Women’s Volleyball Falls for First Time to Nebraska
No. 2 WVB Falls to No. 14 Nebraska in the B1G Play Opener
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pennsylvania – Despite an incredible performance from outside hitter Simone Lee, the No. 2 Penn State women’s volleyball team (10-1) fell short in the B1G opener at Rec Hall Friday evening; 3-0 (26-24, 25-19, 25-20), to the Nebraska Cornhuskers (8-3).
Penn State came in to the evening looking to avenge its heartbreaking loss to Nebraska in the NCAA Tournament last season. With 10 straight wins, the Nittany Lions were hopeful. But No. 14 Nebraska asserted dominance the entire evening.
“Their (Nebraska’s) serve-pass game was very solid,” head coach Russ Rose said postgame. “I thought they wore a couple of our players down and we just didn’t have great resolve.”
This was the first defeat of the season for the Lions and the first time the team has fallen short to a sweep at home since 2003.
Each of the three sets were neck and neck, almost the entire way through. Nebraska took the first point of the evening, but Simone Lee was quick to tie it up with her first powerful kill, a theme that would unfold as play continued. Lee tallied eight kills in the first at a .412 clip.
Just two plays later, Ali Frantti and Haleigh Washington put up an impressive block to tie the game at three. Nebraska would go on to score the next five points before Lee found her open whole on the court for her third kill of the evening.
Play continued to be back and forth as neither team could break away with a solid dominance. Nebraska, with a strong defensive line to greet the Penn State attacks, tallied up to 22 before causing a Penn State timeout.
With two more kills from Lee and an additional one from Frantti, the Lions were down 24-23, set point for the Huskers. Two errors from Penn State secured the 26-24 win for Nebraska.
The second set had an eerily similar vibe as the Huskers took the first point only to be matched by a point by a block from the Lions.
Led by powerful offensive play, Nebraska gained an 8-4 lead before Penn State could gain its footing. A block from Washington, two kills from Lee and Tori Gorrell and favorable errors allowed the Lions to close the gap by two. Nebraska broke away again with powerful control, this time for the 25-19 win.
“I thought Simone (Lee) hit the ball well tonight,” Rose said. “but that was about the extent of the good performances.”
The third and final set was another nail biter. With four kills from Lee, three from Frantti and a team total of 36 attack attempts, Penn State still was one step behind Nebraska, who comparatively put up 17 kills and 39 attempts at a .282 clip.
Although play was relatively close in score, Nebraska broke away for the final time at their 20th point for the upset and match win.
The women’s volleyball team has a quick turnaround as they take on Iowa Saturday at 4 p.m.
Hannah Riden is a senior studying broadcast journalism. To contact her, email HannahRiden@gmail.com.