After jumping up a spot in the AVCA weekly poll, the ninth ranked Huskers faced Kansas at the Coliseum on Wednesday night. Their three set match was a tug-of-war to say the least but Nebraska ended the night with a sweep of the Jayhawks.
Nebraska started the match with confidence and quick feet as libero, Kayla Banwarth, hit the floor multiple times during the first few points. Nebraska gained the lead at 5-2 when Tara Mueller earned two kills from the outside position. The Huskers began to get overconfident in their attacking during the middle of the match. The majority of their hits were long helping the Jayhawks come back to an even 11-11. Middle blocker, Kori Cooper, put the Huskers back on top with a quick set attack followed by a tip after a Kansas passing error. Cooper would go on to earn a .375 attacking percentage. Nebraska would continue to go to Cooper and outside hitter, Hannah Werth, for points and within minutes, the Huskers had a 20-15 lead. Werth would serve for two more points but the set wasn't won easily. Nebraska's first and second attempts at set point were ended by passing errors. Brooke Delano, who ended the set with the team's highest attacking percentage at .750, got a lucky kill to give the Huskers the set at 25-20.
OutstandingPlayers: Kori Cooper, Brooke Delano
. Set 2
Two kills from Werth and one from Cooper gave the Huskers an early two point lead at 3-1. A huge double-block on the outside from Licht and Delano continued Nebraska's second set lead. Mueller's mid-set service error put KU within a point but Cooper and Delano made up for it with strong attacking. The Jayhawks took a time-out at 11-8 after a dispute with the head referee. Freshman, Gina Mancuso, came off the bench for her regular round of serving and earned Nebraska their first ace of the set, putting them up by three again. The Huskers' three point lead wouldn't continue as Mueller struggled with hitting errors and an illegal rotation on Nebraska forced Head Coach, John Cook, to take a time-out at 14-15. The time-out did Werth some good as she returned to the court ready to attack. She helped get the Huskers back in control and served at 21-18. Werth would end the set with a .438 hitting percentage and one block. Delano dominated the last three points of the set with a kill, solo block, and another kill to end the set at 25-20. She led the team again in attacking percentage with .875 and three blocks.
Outstanding Players: Hannah Werth, Brooke Delano
The third set followed the trend set by the first two with Nebraska up by a five point lead at 7-2. Kills from Werth, Licht, and Delano helped the Huskers earn the five point advantage. A double-block from Licht and Delano added to the lead and Nebraska was up by a staggering six points, 10-4. A wide down-the-line kill from Delano at 10-8, caused an upset on the Husker bench as Coach Cook argued against the call which was followed by uproar from the unhappy fans. Another disputed call over a Husker touch on a Jayhawks' attack that was heading out, caused Nebraska to look for revenge on the next play. The tension between coaches and referees seemed to have an effect on the Huskers' play. Anderson over-set when aiming for Delano in the middle position, Mueller had a long attack, and Mancuso had another service error sending the Huskers down three at 15-18. Werth picked-up her game at the end of the set and had four consecutive kills to put Nebraska back in winning position at 23-20. Two long set points followed and a long attack by Kansas gave the Huskers the game, 25-21.
Outstanding Player: Hannah Werth
The Huskers' match against the Jayhawks was solid. They seemed to be getting into the same rut of not being able to hold onto the lead even when they were up six or more points. The arguments between coaches and referees turned the loyal Husker crowd into a rowdy one and that seemed to help bring the Huskers back into the game. Werth had one of her best nights so far, coming in to dominate the net exactly when the Huskers were begging for the points. Delano and Licht were in sync when double-blocking and Delano stayed calm and on top of her game when Nebraska was doing their worst.
Nebraska takes on Kansas State this Saturday night at the Coliseum.