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Daily Nebraskan

November 4, 2016
Huskers Outlast
No. 11 Penn State
                 1   2   3   4   5 
Penn State (11) 25  17  23   25  11
NEBRASKA   (1)  22  25  25   23  15

University Park, Pa. — The No. 1 Nebraska volleyball team fought its way to a 3-2 (22-25, 25-17, 25-23, 23-25, 15-11) win at No. 11 Penn State on Friday night in front of 5,564 fans at Rec Hall.

The Huskers (21-1, 12-1 Big Ten) maintained their lead in the Big Ten standings with their second five-set win at Penn State (17-7, 9-4 Big Ten) in the last two years. Nebraska won its 14th straight road match, and five of its six road wins in Big Ten play have come against ranked teams.

Andie Malloy had her best match as a Husker with 19 kills on .312 hitting. Mikaela Foecke also added 19 kills, and Amber Rolfzen matched her career high with 16 kills and had no errors for a .615 hitting percentage. She also matched her season high with nine blocks.

Justine Wong-Orantes had 23 digs, becoming the new Nebraska career record holder. She surpassed Kayla Banwarth's career total of 1,706 with her 16th dig of the match, which came midway through the third set. Kenzie Maloney added a career-high 17 digs, and Kadie Rolfzen also had a season-high 17 digs to go with nine kills. Kelly Hunter posted 61 assists with eight digs and five blocks.

After being outblocked 6.5-0 in the first set, Nebraska regrouped and outblocked the Nittany Lions 13-5.5 the rest of the way, finishing with a 13-12 edge. The Huskers outhit Penn State .238 to .166 and have held six straight opponents under .180 hitting. Penn State entered the match as the third-best hitting team in the nation (.304).

Simone Lee led Penn State with 23 kills and added 13 digs. The Nittany Lions have lost four matches in a row for the first time since 1982, though all four have come against top-16 teams.

Set 1: Penn State posted 4.5 blocks early in the set to build a 13-8 lead, which came after a 4-0 run. The Huskers put together three straight points on Kadie Rolfzen and Amber Rolfzen kills around a Penn State hitting error to pull within 14-12. The Huskers pulled within two points on two occasions but committed a service error each time to end their rally. Penn State's block continued to hurt the Big Red as the Nittany Lions increased the lead to 20-15. Nebraska trailed 23-17 before a Penn State service error and two hitting errors made it 23-20. A kill by Haleigh Washington gave PSU four set points at 24-20. The Huskers killed off the first two with a pair of kills by Malloy, but Simone Lee finished the set with a kill and the 25-22 PSU win.

Set 2: The Huskers turned to Malloy early and often, and she produced three kills to help them to a 5-4 lead. Amber Rolfzen was in on a block and notched two kills, and Malloy tacked on another for a 9-6 lead. Malloy's 10th kill, an ace by Albrecht and a free ball smash by Hunter made it 12-8 Big Red. Penn State ran off three straight points to cut it to 12-11, but an Amber Rolfzen kill and Penn State hitting error restored a 14-11 Husker advantage. Two blocks by Holman - one with Kadie Rolfzen and one with Foecke - moved the lead to 17-12 and capped a 5-1 run. A kill by Malloy and ace by Wong-Orantes extended the margin to six, 20-14, before Penn State's second timeout. Penn State pulled within 21-17, but NU closed out the set with a 4-0 run to even the match. Amber Rolfzen posted back-to-back kills and a block with Hunter to spark the Big Red down the stretch. Nebraska hit .256 and held Penn State to .098. The Huskers were much better at the net, posting four blocks after none in the first set.

Set 3: Another pair of early kills by Malloy gave the Huskers a 4-3 lead, but Penn State answered with three straight points for a 6-4 edge. Penn State led 7-5 before Nebraska took control. The Huskers went on a 9-0 run to stake a 14-7 lead. Amber Rolfzen had a kill and two blocks in the run, and Foecke smashed a pair of kills. Penn State trimmed the deficit to 14-10, but a block by Amber Rolfzen and Foecke got the Big Red sideout after a timeout. The Nittany Lions cut it to 19-17, but Malloy answered with her season-high 15th kill. But Penn State continued to chip away at the lead and tied the set 20-20 on a Heidi Thelen kill. Amber Rolfzen put NU back in front with a kill, and Foecke followed with one of her own after a tough serve by Sydney Townsend. Penn State committed a hitting error, and the Huskers were back ahead by three, 23-20. Foecke gave Nebraska set point at 24-21, and Kadie Rolfzen pounded home the winner at 25-23.

Set 4: Penn State went up 8-6 before a Holman kill and a Malloy solo block tied the score at 8-8. Another block by Hunter and Amber Rolfzen put the Huskers ahead for the first time in the set, 12-11. Penn State regained a 13-12 lead before Foecke tied it with her 14th kill. The Nittany Lions went ahead 16-14, but Kadie Rolfzen tallied a kill and the Huskers won a replay challenge that ruled a Penn State hit went out, and the set was tied 16-16. A sideout battle ensued until Hunter and Amber Rolfzen teamed up for a block and a 20-19 lead. After a Penn State timeout, Washington struck for two kills to give Penn State a 21-20 lead and force a Husker timeout. Foecke terminated out of the timeout, but the Huskers committed a pair of errors to give the Nittany Lions a 23-21 lead. Hunter hammered down an overpass to get within one and then stepped to the service line. Lee earned set point for Penn State, and the Nittany Lions closed out the 25-23 win to force a fifth set.

Set 5: Foecke found the floor first, and Penn State misfired for a 2-0 Husker lead. Penn State tied it 2-2 before Kadie Rolfzen snuck a kill down along the net to make it 3-2. Nebraska took a 6-3 lead after back-to-back kills by Malloy, both of which came after great floor defense by the Huskers' back row of Maloney and Wong-Orantes. After a Penn State timeout, Amber Rolfzen recorded her 14th kill and then combined with her twin sister for a block to make it 8-3 as the teams changed sides. She added another kill after the short break to finish off a 6-0 run and put NU ahead 9-3. The Nittany Lions didn't go away, though, scoring three straight to cut the deficit in half, 9-6. With a 10-7 lead, the Huskers got kills by Amber Rolfzen and Foecke to go up 12-7 and force Penn State's final timeout. The Nittany Lions got within 12-9 before a kill by Foecke, and the Nittany Lions hit wide to give NU match point at 14-9. The Huskers won the match, 15-11, after a challenge found Foecke's shot touched the line for the final point.

Up Next: Nebraska travels to Rutgers for a 6 p.m. (CT) match on Saturday in New Brunswick, N.J.

Source: University of Nebraska Athletic Dept.