NU VB: Huskers Fall in Five at No. 3 Texas

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Huskers Fall in Five at No. 3 Texas
Austin, Texas – The No. 4 Nebraska volleyball team engaged in another hard-fought battle with No. 3 Texas, but in the end fell 3-2 (17-25, 25-21, 15-25, 25-23, 11-15) to the Longhorns at Gregory Gym.

The Huskers lost for the first time this season and are now 3-1. Texas improved to 4-0 with their second five-set win against the Huskers in as many years. Three of the last four meetings between the teams have gone five games.

Kadie Rolfzen led NU with 15 kills and also had 13 digs. Cecilia Hall and Meghan Haggerty each had 10 kills and three blocks. Kelly Hunter had 47 assists and 13 digs. Justine Wong-Orantes led NU with 23 digs.

Texas’ All-American transfer Ebony Nwanebu, playing in her first match after recovering from an injury, had a match-high 22 kills to go with 17 digs.

Nebraska hit .144 and had 31 attacking errors, but 13 of them came in the first set. Texas hit .242 and committed 19 errors. The Longhorns had a 15-6 advantage in blocks.

The Huskers led game one 13-10 behind strong defensive play, but a number of attacking errors allowed Texas to go on a 7-0 run for a 17-13 lead, at which point NU had totaled 10 errors. Texas made it a 12-1 run for a 22-14 lead. The Huskers hit -.042 in the set with 11 kills and 13 attacking errors.

In the second set, the Huskers jumped in front again as they went up 13-8 with five combined kills from Hall and Haggerty. The Huskers continued their strong play at the net in taking a 19-14 lead to force a Texas timeout. At that point, Haggerty and Hall had combined for 14 of NU’s 23 kills in the match. Texas pulled within 20-17, but the Huskers gained breathing room with two points out of a timeout to go up 22-17. Haggerty finished off the 25-21 win with her eighth kill of the match. The Big Red hit .414 with just four attacking errors.

The Longhorns used a 7-0 run in the third set to take control of the third set with a 14-5 lead. Texas didn’t let NU within seven the rest of the way.

The Huskers trailed most of the fourth set, including a 15-10 deficit, but fought their way back to tie it at 21-21. After the teams traded points back and forth, Kadie Rolfzen pounded successive kills for a 24-23 lead. Haggerty sealed the set with a kill to the back of the court.

In the decisive fifth set, Nebraska took a 6-3 lead before Texas came back with a 4-0 run to go up 7-6. The Huskers answered with two more points on kills by Rolfzen and Kelsey Fien to regain an 8-7 lead at the crossover. But Texas answered with the next three points to stake a 10-8 lead. Texas went up 11-8 before Fien got a kill and Texas hit out to make it 11-10. Amy Neal’s kill that tipped off a Husker block made it 12-10, but Fien cut it to 12-11. A Husker service error put UT up 13-11, and Texas finished off the win.

The Huskers finish the VERT Challenge on Saturday against No. 11 Oregon at 5 p.m. Oregon was swept by Florida in Friday’s first match. The Huskers and Ducks will air on Longhorn Network tape delayed at Midnight on Saturday and at 8 a.m. on Sunday.