The No. 9 Nebraska volleyball team (20-6, 12-5) fell in heartbreaking fashion to the No. 14 Minnesota Gophers Friday night at Sports Pavilion on the campus of the University of Minnesota. The Huskers dropped the match 3-2 (12-25, 25-15, 25-22, 19-25, 19-21) in front of 5,368 in attendance. The match marked Nebraska’s seventh five set match of the season.
Gina Mancuso led the Huskers on the night with 18 kills, while Hannah Werth notched 16 kills and Meghan Haggerty put away 10. Lauren Cook paced the offense with 47 assists, and Werth led the defense with 14 digs as Hayley Thramer recorded seven blocks.
Nebraska notched a .263 hitting percentage in the match, while the Gophers posted a .287 hitting percentage. The Huskers out-blocked Minnesota 11-10, but were out-dug 56-54.
Minnesota started the match with a 3-0 lead over NU, while a kill by Thramer put Nebraska within one at 7-6. The Gophers stretched their lead to 12-7 as Nebraska used its first timeout of the match. A string of runs gave Minnesota a 10 point lead at 18-8, and the Gophers went on to close out NU in the first set 25-12.
Haggerty and Mancuso both tallied two kills in the first set, but the Huskers hit .080 as a team. Minnesota came out of the gate with a .520 hitting percentage and out-blocked NU 3-1.
Nebraska came out fighting in the second set, taking a 4-0 lead as Minnesota used a timeout. A double-stuff block by Cook and Haggerty, followed by a hitting error on the Gophers put NU up 10-3. A kill by Werth made it 19-9, Huskers, as a kill from Thramer gave Nebraska the second set at 25-15.
Mancuso and Werth both had four kills in the second set, while Cook recorded nine assists. The Huskers hit .400 in the set, while Minnesota hit .138. Nebraska had two team blocks, while Minnesota had zero.
The two teams traded leads early in the third set, while a kill from Cook make it 8-6, Huskers. Nebraska went up 13-9 on a hitting error by the Gophers. Hitting errors continued to plague Minnesota as NU went up 17-11. A kill by Mancuso then gave Nebraska a 21-17 lead. Four set points later, Nebraska won the third set 25-22 and took a 2-1 lead in the match.
Mancuso notched four kills in the third set, while Breokhuis and Werth both had three and Cook paced the offense with 13 assists. Nebraska hit .379 in the set, holding Minnesota to a .281 hitting percentage.
Nebraska went up 3-0 in the fourth set on back-to-back kills by Broekhuis, while a kill from Werth made it 6-2, Huskers. An 8-0 run by the Gophers put them up 10-7, but a block from Cook and Thramer put Nebraska within one at 12-11. An ace by Dykstra tied the set at 16-16, but Minnesota regained the lead at 19-18. The Gophers would prove to be too much for the Huskers to handle down the stretch, as they went on to win the fourth set 25-19.
Mancuso and Broekhuis each had four kills in the fourth set, while Werth notched three. Cook had 12 assists, pushing NU to a .290 hitting percentage for the set. Minnesota hit .364, and both teams had two team blocks.
Three hitting errors by the Gophers helped Nebraska to a 4-1 lead in the fifth set. A solo block by Werth put NU up 6-2, but Minnesota came inching back on a 5-0 run to tie the set at 7-7. Minnesota led 11-8, but Nebraska came back to tie the set at 12 after back-to-back kills by Mancuso. Both teams would not quit, but seven match points later, Minnesota came out on top 21-19 and took the match 3-2.
Next up the Huskers will face the Wisconsin Badgers on Sunday, Nov. 18 at 1 p.m. at the UW Fieldhouse.