Huskers’ front line proves too tall a task in Lincoln

Austin Laymance

The Nebraska Coliseum in Lincoln is not typically somewhere you want to be if you’re an opponent of the Cornhuskers volleyball team, and Texas dropped another road game Saturday as the short-handed Longhorns fell 3-1 to Nebraska. The No. 3 Cornhuskers defeated Texas 25-20, 20-25, 25-19 and 25-20 to remain undefeated in the Big 12 while the Longhorns fell to 8-5 overall and 3-2 in the conference.

Nebraska finally reversed their recent fortunes against the Longhorns as the Cornhuskers won for the first time in the last five meetings. Last year, Texas defeated Nebraska all three times — twice in the regular season and once deep into the postseason. However, this year’s youthful Longhorn squad could not pull off the upset in one of the toughest environments in college volleyball to play in.

Junior middle blocker Rachael Adams led Texas with 15 kills — she has led the Longhorns in kills in five of the last six matches — as the team had three players with double-figure kills. Senior outside hitter Juliann Faucette added 14, and junior outside hitter Amber Roberson chipped in 13 for the Longhorns.
Texas freshman libero Sarah Palmer started the game for the ill Sydney Yogi and led the defense with a team-high 15 digs. The Longhorns were also without freshman outside hitter Ashley Bannister.

Despite a short bench, the Longhorns came out in the first set and traded points with the 14-1 Cornhuskers before Nebraska pulled away to win the first game 25-20.

Texas came alive in the second set and jumped out to an early advantage, thanks to three kills by Adams. After the Cornhuskers came back to tie the set at 12, Texas responded with a 5-1 run, and Faucette and Adams carried the Longhorns down the stretch to win 25-20 on a kill by sophomore opposite hitter Sha’Dare McNeal.

But Texas came out after the intermission with three errors to fall behind Nebraska 8-1. The Longhorns put together a 6-1 run later in the set to pull within five but they were unable to dig themselves out of the early hole and lost 25-19.

Nebraska came out firing on all cylinders at the start of the fourth set and established an early lead and never looked back, handing the Longhorns their fourth road loss in five contests away from home.

Texas returns to action Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. as they take on Colorado at Gregory Gymnasium.