EAST LANSING, Mich. - The No. 1 Nebraska volleyball team displayed its championship character by coming back from a 2-0 deficit to defeat No. 20 Michigan State, 3-2, at Jenison Field House in front of 4,175 fans on Saturday night. (22-25, 23-25, 25-20, 25-14, 16-14)
The Huskers, now 11-0 (2-0 Big Ten), had their backs against the wall with Michigan State (12-2, 1-1 Big Ten) already up 2-0 in the match and leading 13-8 in the third set. But Nebraska found a way to turn the match around, even fighting off a match point in set five, to escape with its 27th win in a row and 11th straight win against a ranked opponent.
Mikaela Foecke had a season-high 17 kills, while Kadie Rolfzen had 16 kills and nine digs. Amber Rolfzen had eight kills and five blocks, and Andie Malloy had seven kills. Olivia Boender - who entered the match in the third set — had eight kills, including big ones down the stretch. Briana Holman had seven kills and six blocks.
Kelly Hunter put up a season-high 53 assists with 10 digs and six blocks. Justine Wong-Orantes had a team-high 14 digs, while Annika Albrecht had a season-best 13 digs to go with two aces and three kills on five attacks. Kenzie Maloney added eight digs, and Sydney Townsend had two.
Nebraska hit .303 and held the Spartans to .214. Michigan State was hitting over .400 midway through the third set, but NU held the Spartans to -.083 in the fourth set and .172 in the fifth.
The Huskers had a 13-10 edge in blocks and 68-53 advantage in digs. After allowing six service aces in the first two sets, NU didn't allow another in the final three sets. The Huskers ended up with a 7-6 edge in aces.
Saturday's comeback marked the second straight season the Huskers won a fifth set in East Lansing by a score of 16-14. It also marked the second straight season the Huskers came back from a 2-0 deficit on the road to beat a ranked opponent, as they did the same at No. 1 Penn State last season.
Chloe Reinig had 16 kills for the Spartans, while Brooke Kranda had 14. Autumn Bailey added 13 kills and a team-high three aces.
The Huskers continue their three-match road stretch to open Big Ten play at Illinois on Wednesday at 7:30 p.m.