Minneapolis, Minn. – The No. 11 Nebraska volleyball team (19-4, 12-2) handed the No. 9 Minnesota Gophers their first home loss of the 2013 season with a gritty 3-2 (25-22, 15-25, 27-25, 15-25, 15-11) win on Sunday afternoon at the Sports Pavilion.
Kelsey Robinson led the way for the Huskers with 23 kills and 18 digs on the day. Kadie Rolfzen notched a career-high 20 kills and posted 11 digs, while also hitting at a clip of .351. Mary Pollmiller dished out 61 assists, as Justine Wong-Orantes guided NU defensively with a career and match-high 24 digs.
The Huskers hit .254 for the match, while Minnesota hit .335. Nebraska was out-blocked 11.5-9, but out-dug the Gophers 71-58.
The Huskers took an 8-4 lead early in the first set on a kill from Robinson and forced the Gophers to use an early timeout. Minnesota posted a 3-0 run to cut NU’s lead to 12-10 as the Huskers used a timeout of their own. NU went up 18-16 on a kill from Kadie Rolfzen, but the Gophers posted a 3-0 run to tie the set at 20-20. Nebraska answered the Gopher run and took a 22-20 lead on a double-block from Haggerty and Robinson and went on to win the first set 25-22.
Robinson posted seven kills in the first set, while Kadie Rolfzen tallied five. Pollmiller handed out 17 assists as the Huskers hit .306 for the set. Minnesota hit .333 and both teams had two blocks each.
A double-block from Hall and Pollmiller knotted up the Huskers and Gophers at 8-8 in the second set, while a long rally results in a kill from Robinson, helping NU cut into Minnesota’s lead at 16-12. The Gophers gained the momentum through the set and went on a 6-0 run to go up 23-14, eventually posting a 25-15 second-set win.
Kadie Rolfzen and Robinson both had four kills in the second set. Nebraska hit just .212, while the Gophers hit .533. Minnesota tallied 1.5 team blocks, as NU had one.
Amber Rolfzen and Haggerty teamed up for a block to put NU up 8-5 early in the third set. Nebraska took a 13-9 lead after a kill from Hall and an ace from Kadie Rolfzen, as Minnesota used a timeout. The Huskers went up 16-11 on the heels of back-to-back kills from Robinson, but the Gophers responded as they cut into NU’s lead at 16-14. Minnesota tied the set at 20-20, but a block from Robinson and Hall distanced the Huskers at 22-20. The Gophers and Huskers fought point-for-point down the stretch, but a gutsy effort put the Huskers up 27-25.
Robinson notched six kills in the third set, while Kadie Rolfzen had four. Pollmiller handed out 15 assists as the Huskers hit .325 for the set. Minnesota hit at a clip of .244.
The Gophers came back energized in the fourth set, taking a 10-5 lead, later stretching it to 15-8 and forcing Nebraska to call a timeout. The Huskers failed to generate a rhythm through the set as Minnesota won the fourth set 25-15.
Haggerty led Nebraska in the fourth set with three kills, but NU hit just .111. The Gophers tallied a .406 hitting clip and out-blocked NU 4-0.
Kadie Rolfzen posted the first three kills of the fifth set, helping NU to a 3-0 lead, but Minnesota answered with three straight points to tie the set at 3-3. Robinson helped the Huskers regain the lead at 6-3, as NU then went up 10-6. The Huskers held on to win the fifth set 15-11.
Nebraska returns home next weekend as the Huskers host Michigan State on Friday, Nov. 15 and Michigan on Saturday, Nov. 16.