Nebraska pulls off sweep over Penn State
The Nebraska Huskers pulled off a 3-0 win over Penn State on Friday night with a dominating 25-9 win in the third and final set. The Huskers held the Nittany Lions to a .017 hitting percentage and totaled 16 blocks on the match. Madi Kubik led the hitters with nine kills, but Whitney Lauenstein shined offensively and defensively as she posted seven kills on top of eight blocks. Kaitlyn Hord added nine blocks as well.
The Husker offense was incredibly balanced — seven players notched a kill and five players posted above four kills. Nicklin Hames was back for Nebraska at setter and had 20 assists in the match. Ultimately, though, the Huskers were able to contain Penn State's star hitter Kashauna Williams. They held her to just five kills on -.143 hitting. SIX Penn State players hit in the negatives on the match.
When Penn State found themselves down 2-0 on the match, it felt eerily similar to just last week when they dropped the first two sets to Ohio State. The Nittany Lions sparked a major comeback to take the next two sets against the Buckeyes and force a fifth. Considering how many errors the Lions were making, and how much Williams was struggling, it was possible they could clean it up and turn the match around. But the opposite happened in the third — the Huskers slammed the door shut on any glimpse of hope PSU fans might have and ran away with a dominating third set victory.
The Huskers move to 7-0 in the Big Ten and 14-1 on the season. The win also marked their fifth ranked win of the year.
Home Court: PROTECTED✅ pic.twitter.com/83DnsxkIwh— Husker Volleyball (@Huskervball) October 15, 2022
The Huskers a rolling in the third
The Huskers started off the third set with a 9-2 run to set the tone, and they are rolling. Another run with Bekka Allick behind the service line gave Nebraska a dominating 14-4 lead.
The Huskers are looking to get out the brooms. 🧹
Nebraska leads 2-0
The Huskers have taken a 2-0 lead on the match with a 25-22 win in set 2. The Huskers held a steady lead in the beginning of the set before Penn State went on a 4-0 run to get within one. But, Nebraska responded with a three-set run right after that to re-establish its lead. A late spark and 3-0 run by Penn State with two back-to-back Katie Clark kills put Penn State down by one, 21-20, but the Huskers got to 25 first and Madi Kubik finished it off.
Both teams are still struggling with errors, but Penn State especially. The Nittany Lions are up to 18 attacking errors on the match, and Nebraska's block has been lethal. They have 13 total blocks on the match to Penn State's three. Madi Kubik is leading Nebraska with six kills through two sets, but the Husker offense has been really balanced. Clark is leading the Nittany Lions offensively as Kaushauna Williams, their typical star hitter, is struggling with efficiency. The Huskers have her number and it is working so far.
The Huskers will now look for the sweep and Penn State will face a must-win third set. Keep in mind, PSU was in a similar situation just last week down 2-0 against OSU before a huge comeback to force a fifth.
Nebraska takes 1-0 lead on the match
After a tight start to the set, the Huskers took off. Up by one 16-15, Nebraska sparked a 7-1 run to take a 23-16 lead. Ally Batenhorst had three kills in the run. A service error gave Nebraska set point, before Taylor Trammel came up with a big block to fight off the set point. Finally, Whitney Lauenstein finished it off and the Huskers took a 1-0 lead on the match.
Both teams struggled with errors offensively — Nebraska hit .179 on the set to Penn State's .026 percent. Penn State tried to apply some pressure from the service line, but notched five errors instead. Batenhorst ended up leading all hitters with four kills on .222 hitting. Lauenstein followed with three kills.
Close first set
We have a close first at the Devaney Center. Penn State came out hitting really well, but its efficiency has slowly but surely dwindled. Alexa Markley is leading the way for the Nittany Lions with three kills, whereas Nebraska is displaying a much more balanced offense. Four players have a kill apiece for the Huskers.
Nebraska has a 10-8 lead early.
How to watch Penn State vs. Nebraska
Who: No. 3 Nebraska vs. No. 14 Penn State
Where: Devaney Center
When: 8:30 p.m. ET
How to watch: Big Ten Network
Nebraska vs. Penn State, previewed
I am ready to see Nebraska in another tough battle. The last full-out battle of a match was against Ohio State on Sept. 24 and the Huskers came out on top. Since then, Michigan was the only ranked team they have faced (No. 24), and they pulled off a sweep. The Huskers have been sitting in the top three all season long, but they have the thick of the Big Ten coming up — and it starts with Penn State. The Nittany Lions did drop in the rankings to No. 14, but this team is no walk in the park. Take their last OSU matchup, for example. Down 17-11 in the third they battled back to force a fifth and could've won the whole thing. Kashauna Williams is a star for the Nittany Lions, and I am excited to see her go up against a strong defensive team in Nebraska. The Nittany Lions also ended up serving tough in that matchup, and had some big sparks from their freshman Alexa Markley. Allie Holland, their middle, made an appearance on my list of the best player at every position in college volleyball right now. So this is a good Penn State team.
Not to mention, these are two powerhouse college volleyball programs. Two of the most decorated programs of all time. That will only add more to this matchup; you can likely expect a good one.
Bracket projections, less than 50 days from Selections
With less than 50 days until the DI women's volleyball selections, I projected the entire 64-team bracket. Both Nebraska and Penn State are slotted as hosts, with Nebraska as a one-seed (no. 3 overall) and Penn State as a four-seed (no. 14 overall). The bracket is through results on 10/11. Here is the full bracket projection.
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