No. 10 Nebraska survives Penn State
Huskers hold off Lions in five sets in inaugural Big Ten game
LINCOLN, Neb. -- In front of a sold out crowd at the Nebraska Coliseum, No. 10 Nebraska (8-1) scraped past No. 5 Penn State (7-4) for a 3-2 (25-18, 25-16, 23-25, 19-25, 15-10) win. Despite losing the first two sets, Penn State rallied to win the third and fourth before the Huskers claimed the fifth for the victory.
The first set was close from the start, but the Huskers grabbed a 10-8 lead on a kill and a PSU error. The Lions quickly tied it up, but a 3-0 run by Nebraska gave the Huskers a 13-10 lead. Nebraska's lead grew to five, 17-12, but the Nittany Lions managed to work to within four, 20-16. Two consecutive points by the Huskers forced a Penn State timeout. The break failed to slow the Huskers as a kill from Gina Mancuso and a PSU error had Nebraska at set point 24-17. A solo stuff by Katie Slay held off the Huskers momentarily before one final kill by Nebraska secured set one for the Huskers 25-18.
In the second set, the Nittany Lions worked their way to within two at 7-5, but a 3-1 run gave the Huskers a comfortable 10-6 lead. Penn State closed the gap to two 16-14, but Nebraska took off on a 7-1 run to take a 23-15 lead and the Huskers took the set three points later 25-16.
Nebraska wasted no time in set three taking a 7-2 lead. The Husker lead increased to six 12-6, before a 4-1 Penn State run had the Lions only trailing by three 13-10. Nebraska continued to maintain the lead, but the Nittany Lions used a 5-2 run to be within one of tying the set 17-16. Two Nebraska errors and a Deja McClendon kill gave Penn State its first lead of the set 19-17. The Huskers fought back to tie it up at 20-20 before a kill from Ariel Scott had the Lions back in the lead with a 21-20 edge. However, a PSU error and a Nebraska kill moved the Huskers back in front, 22-21. Penn State called a timeout and used putdowns from Aiyana Whitney and Scott to take a 23-22 lead. A joint stuff by Scott and Slay had Penn State at set point 24-22. Nebraska managed one final point before Scott slammed one cross-court for a 25-23 victory.
The Nittany Lions were on the board first in the fourth set taking a 2-0 lead off a Micha Hancock ace and a McClendon kill. A 4-1 Husker run had Nebraska taking a slim 4-3 lead, but two PSU kills and a Nebraska error pushed Penn State up by two 6-4. Errors began to plague the Huskers and helped Penn State drive ahead with a 12-6 advantage. Despite a PSU service error, a McClendon kill kept Penn State's lead at six with a kill 13-7. Penn State's lead grew to eight at 16-8 before Nebraska began closing the gap coming as close as five 16-11. A joint stuff by Scott and Nia Grant and a Nittany Lion kill increased Penn State's lead to seven 18-11. Nebraska wouldn't go away, however, and used a 3-0 run to be within four 18-14 and force a Penn State timeout. The Nittany Lions grabbed the next two points after the break, but Nebraska crept back to within four 20-16. A 4-1 run put Penn State in set point position 24-18. Jordan Wilberger tallied one final kill for the Huskers before Hancock slammed one to the left corner for the triumph 25-19.
The Huskers wasted no time in the fifth frame taking a 3-0 lead. A Nebraska error put the Lions on the board, but Mancuso put one away for the Huskers for a 4-1 lead. Nebraska increased its lead to 5-2 when Penn State called a timeout. Two Nebraska errors and a Scott kill had the Lions within one 6-5, but a 4-1 Husker run sent Penn State to the bench for a second timeout with the score at 10-6. The Nebraska lead proved too great a lead to overcome as the Huskers moved closer to a win with a 13-8 lead. Scott managed two final kills before the Huskers closed out the set, 15-10.