University Park, Pa. - The No. 1 Nebraska volleyball team (18-2, 11-1) fell 3-1 (17-25, 15-25, 25-17, 17-25) to the No. 8 Penn State Nittany Lions at Rec Hall on Saturday night. The Huskers' loss marks their first conference loss of the season.
Gina Mancuso led Nebraska with 14 kills, while Morgan Broekhuis had 11 kills. Hannah Werth guided NU defensively with 16 digs as Lara Dykstra had 13 of her own. Lauren Cook had 32 assists on the night, but the Huskers only hit .116. Penn State hit .194 and out-dug Nebraska 64-56. PSU boasted 14 team blocks as NU had eight.
The Nittany Lions came out on fire in the first set, posting eight-straight points to go up 8-2. A service ace by Lara Dykstra made it 10-6 in advantage of Penn State, but PSU then went up 13-6. The Huskers came within 17-12, and a double-block by Thramer and Mancuso made it 20-14, Penn State; however that would not be enough to overcome the Nittany Lions in the first set. The Huskers lost the first set 25-17.
In the first set Mancuso tallied four kills with Broekhuis notching three. NU hit only .138 for the set, while Penn State hit .296. The Nittany Lions out-dug the Huskers 13-10 and had five team blocks compared to Nebraska's one.
The Huskers came out fighting in the second set, tying the set four times before the 10-point mark. The Huskers cut it as close as 15-14, but then PSU went up 18-14 and forced Nebraska to call a timeout. The Huskers still had no answer as PSU posted seven-straight points to make it 22-14. Penn State went on to win the second set 25-15 and lead the match 2-0 heading into intermission.
Mancuso had three kills in the second set for NU, while Werth led the Huskers defensively with 10 digs and two block assists. The Huskers were held to a -.100 hitting percentage as Penn State hit .139 for the set.
The Huskers opened the third set with a 5-2 lead as Broekhuis notched two-straight kills. Nebraska then took a 13-5 lead on seven-straight points. NU went up 16-6 on a kill by Mancuso for their largest lead of the night. Another kill by Mancuso distanced the Huskers at 19-10, but Penn State fought back to make it 19-12 and later 22-16. Nebraska eventually took the third set 25-17, down 1-2 in the match.
Broekhuis had six kills in the third set, as Delano tallied four of her own. Cook guided NU with 14 assists, while Dykstra helped Nebraska's defensive effort with four kills. The Huskers hit .129 in the set, while Penn State hit .176.
Nebraska went down 8-4 early in the fourth set and was forced to use a timeout. NU cut it to 12-11, but Penn State then went ahead 15-12. The Huskers could not capitalize and let the Nittany Lions take a 17-13 advantage. PSU went up 20-14, as Nebraska could not make up for lost ground and lost the fourth set 25-17. With the fourth-set loss, Nebraska dropped their first conference match of the season.
In the fourth set Mancuso tallied four kills for NU. Werth tallied two digs and two kills, as Cook had six assists. Dykstra notched four digs as the Huskers totaled 15 for the set. Nebraska hit .081 in set four, while Penn State hit .233.
The Huskers return home next weekend to welcome Michigan to the NU Coliseum on Friday, Nov. 4 and Michigan State on Saturday, Nov. 5. Both matches are slated for 7 p.m. and can be seen on BTN.com with a subscription.