Make it six straight for Nebraska over Penn State.
That is six straight matches and six straight sets the Huskers (8-3, 1-0) have won against Penn State (10-1, 0-1) after No. 14 Nebraska swept No. 2 Penn State at Rec Hall on Friday night.
Scores in Nebraska’s favor were 26-24, 25-19 and 25-20.
The match was the first sweep for the Nittany Lions at home since 2003. It was the first meeting for the two Big Ten powers since Nebraska came back from an 0-2 hole to win in five at the NCAA Tournament regional semifinals at the Devaney Center.
After straining her ankle in last Saturday’s win over Omaha and with her status up in the air as of Wednesday, senior middle blocker Briana Holman started and was nearly unstoppable at the net, finishing with a season-high 13 kills on .750 hitting.
The star of the game was senior outside hitter Annika Albrecht, however. The co-captain posted a match- and career-high 19 kills on .400 hitting with six digs and four blocks. Senior setter Kelly Hunter added a season-high six kills on eight attempts with 39 assists and nine digs. Junior libero Kenzie Maloney led the team with 12 digs while senior defensive specialist Sydney Townsend chipped in 10 digs.
Nebraska out-hit Penn State .347 to .227 and finished with 21 more kills in the match. Penn State star outside hitter Simone Lee erupted for eight kills on 17 attempts in the first set, but Nebraska limited her to seven kills on 22 swings the rest of the way.
Nebraska led the first set 23-20 before Penn State stormed back to tie it up at 24-all. However, Penn State followed up with an errant serve — the first of the game for Penn State — and then redshirt freshman middle blocker Lauren Stivrins blocked Lee to record set point.
Nebraska pulled away in the second set, taking a 17-12 lead, but Penn State responded with a 5-2 run to cut its deficit to two. Nebraska regrouped with a timeout, however, and closed out the set with a 6-2 run.
The third set was close throughout as Nebraska held a two- or three-point lead most of the way until Penn State made one last push, pulling within one at 20-19. However, the Huskers responded with a 5-1 run to complete the sweep.
— Husker Volleyball (@Huskervball) September 23, 2017
Following the match — and Thursday’s removal of Shawn Eichorst as athletic director for a lack of competitiveness — Nebraska president Hank Bounds sent out a message on Twitter.
— Hank M. Bounds (@hankbounds) September 23, 2017
The Huskers will head to Rutgers on Saturday to complete their weekend road trip. First serve is set for 6 p.m.
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.