#4 Huskers Outlast #1 Penn State in Five Sets

By: Michael Bennett Email
By: Michael Bennett Email

Nebraska volleyball head coach John Cook was teary eyed following a hard-fought five-set win over the #1 Penn State Nittany Lions before a standing-room capacity of 4,193 at the NU Coliseum.

The crowd at points during the match was deafening, providing the Huskers with what they needed to down the Nittany Lions.

Cook said after Lauren Cook got hit in the face with a line drive by Penn State's Nia Grant in the second set and he knew that the match would turn around - and indeed it did.

The Huskers lost the first set 25-12, but fought back and forth in the second set and eventually won the second set 32-30.

In the third set, Nebraska found themselves down 8 points at 18-10 before Morgan Broekhuis got a kill making the score 18-11 in favor of Penn State. The Huskers clawed back to tie the game at 20-20 on a double-stuff block by Gina Mancuso and Meghan Haggerty, and then went back and forth again until the Huskers evened the match at 1-1.

Following the 10 minute intermission, it seemed as though the Nittany Lions would take control of the match as the Huskers were down as much as six points in the set. Penn State took the third set 25-19 and led the match 2-1.

The fourth set was where Nebraska took control as the Huskers tallied 15 kills including a set-high 5 kills by Gina Mancuso. Freshman Meghan Haggerty added 4 as well. Once again, the Huskers got off to a slow start, down as much as 5 points at 13-8, before coming back to hold a 22-19 lead on a double stuff block by Hayley Thramer and Hannah Werth, forcing Penn State head coach Russ Rose to call his second timeout of the set. Nebraska wouldn't back down from there as the Huskers took the set 25-23 and tied the match at 2-2.

The fifth set, the Huskers took control as the Nittany Lions had many errors, giving the Huskers the eventual lead at 7-6 in the set and then took control on a double-stuff block by Hayley Thramer and Lauren Cook giving Nebraska a three-point lead at 10-7. The Huskers took the set 15-10 and winning the match.

Gina Mancuso led the Huskers with 16 kills in the match, Morgan Broekhuis tallied 13, Meghan Haggerty had 12 and Hannah Werth added 11.

Penn State was led by Deja McClendon tallying a match-high 20 kills and Ariel Scott added 19 in the loss.

With the win, Nebraska handed Penn State its first loss in the Big Ten Conference. The Huskers improve to 18-3 overall and 10-2 in the Big Ten. The Huskers hit the road this week for a two-game road trip with games against Michigan and Michigan State. Friday's match against Michigan begins at 6 p.m.


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