Sunday, July 21, 2024

No. 1 Nebraska survives upset against No. 16 Penn State: Big Ten volleyball

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — The top-ranked Nebraska volleyball team staged a dramatic comeback to defeat No. 16 Penn State in a five-set thriller at a buzzing Rec Hall on Friday night. Complete Box Score Here

The Huskers rallied from a 0-2 deficit, a feat they hadn’t achieved in a true road game since 2018 at Creighton, to maintain their perfect season record with a 5-25, 23-25, 25-18, 25-20, 15-13 win.

Read more: No. 3 Stanford women’s volleyball tops No. 8 Oregon in Pac-12 battle

In front of a packed house, the largest Penn State home crowd in two decades, the Nittany Lions initially dominated, securing the first two sets and putting Nebraska under significant pressure.

However, the Cornhuskers, leveraging their depth and experience, clawed back into the match by taking the next two sets, setting the stage for a nail-biting fifth and final set, which was locked at 13-13 in the closing moments before the travelers went on to take the win.

Merritt Beason’s career-high 27 kills on .426 hitting were instrumental in the Huskers’ victory, tying the most by a Nebraska player since 2013. Mikaela Foecke was the last Nebraska player to achieve this feat prior to tonight’s game.

Harper Murray and Beason’s back-to-back kills sealed the deal for Nebraska, which improved to 22-0 overall this season and 13-0 in the Big Ten conference play.

Murray finished the game with 15 kills and 14 digs, Bekka Allick added a season-high 11 kills with a .381 hitting percentage to go along with a team-high five blocks.

Andi Jackson supplied nine kills with three blocks, and Ally Batenhorst contributed seven kills and four blocks for the nation’s best team.

Meanwhile, Penn State, despite a strong start and a .298 hitting percentage, fell to 15-7 overall and 9-4 in conference play.

Jess Mruzik led Penn State offense with 21 kills and eight digs, Camryn Hannah ended with 10 kills, while Mac Podraza ended the game with 50 assists from 113 attempts, to go with five digs in a monster performance in the loss for the Nittany Lions.

Maddy Bilinovic contributed 17 digs in the defeat for Penn State, which dropped two of the last three games.

Upcoming Schedule

Nebraska’s next challenge is a match against Rutgers on Sunday, as they continue their quest for an undefeated season.

The Nittany Lions, meanwhile, travel to West Lafayette, Indiana to take on No. 19 Purdue on Sunday at 1:00 p.m.

Gary Smith, Lead Sports Writer
Gary Smith, Lead Sports Writer
One of main contributors and associated staff member. Focus on presenting the best possible news, views and reviews from college and pro sporting events all across the globe. Smith is a track and field writer, who covers several meeting around the world. He is also a regular contributor for and
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