Lincoln - The seventh-ranked Nebraska volleyball team fell to No. 3 Stanford, 3-0, in front of 8,562 fans at the Devaney Center in the final game of the AVCA Showcase on Sunday.
Stanford (2-0) led most of the way in each of the first two sets and won both by identical 25-17 scores. The Huskers (0-2) jumped out to a 10-6 lead in the third set before Stanford took 13 of the next 17 rallies to go up 19-14 en route to a 25-19 win in the third and final game.
Junior Kelsey Fien led the Huskers with nine kills, while Mary Pollmiller and Alicia Ostrander each had five kills. Pollmiller's five kills came on 11 attacks for a team-best .364 hitting percentage, and she added 24 assists. Freshman Annika Albrecht had 10 digs, as did sophomore Amber Rolfzen.
Jordan Burgess led three Stanford players with double-digit kills with a match-high 14. She also had 12 digs. Morgan Boukather added 13 kills and 18 digs, while Inky Ajanaku posted 10 kills and hit .500 to lead the Cardinal to a team hitting percentage of .365. The Huskers hit just .131 on the afternoon but committed 10 fewer errors than the 26 on Friday against Florida State. Madi Bugg had 46 of Stanford's 53 assists and was successful four times on her five attacks.
The Huskers posted the first point of the match, but Stanford responded with three straight to go up 3-1 and never let the Huskers even up the set the rest of the way. NU cut the Cardinal lead to 9-8 on a kill by Ostrander and a Stanford error. But the Cardinal went on a 6-0 run to go up 15-8 after four straight attacking errors from the Huskers. Stanford built the lead to 20-10, but Nebraska tried to build momentum heading into set two with back-to-back kills by Ostrander and Amber Rolfzen to get within 24-17 before Stanford's Boukather finished off the game. Seven of the Huskers' 16 attack errors in the match came in the first set.
In set two, Stanford built an 8-5 lead before Fien and Pollmiller sandwiched kills around a Stanford error to even the set at 8-8. But an NU service error and kill by Boukather put Stanford back on top 10-8. Soon after, Kadie Rolfzen recorded a kill and another Cardinal attacking error tied the set at 12-12. But just like the previous time NU evened up the set, Stanford responded quickly with three points this time to go up 15-12. The Huskers were never able to get closer than three points the rest of the set as Stanford hit .450 in set two for the 25-17 win.
Freshman Sydney Townsend served the Huskers into a 3-2 lead in the third set with an ace, and Stanford hit into the net to put NU up 4-2. After a kill by Stanford, Albrecht posted a kill and the Cardinal hit into the net again to give NU a 6-3 lead to force a Stanford timeout and bring the Devaney Center crowd into the match. Stanford crept back to within 7-5 on a McGehee kill, but the Huskers took three of the next four rallies for a 10-6 lead. NU maintained the four-point edge at 12-8, but Stanford put together a 5-0 run to claim a 13-12 lead. A service error by Stanford evened the game at 13-13, but the Cardinal pulled away with six points in the next seven rallies for a 19-14 lead. Burgess had two kills during the run. The Huskers could get no closer than three points the rest of the way as the Cardinal finished off the match with a 25-19 win in game three.
The Huskers will hit the road for the first time this season at the Flyer-Raider Invitational next weekend in Dayton, Ohio. NU will play at Dayton on Friday at 6 p.m. (Central) and then face CSU Bakersfield at 10 a.m. and Eastern Kentucky at 2 p.m. on Saturday.