Last Updated 9:53 PM, October 08, 2021

Nebraska volleyball takes down Penn State in four-set battle

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2021 NCAA volleyball bracket predictions, 50 days from selections
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1:39 am, October 9, 2021

Nebraska takes down Penn State in four-set battle

The No. 10 Huskers took down Big Ten foe No. 13 Penn State in a four-set battle on the road to remain undefeated in conference play. The win is a huge statement for the on-the-rise Huskers, who will most likely take a big jump in the rankings. Madi Kubik had a huge match with 23 kills, followed by Ally Batenhorst with 19 and Lindsay Krause with 17. Lauren Stivrins chipped in eight kills on .438 hitting, including some big-time kills in the fourth set. 

The Nittany Lions still played a great match. Kaitlin Hord led with 15 kills on .333 hitting and Jonni Parker had 14. Perhaps the biggest stat for the Lions though was the emergence of Anjelina Starck on their offense. Starck hardly played all season but rose up to the challenge with 10 kills on .206 hitting. 

The Huskers dominated the first set and were successful from the service line to get the Nittany Lions off the net, but Penn State was able to do exactly that in the second. The third was a tight set but Nebraska always found a way to close out. They played with confidence and looked much more comfortable together. It looks like they found their go-to lineup after all and it is working against a top-notch Big Ten opponent. 

1:29 am, October 9, 2021

Bracket projection 50 days before selections

We projected the NCAA volleyball bracket 50 days ahead of selections. This is a projection based on the committee's criteria, (not our opinion), it follows bracketing principles, and it is a guess as to where these teams could end up this season. 

Considering this Nebraska - Penn State matchup is as close as it is, it sounds about right that Penn State and Nebraska are ranked back-to-back at No. 6 and No. 7 as top 16 national seeds. For the full bracket breakdown, click or tap here. 

2021 NCAA volleyball bracket predictions, 50 days from selections
1:11 am, October 9, 2021

Huskers in front of a must-win set four for the Nittany Lions

The Huskers jumped out to a big 6-2 lead in the fourth set, and they were feeling it. Win this set and they win the whole thing. But, the Nittany Lions went on a 4-0 run to tie it back up and bring the Penn State fans back into it. Parker was a big part of that run with two big kills. 

Lauren Stivrins has been quieter than normal tonight, but you can tell what kind of calmness and leadership she brings her group. Plus, kills like this are definitely helpful. 

The Huskers quickly gained back the lead and are now up by five in set four with a 13-8 advantage.  

12:51 am, October 9, 2021

Nebraska takes set 2, 25-23, takes 2-1 lead

The Huskers just took set three after an absolute battle. Kubik is up to 18 kills on the match followed by Batenhorst with 16. 

Jonni Parker sent a cannon over the net out of the timeout with Nebraska up 23-20, this is absolutely crunch time. In the very next play, Parker and Jenn Hampton ran into each other but Starck still was able to execute and get another point. 

The back-to-back plays called for John Cook to call a timeout with the Huskers up 23-22. Out of the second timeout, Starck got it done again and tied it up at 23. But Stivrins, came out and did what she does best — an absolute bullet off of the slide to set up set point before Kubik fired one out of the back court it finish it off. 

The Huskers take a 2-1 lead on the match, but we have got a great one tonight. 

12:38 am, October 9, 2021

We have another tight set, but Nebraska leads in set three

We are seeing some high-level volleyball tonight. Another tight set here that is looking a lot like set two. We have had nine ties so far in the third. Madi Kubik and Lindsay Krause are on fire, Kubik has 16 kills and Krause is right there with 15 of her own. 

Gabby Blossom and Allie Holland just notched two back-to-back points for the Nittany Lions before Batenhorst unloaded on a ball for the Huskers. The Huskers lead by two in the third, 19-17.  

12:28 am, October 9, 2021

Penn State takes early 7-3 lead in third set

Penn State is rolling in set three, as are the fans with their white pom-poms. The Nittany Lions jumped out to a 7-3 lead early in the set and the Huskers have called a timeout to regroup after a few uncharacteristic plays. Penn State is in total control right now and are applying some serious service pressure on the Huskers. 

Allie Holland is have a great match as well — Exhibit A: 

12:14 am, October 9, 2021

Penn State takes set two 25-22

Penn State took set two 25-22 to tie up the match. 

The last few points of this set were exhilarating. The fans have been on their feet this whole time, but they were especially loud when the Nittany Lions notched two back-to-back points to take a 23-21 lead and force the Huskers to take a timeout. The Huskers got a point out of the timeout before Penn State closed it off to tie the match up 1-1. 

What a different set for the Nittany Lions. They looked like a different team, applied service pressure to get Nebraska off the net and force some hitting errors and amped up their offense as well. 

12:05 am, October 9, 2021

We have a tight set two at Rec Hall

There have been 11 ties and four lead changes in the second set. A little different than the first set that was led heavily by Nebraska the whole way. The energy is high in Rec Hall, even for the Huskers as they fight against a hostile crowd. The Huskers grabbed a slight lead at 20-19 in set two. 

Here is the big block that led to the 20-19 Husker lead: 

11:47 pm, October 8, 2021

Penn State looks to respond in set two, takes a 15-14 lead

The Nittany Lions are looking to bounce back in the second set. Both teams are hitting for a higher average as well and Penn State took a 11-10 lead before the Huskers fired back. Penn State then went on a 3-0 run before the Huskers tied it up at 14. Lauren Stivrins got her team together in a huddle and had them all to take a deep breath. A true leader right there. 

Anjelina Starck is having a great night for the Nittany Lions, she posted another kill to take a 15-14 lead for Penn State before a timeout. Penn State is certainly putting more service pressure on the Huskers in this set and the Huskers are making more hitting errors than in the first. We just might have a TIGHT match here tonight.

11:36 pm, October 8, 2021

Nebraska wins set 1 25-16.

If you missed the Lauren Stivrins slide, don't fret, cause it is back. Stivrins came back stronger than ever and slammed down a monster kill off of the slide to take a 22-14 lead. Then, Ally Batenhorst put another one on the board to give the Huskers set point. Penn State extended the set by forcing a Nebraska error and then putting up a huge block on Batenhorst to hype up their squad and make it a 24-16 set. But the hype ended there and a Jonni Parker service error gave the Huskers the set. 

It was all Nebraska in set one and the Huskers now have a 1-0 lead on the match. 

 

11:31 pm, October 8, 2021

Huskers are first to 20

The Huskers have the Penn State offense a little out of sorts so far this match. The Nittany Lions were able to string some points together and chip away at the deficit, but the Huskers were the first to 20. Nebraska leads 21-12 in set two.

The Husker serve is currently crippling Penn State. They are out of system and struggling to get points on the board. Check out this battle of a point that ended with a Husker point: 

11:16 pm, October 8, 2021

Nebraska takes an early lead over Penn State in set one

Despite a packed Rec Hall, the Huskers came out swinging hot and heavy to jump out to a big lead over the Nittany Lions. The Huskers lead 17-8 in the first set. This Husker team has a lot of freshmen in the lineup, but so far, they are not looking like freshmen. Ally Batenhorst especially is looking really strong on the left side. Lindsay Krause has been working her way into the lineup nicely as well, and of course Madi Kubik is hammering down kills like this ⬇️

10:32 pm, October 8, 2021

Nebraska vs. Penn State, pregame

Nebraska Volleyball

Nebraska and Penn State are tied for first in the Big Ten standings and are the only remaining unbeaten teams at 4-0 in conference play. That all changes tonight! First serve will be at 7 p.m. Eastern on Big Ten Network. 

Both of these teams have been on the uprise as of late, and tonight's match should be one for the books. The Huskers have won the past four matches, and three of those were sweeps. Lauren Stivrins returned and has been performing well on the court, and Nebraska made its return to the AVCA top 10 this week. 

The Nittany Lions have won six straight matches and have been grooving the past few weeks. In their last win over Indiana, Jonni Parker finished with a match-high 19 kills and 11 digs, and Allie Holland added 10 kills and five blocks. This Penn State team is currently the best blocking team in the nation, they posted 13 blocks in their last win. It will be super interesting to see the big middle matchup between Kaitlin Hord for the Lions and Stivrins in Husker red. 

The Huskers have won nine of the last 10 meetings with Penn State. They lead 23-11 in the all-time series, including 14-6 in the John Cook era. 

6:46 pm, October 7, 2021

How to watch Nebraska vs. Penn State

No. 10 Nebraska plays at No. 13 Penn State with first place on the line in the Big Ten. Here's how you can watch all the action:

  • Time: 7 p.m. ET
  • Date: Friday, Oct. 8
  • Location: University Park, Pennsylvania
  • TV channel: Big Ten Network
  • Live stats: NCAA.com stats
6:46 pm, October 7, 2021

What the statistics say

Both the Huskers and Nittany Lions are 4-0 in the Big Ten going into Friday's match, but the teams do look different statistically. For example, Penn State leads the nation in blocking, averaging 3.32 blocks per set.

NEBRASKA   Penn State
10-3 (4-0) Record (Big Ten) 11-3 (4-0)
No. 10 AVCA ranking No. 13
Def. Michigan State, 3-0 Last time out Def. Indiana, 3-1
.236 Hitting percentage .286
13.1 Kills per set 14.0
.154 Opponent hitting .179
2.6 Blocks per set 3.3
15.1 Digs per set 13.4
64/85 Aces/Service errors 68/111
Madi Kubik, 123 kills (2.8 k/s) Kills leader Jonni Parker, 182 kills (3.79 k/s)
Nicklin Hames, 405 (10.13 a/s) Assist leader Gabby Blossom, 500 (10.42 a/s)
Lexi Rodriguez, 178 (3.79 d/s) Digs leader Jenna Hampton, 168 (3.5 d/s)
6:46 pm, October 7, 2021

Previewing Nebraska vs. Penn State

Nebraska volleyball's Lauren Stivrins

Lauren Stivrins is back — and the highly anticipated return of the All-American Nebraska star was all it was hyped up to be. Stivrins missed the first 11 matches due to an off-season back surgery, and in the midst of her absence, Nebraska went through a flurry of lineup changes, three consecutive losses, and a drop in the rankings. But she returned on Oct. 1 against Michigan, and she too wanted to earn her spot. Stivrins posted 11 kills on .733 hitting with three blocks in the sweep, Now, the Huskers will face their first ranked opponent since the return of their leader — No. 13 Penn State.

The Nittany Lions are in the midst of a six-match winning streak following two back-to-back losses to Oregon and Stanford. They looked impressive in a sweep over then-No. 3 Ohio State, and next will face their first ranked matchup since the Buckeyes. Penn State leads the entire nation as a team in blocks per set with 3.32 with Kaitlyn Hord ranking second nationally with 1.74 blocks per set. Their offense has been finding its groove as well, led by Jonni Parker and other contributors in Adanna Rollins, Allie Holland, Erika Pritchard and Anastasiya Kudryashova. 

MOVING UP: Penn State crashes the top 10 in the latest Power 10 rankings

As far as Nebraska and Penn State facing off, I expect an insanely loud environment at Rec Hall and some high-level volleyball. The Huskers have a talented freshmen class that, in the midst of shuffling around lineups, fell to three ranked teams. They've had some time to gel together as a group and will face a big Penn State opponent. When it comes to the history, Nebraska has won nine out of the last 10 matchups between these two teams, but the Huskers' last two wins were at the Devaney Center. Now they will face the experienced Nittany Lions on the road.

6:45 pm, October 7, 2021

AVCA rankings

When Nebraska and Penn State meet, they'll do so as top-10 teams. Here's the latest AVCA top 25 poll:

Through Games Oct. 4, 2021

RANK

TEAM

POINTS

RECORD

PREVIOUS

1 Texas (64) 1600 11-0 1
2 Pittsburgh 1518 14-0 2
3 Louisville 1484 12-0 3
4 Wisconsin 1405 11-1 5
5 Kentucky 1279 9-3 6
6 Purdue 1201 11-2 4
7 Ohio State 1175 12-2 8
8 Minnesota 1161 7-4 7
9 BYU 1096 13-1 10
10 Nebraska 1000 10-3 12
11 Washington 912 9-3 13
12 Baylor 893 8-4 9
13 Penn State 808 11-3 14
14 Oregon 778 12-2 11
15 Utah 706 10-3 19
16 UCLA 692 10-2 15
17 Stanford 659 8-4 17
18 Georgia Tech 395 11-3 18
19 Creighton 372 15-2 16
20 Florida 355 10-5 22
20 Western Kentucky 355 15-1 21
22 Tennessee 285 12-3 20
23 Pepperdine 270 12-1 23
24 Colorado 163 12-2 24
25 San Diego 139 10-3 25