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Stanford hands Nebraska their First Loss of the Season

Nebraska 1 vs Stanford 3- 25-27, 22-25, 25-19, 25-27

Nebraska was rolling right along in set one. Whitney Lauenstein was getting kills, Lexi Rodriguez getting digs, Kaitlyn Hord producing blocks. Then Stanford starting serving better and the set slipped from the Husker’s hands.

Nebraska was up by six in the middle of the first set, 18-12. Then kills came hard and digs didn’t come up off of Stanford tips. Nebraska didn’t make kills at the critical times and lost the first set 25-27.

The miscues carried over to set two. Nebraska went away from setting the middle. Lindsay Krause was a non-factor on the court and serving wasn’t tough enough to change or slow down the Stanford offense. Nebraska lost set two 22-25.

Late in set three, Hames made a few miss-sets, poor sets to hitters. After a timeout, Hames is subbed out for Kennedi Orr. Orr sets, blocks and moves the Huskers to 23-19 advantage. Lauenstein steps to the line to serve, something she normally doesn’t do and finishes the set with two aces. Something tells me, Coach Cook did not draw this up on the pregame plan.

Set four was competitive and back and forth as Nebraska worked through the new line up with Orr at the helm setting. She was effective and set most balls to location. Coach Cook on Kennedi Orr, “she was ok but missed sets. That is why she’s not starting because she misses sets.” That is not a glowing report on the setter from the head coach.

Just look away from the stat sheet. Don’t even open it. There are some ugly stats there. Stanford had 23 service errors and Nebraska 14. Stanford finished with 21 attack errors and Nebraska had 24. Neither team hit with the efficiency that they normally do, nor that they aim to hit. Nebraska hit .166 for the match.

This is the growing pain. This is the toughening phase of the operation (bringing in the Army terms for you). When a team takes a loss like tonight and turns it into learning, growth and fuel, then this is a good loss. If key hitters take the pressure of tonight, where they didn’t earn kills at the end of sets and figure out how to do it, then this loss feels a lot better.

We have no idea if this loss results in learning and growing for December but Nebraska’s track record gives us enough confidence to believe in them, know it is possible (it happened last year) and turn on the TV or radio this weekend to cheer again. GBR!

Next up for Nebraska is #13 Kentucky in Lexington, KY on Sunday September 18th at 2 pm. You can watch on ESPN2 or listen on Husker Radio Network.