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.
Brandon is the Managing Editor for Hail Varsity and has covered Nebraska athletics for the magazine and web since 2012, Hail Varsity’s first season on the scene. His sports writing has also been featured by Fox Sports, The Guardian and CBS Sports.