Stephanie Samedy had 23 kills to lead the No. 5 Minnesota volleyball team to a 25-15, 20-25, 26-24, 25-23 win against No. 4 Nebraska on Friday at the Devaney Sports Center.
The Gophers stay at the top of the Big Ten standings, while Nebraska’s first loss drops it to 6-1 this season.
After an off day, the same teams will play again at 11 a.m. Sunday.
Madi Kubik and Lauren Stivrins had 15 kills apiece for Nebraska.
Minnesota has one of the best and most explosive players in the nation with Samedy, an All-American right-side hitter, but it was the serving of a libero that was one of the big reasons the Gophers won the match.
CC McGraw’s serving rarely let Nebraska run its offense. She had a couple of serving runs early in the match. And the back-breaker for Nebraska in the match was when McGraw served a 4-0 run to end the third set after NU led 24-22. McGraw helped flip the set, and take back momentum in the match that it never gave away from that point on.
Minnesota took a quick 6-1 lead to start the match. Minnesota basically served the Huskers out of the first set and reduced Nebraska’s offense to a lot of out-of-system attacks that were easy to defend.
That allowed the Gophers to have four blocks in the first set when Nebraska had none.
McGraw served runs of 5-0 and 7-0 in the first set, with two aces.
Minnesota hit .278 in the first set, and the Huskers just .056.
Nebraska again got behind quickly in the second set 8-2. But Nebraska won 13 of the next 19 rallies and when Stivrins beat Minnesota’s Regan Pittman one-on-one for a kill, Nebraska led 15-14 and had its first lead of the set. Nebraska won the next two rallies, too, and led 17-14.
The end of the set got tense when the Gophers got its deficit to 22-20. But Kubik got another big kill on a back-row attack, and forced the Gophers into errors on the final two rallies to win the set 25-20, and tie the match.
Stivrins and Kubik helped get the Huskers back into the match with their play in the set. Stivrins had six kills on 10 attempts. Kubik had five kills on 12 swings without a hitting error.
Nebraska again struggled with McGraw’s serves in the third set, and the Gophers led 7-1.
Nebraska rallied and took a 24-22 lead. But the Huskers couldn’t convert its first set point, and that was bad news because McGraw was serving. Nebraska couldn’t solve McGraw’s serving again, and the Gophers won the final four points of the set to win 26-24 and to take a 2-1 match lead.
In the fourth set, Nebraska rallied with a 4-0 run to tie the match at 18. But Samedy got another sharp kill to end the run and take a 19-18 lead and a back-row kill later in the set. Nebraska had a hitting error on match point.
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