Nebraska prides itself on serving and defense, and the Huskers have been particularly good from behind the service line the last several games. However, the Huskers (23-4, 16-1) had to overcome a season-high 14 service errors in their four-set win at Ohio State (14-4, 7-10) on Friday evening.
Scores in Nebraska’s favor were 25-23, 25-12, 22-25 and 25-23.
The Huskers hit .341 for the match with redshirt freshman middle blocker Lauren Stivrins finishing with 12 kills on .455 hitting and senior setter Kelly Hunter converting five of her six attacks into kills.
Hunter added 47 assists and 12 digs. Junior outside hitter Mikaela Foecke led all player with 15 kills and added 11 digs for the double-double. Senior defensive specialist Sydney Townsend finished with a match-high 14 digs and served up three of Nebraska’s six aces, while junior libero Kenzie Maloney chipped in 12 digs. Senior outside hitter rounded out the attackers in double figures with 11 kills and eight digs.
Neither team led by more than three points throughout the first set and the Huskers found themselves down 23-22 late. However, Nebraska closed it out with a 3-0 run featuring kills by Stivrins and senior middle blocker Briana Holman and a block by Holman and Hunter on set point.
Nebraska controlled the match throughout in the second set, building up a 15-10 lead midway through then breaking it open with a 5-0 run that stretched into a 10-2 finish. Townsend ended the set with back-to-back aces.
Ohio State used a 5-0 run to pull ahead 6-3 in the third set and played with a lead most of the set until Nebraska managed to tie it up at 18-all with a 4-0 run. The teams alternated points to make it 21-21 but the Buckeyes closed out the set on a 4-1 run to extend the match.
The final frame was tight throughout with no more than two points separating the teams throughout the set. The Huskers and Buckeyes battled to a 23-all tie, but Stivrins and Foecke stepped up to close out the match with back-to-back kills.
The Huskers will continue their road trip at Maryland on Saturday with their second match in 10 days against the Terrapins. First serve is set for 5 p.m. and will be available on BTN Plus.
Jacob is in his third year with Hail Varsity covering Husker athletics. He has also written extensively for SB Nation’s Bright Side of the Sun and The Creightonian. His love of basketball can best be described as an obsession and if you need to find him, he’s probably in a gym somewhere watching, coaching or playing hoops.