No. 4 Nebraska rallies to 3-2 win at No. 1 Penn State
University Park, Pa. -- The No. 4 Nebraska volleyball team rallied from an 0-2 deficit on the road at No. 1 Penn State to beat the Nittany Lions 3-2 (12-25, 24-26, 25-14, 25-20, 15-11) at Rec Hall on Friday night.
The Huskers (12-1, 3-0 Big Ten) notched their first-ever true road win over a No. 1 team in school history and in doing so snapped Penn State's 33-match win streak. The Huskers recorded just their second all-time win at Penn State, the other coming in 1993.
Mikaela Foecke had a career-best 22 kills. Kadie Rolfzen had 11 kills, 15 digs and five blocks, and Amber Rolfzen had 10 kills and five blocks. Cecilia Hall had six kills and a season-best eight blocks. Kelly Hunter had 52 assists, and Justine Wong-Orantes set the tone for the comeback with a career-best 30 digs.
The Huskers had a season-high 14 blocks and held PSU to .164 hitting, a season low for the nation's second-best hitting team entering the match. The Huskers hit .173 for the match but hit .276 in the decisive fifth set. Megan Courtney led the Nittany Lions with 16 kills and 22 digs.
Penn State (13-1, 2-1 Big Ten) opened up an 11-2 lead in the first set by hitting .462 with six kills and three blocks. The Nittany Lions controlled the set en route to a 25-12 win, hitting .367. Nebraska hit -.037 and had six hitting errors.
The Huskers regrouped in set two and took an 11-9 lead on an ace serve by Annika Albrecht. Foecke posted back-to-back kills to give the Huskers a 15-12 edge at the media timeout. Penn State came out of it with a 4-0 run to retake the lead, but Foecke quickly tied it up with another kill. Penn State went up 19-17 with consecutive points, but the Huskers rallied to tie it 20-20 on the arm of Foecke. PSU scored the next three points after a timeout to go up 23-20. The Huskers answered with two straight points, and with Penn State on set point at 24-22, Foecke tacked on a pair of kills to tie it at 24-24. But the Nittany Lions escaped with the next two points to take the 26-24 win.
Nebraska started strong in set three by taking a 4-0 lead. The Huskers continued to set the tone as two kills by Kadie Rolfzen and two by Foecke helped put NU ahead 10-3. The Huskers went up 13-5 on an Albrecht kill after Wong-Orantes kept the play alive. NU led 15-6 after a Foecke ace. PSU cut it to 16-10 but surrendered two points on hitting errors to give NU an 18-10 cushion. The Huskers continued to cover every part of the court defensively and built a 22-11 lead before claiming the 25-14 victory. The Huskers held PSU to .059 hitting in the third set while hitting .279.
The teams were neck and neck in set four with neither team leading by more than two until the Huskers went up 15-12 at the media timeout on a back row save by Wong-Orantes that led to Foecke's 18th kill of the night. The Huskers reeled off a 4-0 run to gain a 20-14 lead with Foecke and Amber Rolfzen providing kills along with a Kadie Rolfzen ace. Fien gave the Huskers set point at 24-18, and the Huskers forced a fifth on Kadie Rolfzen's kill that made it 25-20.
Nebraska fell behind 5-1 in the fifth set before kills by Hall and Amber Rolfzen, followed by a PSU hitting error, tied the set 5-5. Fien blasted back-to-back kills to give the Huskers a 9-7 lead, and Amber Rolfzen and Hunter followed with a block to make it 10-7. Kadie Rolfzen added two kills for the Huskers' final two points to seal the comeback win.