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Nebraska Volleyball Comes Back to Win in Five Sets Over Ohio State

Lauren Stivrins did so much more than block and hit, she is a leader!

Jon Johnston

Nebraska 3, Ohio State 2 - 21-25, 21-25, 25-20, 25-20, 15-10

Ohio State has played seven five set matches. Nebraska has played one, which was tonight. OSU hadn’t lost one, until tonight.

Nebraska was down early at 0 sets to 2, but the difference was that Lauren Stivrins had a hot hand the whole night.

Ohio State’s Emily Londot was too. Coach Cook said “by game three they (NU) decided to start playing at our level” Nebraska made blocking adjustments after set two and largely slowed Londot down. That was the difference in the match.

When asked about what he said between sets 2 and 3 Coach Cook responded “I didn’t say much, I told them we need to thump our serves to set the tone for the match”. Nebraska made more service errors in sets 3, 4 and 5 but they also played more defense, made more kills and ultimately won, so we can overlook those service error for now.

It made a difference that Riley Zuhn started getting kills on the right side. She didn’t start the match, Jazz Sweet did, but Zuhn got the nod in the third set and didn’t look back. She started slow but got better and better as the match went on. Her blocking in sets four and five made an impact.

Stivrins was great on the court; she had 17 kills, hit .406 and had 5 blocks. Those are great stats and a major contributions to the win but it wasn’t the biggest role she had in the match. Coach Cook said “Lauren Stivrins is a great leader, she was talking to those guys the whole way”. Stivrins is the person that makes others better on the court both through her play and her leadership role.

Coach called this halftime in the weekend. He is going to look at stats and get ready for tomorrow night.

Here is the play by play minus a few plays that I miss while I was getting snacks for the kids.

Set 1 - NU started with Knuckles serving. This is a new starting rotation. Sweet gets the first kill of the night! Back and forth with kills and some roll shots landing 4-4. OSU freshman Londot did damage early getting to 5 kills quickly, 6-8. OSU has a big block on Kubik and then hits off Hames hands which leads to a NU timeout, 8-13. Straight out of the timeout a Kubik attack travels over the net for a waiting Stivrins, 9-13. Some good Kubik serving and Stivrins kills, 11-13. OSU continues to be aggressive with swings and serving, 13-17. Second timeout NU. NU get stuck in rotation 1 when Sweet swings on the left which is challenging for her as a lefty. A couple OSU hitting and serving errors, 16-21. Zuhn subbed in for Kubik to put a bigger block on Londot. Londot hits around the block, 17-23. A call was overturned on set point to give NU another life, 19-24. NU fought for a few more points but still lost the first set, 21-25.

Set 2 - NU started in the same rotation. There must be a match up reason for the change in starting rotation. Knuckles makes a great dig which leads to a Sun kill, 4-1. Big block by Hames and Caffey, 5-2. Service error and Caffey gets blocked, 5-4. Stivrins is on fire, quick attack in the middle 8-7. Great effort and dig by Sun, 9-8. A couple errors at the net by the Huskers, 10-11. The backrow attack is effective, 13 all. Caffey gets her first kill of the match, 14-14. Caffey with another kill plus a OSU setting error, 16-15. Akana serves an ace, 19-16. The NU block is late or off and getting used a lot, 19-18. Kubik hitting error and late block attempt, 19-20. Stivrins hangs in the air for what seemed like seconds, kill, 20 all. Overturned call goes OSU way, 20-22. Stivrins returns to the slide, 21-22. Evans comes in to serve instead of Desberger. Couple kills drop for OSU and then a two handed set goes for a kill to give OSU set 2, 21-25.

Set 3 - Akana is the first server for Nebraska, ACE, 2-0. Londot continues to get kills with 17, 3-2. Stivrins returns the kill favor for her 1,000th kill, 4-2. Zuhn is in this set and makes a hitting error, 6 all. The next play Zuhn tools the block, 7-6. Stivrins has a hitting error and then is blocked, 8-8. Sun kills the overpass, 11-9. Really accurate defense sending balls right up to the setter for OSU, kills Raider, 11-12. Some well placed tips by Hames and Sun both fall, 13-12. Densberger serves an ace and then serves an error, 14-13. Caffey on the slide makes it 15-13. Great defense by Sun and Hames but the point goes to the Buckeyes, 17-15. Knuckles ace, 19-15. Big kill by Zuhn on the right side, 20-16. It was side-out back and forth, 23-19. Caffey with a kill to give set point, 24-19. Zuhn finishes this set, 25-20.

Set 4 - Stivrins starts the set with a kill, 1-0. And another for Stivrins, 2-0. A well earned point with digs and ended with a Hames Stivrins block, 4-0. 2 OSU kills on the outside made it 6-5. Zuhn with a kill 9-6 and a big block with Stivrins and Zuhn, 10-6. The service errors were a story in this set keeping OSU in it. Akana’s mistake makes it 11-9. Knuckles defense was outstanding. On this play she made a one arm grab, Hames sends it out to Sun for the kill, 13-11. The Buckeyes libero makes an impressive dig that leads to a OSU point. That was some momentum. Hames wins a joust, 15-14. Momentum reversed. Knuckles made her 21st dig of the night that resulted in a Kubik kill, 18-15. OSU takes a time out after another Husker point, 19-15. Zuhn was very effective with a roll for a kill, 20-16. Big Stivrins block makes 21-17 and then a slide with a roll shot for 22-17. Akana missed her serve and Stivrins lost a joust at the net, 22-19. Kubik’s kill makes it 23-19. Densberger serves then digs for a Kubik kill, 25-20.

Set 5 - Despite a great Knuckles dig, OSU earns the first point, 0-1. Stivrins makes her first kill of set five for her 17th! 1-1. Kubik and Stivrins team up for a block, 2-1. Akana ace, 3-1. Akana is passing nails (really well), Kubik kill, 4-1. A big block by Sun and Stivrins, 5-2. Coach Cook challenges the next play on a Sun kill attempt. The call stays with OSU, 5-3. They spent 3 minutes reviewing the play. OSU steps to the service lines and serves it out. The ball always knows the correct call! Evans and Sweet sub in. Great defense leads to a Sun roll shot for a kill, 7-3. Sun is pulling out all the cards for a kill off the block, 8-4. Two kills on the outside for Ohio, 8-6. Sun hits off the block again, 9-6. Kubik hits off the block for a kill, 10-6. Hames to Zuhn makes it 12-7. Hames took a shot on defense but pops back up, 12-8. Zuhn has a HUGE block, 13-8. Hames missed an attack attempt, 13-10. Time out NU. Akana has a great dig that leads to a Kubik tip kill, 14-10. Timeout OSU. Stivrins gets her 17th kills and ends the match, 15-10.

These two teams play again tomorrow night at 8 pm CT on BTN.