(6-1) Nebraska 1, (9-0) Minnesota 3 - 15-25, 25-20, 24-26, 23-25
There were good times and there were bad. Ultimately, Minnesota was able to go on long point runs and NU couldn’t recover from those. The Huskers started slow in each set. They were able to recover in sets 2 and 3 from those slow starts. They won set 2 but in set 3 Samedy took over in the last 5 points that the Gophers captured that set.
The good parts were Hames on defense and her attacking; she was much more aggresive offensively tonight. Akana dug some tough balls and changed the momentum of the match multiple times. Kubik and Stivrins were highly productive as offensive weapons.
Coach Cook said after the match “This team has forgotten how hard they have to play. They train hard but MN has been in some battles. I think we are going to play a lot better on Sunday.”
Here is how it all happened:
Set 1 - There were fast rallies early on with the ball finding the floor quickly. At 9-3 there was a long rally and from there we started seeing more defense. There were major blocks against the predictable sets, MN scouted NU well. At 19-10 we saw the double sub with Schwarzenbach and Zuhn. Zuhn made two hitting errors before a big Sun and Schwarzenbach block. Akana was in to serve and play defense and made two great digs at 13-24 to give the Huskers some momentum. That is all it was though, no win, just momentum.
Set 2 - CC McGraw served her third ace of the match in the early points of this set. Caffey finally had enough and dented the floor with her next kill. Two points later Caffey found the block of Shaffmaster and Pitman. At 4-8 a Stivrins block and Hames dump brought life to the Husker side of the court. Caffey had two monster blocks in the middle at 9-11 to continue the back and forth point scoring in this set. After a Samedy error (did you see that camera angle with the ball coming right at you?!!) there was a tie and Zuhn followed that point with her first kill of the match to make it 14-14. Sun had two great digs at that led to a Hames bump set and kill by Stivrins. One more Stivrins point on the slide led to 21-17 Nebraska and a Gopher time out. Nebraska took set two on a Densberger serve and MN net violation.
Set 3 - Huskers got out to a slow start 7-2 before they came to life with Hames attack and a couple Akana digs. Sun continue to struggle to find a kill. At this point in the match she had 3 kills, 5 errors for a -.095 hitting percentage. At 9-12 Sun came to life with two kills and Zuhn had a monster kill on the right side to bring it within one. Caffey and Zuhn had a HUGE block to make it 15-12 NU. At 17-16 Kubik took a big swing and came back just as fast on the NU floor from Shaffmaster, 17 all. Zuhn came in at the end of the set after a bunch of MN subs for a big kill. Coach McCutcheon did not hesitate to sub anyone as he saw the match going in NUs favor. Samedy extended the set with a kill to make it 24-24 and she continued to get kills at will to give MN set three 26-24. This set should have been a NU win and was the turning point of the match.
Set 4 - NU fell behind again this set 1-4 before Landfair made a hitting error and send Knuckles to the service line for an ace. After a side out, next Akana served and she had two aces! Coach Cook challenged a play (although he couldn’t find his green card) but lost the challenge. Two Rollins blocks on Stivrins took the score to 9-12 and a NU timeout. At 15-18 Akana came into serve. After a great Akana dig, Stivrins finished the point with a kill. MN timeout 16-18. Akana took them all the tied before the side out. MN challenged an out call on a Samedy hit to reverse the score 20-21 (Samedy is super human). Double sub for blocking brought Anni Evans and Jazz Sweet in at 21-21. Sun blocked 22-21. Pittman had a great blocking night. She blocked a career best 14 times. A Shaftmaster kill made it 23-24. A Sun hitting error ended the match 23-25.
After a rest day on Saturday, the teams will square off again on Sunday at 11 a.m. on BTN. The BTN telecasts will also have live streams available on the FoxSports app and website.
Results for B1G and Top 25 Teams
#8 Penn State 3 Indiana 1
#11 Purdue 3, Northwestern 0
#26 Michigan 2, Maryland 3 (Maryland’s first win of the season)
#27 Ohio State 3, #34 Illinois 1
Iowa 3, Rutgers 1
#10 Washington 3, #36 Colorado 2
#15 UCLA at Arizona State - Friday and Sunday, Pac 12 Networks
#18 San Diego 3, Gonzaga 0
#25 Missouri vs Georgia - Friday and Saturday, ESPN+