Nebraska’s new-look Huskers dropped the opening match of the season 3-1 to No. 18 Oregon. The win was the first of Ducks coach Matt Ulmer’s career as well as Oregon’s first over a top-5 opponent since 2012.
No. 5 Nebraska played without captain and All-American setter Kelly Hunter and started two freshmen, redshirt freshman Lauren Stivrins and true freshman Jazz Sweet, in the opener.
The Huskers jumped out to a 10-2 lead in the first set behind three kills from Sweet. The Ducks answered with a 12-2 run following a timeout to tie it at 14. The teams traded points to get to 17-17 before Oregon closed out the first set on an 8-2 run, outhitting Nebraska .140 to .118.
Errors again plagued the Huskers in the second set. An Annika Albrecht kill made it 21-18 in favor of Oregon, then things got a little ugly. Six of the final seven points were scored on errors, four of them from Nebraska, as the Ducks recorded a 25-21 win.
Nebraska bounced back in the third set. A kill by Sweet and back-to-back aces from libero Kenzie Maloney helped the Huskers rally from an early 5-1 deficit and Nebraska eventually put Oregon away on a Stivrins kill for a 26-24 win.
The Huskers again found themselves down early in the fourth set. Trailing 7-3, a kill and ace from Albrecht keyed a 6-2 run to tie the game. Nebraska eventually built an 18-16 lead, but an Oregon kill and consecutive hitting errors by the Huskers put the Ducks in front 22-20 and forced a Nebraska timeout. Sweet recorded a kill out of the timeout to pull the Huskers within one, but the Ducks never gave up the lead, recording a 25-23 win.
Nebraska struggled offensively, hitting .174 to Oregon’s .222. Sweet led Nebraska with 14 kills on .375 hitting in her Husker debut.