Penn State Knocks Off Nebraska at Home
No. 9 Penn State was able to walk out of a five-set battle against No. 5 Nebraska with a win after some of the closest and most evenly matched sets of the year.
The first set of the ranked matchup was a continuous back and forth between the two women’s volleyball heavyweights. In the first set, neither team was able to blow the set open, mostly with Penn State trailing by just a point or two for the majority of the set. Penn State came out of a Russ Rose timeout on fire as they turned a 19-17 deficit into a 24-22 lead. Penn State took advantage of an errant hit by Nebraska to cap off the first set by a score of 25-22.
The second set started in a very similar way as the first set. Nebraska was controlling the game but was letting Penn State hang around with some missed serves and unforced errors. However, a strong service run by Nebraska’s Lexi Sun gave them a 15-7 lead midway through the second. They never lost the momentum and Nebraska’s lead continued to grow as the score reached 18-8, 20-8 and finished at 25-11 with a block by Lexi Sun.
The third set was a bit different than the other two. The game was still close throughout the beginning, but it was Penn State who seemed to have the early control. This time it was the Nittany Lions who allowed the Cornhuskers to hang around in this set with a few missed serves and mishaps on defense. Similar to the first set, this was a back and forth matchup that you could tell was going to come down to the very end. As both teams continued to trade blows back and forth, seemingly being tied throughout the set, it was only right that Nebraska’s Lexi Sun finished the set with a kill to put the Cornhuskers up 2-1 in the match.
In a must-win set number four for Penn State, Kendall White put together a good run while serving to give Penn State an early 7-2 lead. The Nittany Lions saw that early lead dwindle away slowly but surely as it was tied up at 13-13 midway through the set. Nebraska continued their strong push after falling behind early and pushed through for an 18-16 lead as they were looking to finish off the Nittany Lions. Penn State clawed their way back as a White serve just rolled over the tape of the net and fell to give PSU a 22-21 lead and they capped off a 25-23 set win with an erroneous Nebraska swing.
In a first to 15, winner-take-all, set number five, Penn State jumped ahead to a 5-2 lead which turned into an 8-5 lead as the teams switched sides to finish the set. The Nittany Lions continued to hold control of the set as they took an 11-7 lead into the closing points of the match. Penn State would not slow down despite an array of Nebraska challenges and would eventually close out the match with a service ace, taking the final set by a score of 15-9.
After the game Coach Russ Rose spoke on the importance of the game for not only the team but for the school, saying, “I think it was a great win, it was a good ending to a tough day for Penn State.” Coach Rose and the Nittany Lions next matchup will be against Rutgers on Oct. 17 in Rec Hall.
Nick Mazone is a junior broadcast journalism major who minors in digital media trends and analytics. To contact him, email NickMazone@nycap.rr.com.