Kearney, Neb. – In front of a packed house of 2,040 fans at Kearney High School on Saturday afternoon, the Nebraska volleyball posted a 25-17, 25-16, 25-17 sweep of the Colorado State Rams.
With the departure of four seniors, including three All-Americans, Saturday provided fans the first look at both returners and newcomers that will make up the 2017 Husker squad.
Senior setter Kelly Hunter paced the Huskers with a match-high 23 assists, while senior Annika Albrecht led all players with 11 kills and Olivia Boender added eight kills. The Huskers notched 11 aces on the day including three each from Albrecht and Mikaela Foecke.
Colorado State jumped out to a 3-1 lead, but then the Huskers outscored the Rams 24-14 on their way to a 25-17 first-set victory.
The Huskers hit at a .321 clip, while NU’s defense held the Rams to .038 hitting. Hunter netted 14 assists in the first set, with Holman hammering home four kills, while Albrecht and redshirt freshman Lauren Strivrins each added three kills.
After the teams were tied 1-1 the Huskers won 11 of the next 18 rallies to take a 12-8 lead. Following a timeout the teams traded two-point runs before NU went on a 4-0 run that gave the Huskers a 18-12 lead, with Boender serving on three straight points.
Down six the Rams took a timeout and it worked, as Boender came out and committed NU’s six service error of the match. With the lead cut to five, Nebraska responded with a 7-3 run down the stretch to take set two, 25-16. The final point of the set came on the Rams’ sixth service error of the match.
The break between sets two and three did little slow down the Huskers. The teams were tied early, 2-2, but then the Huskers scored five straight to take a 7-2 lead, forcing a CSU timeout. The teams traded the next four rallies, before the Huskers put up a 6-0 run, including three straight aces from Albrecht that made it 15-4 Nebraska.
Down 2-0 in the match, Colorado State didn’t go away quietly. The Rams went on a 10-3 run that cut NU’s lead to 18-14. The Huskers took a timeout and came out with three straight points to retake control of the match, 21-14. Nebraska won four of the final seven rallies to finish off the win, with Strivrins recording the final two points with a block and a kill.
The Huskers now turn their attention to the 2017 season. Nebraska opens the season at the VERT Challenge in Gainesville, Fla., where they will play the Oregon Ducks in the season opener on Friday, Aug. 25, before meeting the Florida Gators on Saturday. Nebraska will open at home on Sept. 1-2 with the annual Ameritas Players Challenge. NU will play two matches on Friday, Sept. 1 and one on Saturday, Sept. 2. The other teams in the tournament are Oral Roberts, Saint Mary’s and Maryland-Baltimore County.