Huskers Fall to No. 13 FSU in Season Opener
Lincoln - Junior Alicia Ostrander enjoyed a career night, but the seventh-ranked Nebraska volleyball team fell in a hard-fought battle to No. 13 Florida State, 3-1, in front of 8,569 fans Friday night, the largest crowd under the current Devaney Center seating configuration.
The Huskers won the opener 25-18, before Florida State won the next three sets, all by two points. The Seminoles took set two 27-25 and won sets three and four by identical 25-23 margins. With the loss, Nebraska fell to 0-1 on the season, while FSU improved to 1-0.
Ostrander led Nebraska with a match-high 18 kills, more than tripling her previous career high of five kills. Ostrander produced 18 kills after totaling 19 kills all of last season. Sophomore Amber Rolfzen also finished in double figures with 13 kills, as did junior Meghan Haggerty, who hit .421 while putting down 10 kills on 19 swings. Sophomore Kadie Rolfzen led Nebraska with 18 digs - tying her career high - while classmate Cecilia Hall tied for match-high honors with five blocks.
Despite the loss, Nebraska produced more kills, more assists, more blocks and a higher hitting percentage than the Seminoles, while the teams each recorded 72 digs. The Huskers hit .182 in the match and recorded 12 blocks.
Florida State hit .176 and was led by Nicole Walch, who bounced back from a slow start to tie Ostrander for match-high honors with 18 kills. Katie Horton added 17 kills, while Katie Mosher was outstanding at libero, producing 33 digs.
FSU was the first team to lead by more than two in the opening set when a pair of blocks helped the Seminoles win four straight rallies to take a 9-6 advantage and force an early Husker timeout. The timeout did wonders for NU, as Nebraska won 10 of the next 12 rallies, capping the 10-2 run by taking a 16-11 lead. NU closed out a 25-18 victory when Ostrander delivered her fifth kill on the Huskers' second set point. Nebraska held Florida State to an .018 attack percentage in the opening set, recording four blocks and 32 digs.
The Seminoles turned the table on Nebraska in set two, turning an early three-point deficit into a 14-10 advantage on the strength of a 9-2 run. The Huskers pulled back within two at 19-17 to force an FSU timeout then capped a 5-0 run by taking a 20-19 lead. Ostrander's 10th kill of the match kept Nebraska on top 21-20 before FSU won the next three rallies. Nebraska then fought off three Seminole match points before a Kiara Wright kill wrapped up a 27-25 Florida State win. FSU hit .263 in the second set, led by seven kills on 11 swings from Walch, who was held to a -.077 percentage in set one.
Florida State won the first three rallies of set three and didn't trail until Nebraska won back-to-back rallies following 12 consecutive sideouts to earn a 12-11 lead. The Seminoles regained the lead at 15-14 then stretched their advantage to 20-17. Consecutive kills from each of the Rolfzen twins pulled Nebraska back within one before Horton delivered a thundering kill and Mosher served an ace to force a Husker timeout with Florida State in front 22-19. Nebraska won the first three points following the break to tie the set and force a Seminole timeout. Horton ended the run with a kill and Sarah Wickstrom followed with an ace to give FSU two set points. An Ostrander kill fought off one set point, but Florida State earned a 25-23 win on Horton's 10th kill of the match.
Nebraska won the first five rallies of set four and seven of the first eight but could not hang on to the early advantage. NU built the lead to 9-2 on kills from six different Huskers. Florida State came right back with a 7-1 run to pull within one at 10-9. The Seminoles pulled even at 11 and grabbed their first lead at 18-16 on three consecutive kills from Horton. Nebraska won the next two rallies to tie the set but Florida State answered with consecutive points of its own. The Seminoles stretched the lead to 22-19 on a Husker hitting error. NU came back to win three of the next four rallies and tie the set at 23, but back-to-back hitting errors gave Florida State the match with a 25-23 victory.
Nebraska returns to action on Sunday, when the Huskers host third-ranked Stanford at Noon. The match will be televised live on the Big Ten Network. The Cardinal opened its season with 3-0 sweep at Iowa State on Friday.