexperience seemed the driving force for the Huskers. There’s no doubt that this team is athletic and capable, but players like Hames, Sun, and Schwarzenbach haven’t played at this level for this long. The B1G volleyball season is the most brutal conference season in the nation, and there is not a night off. There also isn’t a chance to feel sorry for yourself after a loss because the next opponent, even the cellar-dwellers of the conference, are better than many of the teams others play in conference play.

This team will be tougher for the run they’ve had. Unfortunately, it gets tougher before it gets easier with Penn State coming to Devaney on Friday at 7:00 PM Central. That match will air on BTN. Saturday night Rutgers comes to Devaney on Saturday night for another 7:00 PM match. That match will air on NET and BTN2Go.

GBR