LOUISVILLE, KY–(NU Athletics Dec. 8)–The No. 7 Nebraska volleyball team had its season come to an end with a five-set 25-14, 24-26, 25-22, 30-32, 11-15 loss to No. 9 Oregon in an NCAA regional semifinal on Thursday at the KFC Yum! Center.
The Huskers finished the season at 26-6 and had their nation-leading streak of 10 straight NCAA regional final appearances come to an end. Lindsay Krause led Nebraska with 16 kills and added a career-high six blocks. Ally Batenhorst (15 kills) and Whitney Lauenstein (12) produced double-figure kills, while Batenhorst, Nicklin Hames and Anni Evans each produced double-doubles. Kaitlyn Hord led the Huskers with nine blocks and Lexi Rodriguez led NU with 18 digs.
Mimi Colyer led the Ducks (26-5) with 26 kills. Brooke Nuneviller added 16 kills.
Set 1: With the score tied 5-5, Lauenstein terminated and Oregon hit into the antenna for a 7-5 Husker lead. Hord and Kubik tacked on kills to make it 9-6. After a Colyer kill, Krause recorded two kills in a row to push the lead to four, 11-7. The Ducks cut the lead in half, but Hord added her third kill, Rodriguez served an ace and Batenhorst terminated a long rally before Oregon hit into the net to increase the Huskers’ advantage to six at the media timeout, 15-9. After the timeout, Kubik posted her third kill to make it 16-9. Another kill by Krause, an ace serve by Evans and a kill by Lauenstein put the Big Red up 19-11. Hames served NU’s third ace of the set for a 23-14 lead, and the Huskers closed out the set on top, 25-14.
Set 2: The Ducks took a 7-4 lead after a 5-1 spurt sparked by three Colyer kills. A kill by Hord and a hitting error by the Ducks pulled the Huskers within one, 10-9. Nebraska went up 12-11 after three straight errors by Oregon, but Oregon went back ahead 14-12 after the Huskers struggled in serve receive. Batenhorst posted a kill – after a successful challenge by the Huskers – to cut it to 14-13, but Colyer put Oregon up 15-13 at the media break with her ninth kill. The Ducks pushed their lead to four, 18-14, after a kill by Colyer and a block by Colyer and Karson Bacon. Nebraska trailed 20-16 when Krause terminated, Kubik served an ace, and Batenhorst and Hord recorded back-to-back kills to tie the score at 20-20. Hord and Krause then stuffed an Oregon attack to make it 21-20 Huskers, and Oregon took a timeout. After the break, the Huskers continued to roll with a kill by Batenhorst off a Rodriguez bump set to make it 22-20. The Ducks answered with three kills to regain a 23-22 lead, but Oregon hit wide to even the score again. A Nuneviller kill earned Oregon set point, but the Ducks served into the net. However, Nuneviller terminated again and the Huskers hit long, as Oregon won 26-24.
Set 3: Nebraska was playing from behind again after Oregon took a 7-4 lead. Hord had a kill and Batenhorst made a solo block to tie the score at 9-9, but the Ducks scored three in a row to go up 12-9. Another solo stuff by Batenhorst and two hitting errors by Oregon leveled the score at 13-13. Oregon went back on top, 15-13, but Lauenstein and Kubik pounded kills and Allick and Lauenstein teamed up for a block and a 16-15 Husker lead. With the score tied 18-18, Krause had a kill and a block with Hord for a 20-18 lead. The Ducks stayed within one at 22-21, but Batenhorst terminated her 10th kill and Oregon hit wide for an NU set point, 24-21. An Oregon service error ended the set in Nebraska’s favor, 25-22.
Set 4: The teams battled back and forth early in the set with neither team able to grab a lead larger than two points. Oregon led 13-12 when Batenhorst notched her 14th kill and served back-to-back aces for a 15-13 Husker advantage at the media timeout. After the timeout, Kubik tallied her seventh kill to put NU up by three, 16-13. Oregon scored three of the next four points to cut it to 17-16, but Lauenstein connected for a kill and Hord and Krause combined for NU’s ninth block to make it 19-16. But the Ducks roared back with a 5-0 run to take a 22-20 lead. Oregon claimed set point at 24-22, but Lauenstein tooled a block, and then Allick set Lauenstein for a kill to the corner to draw even at 24-24. The Ducks hit long to give Nebraska match point at 25-24, but Oregon earned sideout with a kill. Allick came right back from the Huskers with a kill to make it 26-25, but an attack error tied the score again. The Ducks then earned set point on a kill by Hannah Pukis, but Lauenstein and Hord sided out for the Big Red with a block. Another match point came for the Huskers with a Hord and Kubik block, but Oregon answered with a Colyer kill. Kubik terminated for a 29-28 lead, but Pukis and Nuneviller scored for the Ducks for a 30-29 Oregon set point. Oregon served into the net to tie it 30-30, but Morgan Lewis terminated and a dig by Nuneviller fell on the Huskers’ side of the net, and the Ducks won the set. The Huskers had four match points before ultimately falling, 32-30.
Set 5: Oregon bolted to an 8-4 lead as the teams changed sides. Kills by Colyer and Nuneviller made it 10-4, and the Huskers hit long to give Oregon an 11-4 advantage. The Ducks eventually went up by nine, 13-4, after a 7-0 run. Nebraska put up a fight with six straight points to get within 14-11 with Krause posting a kill and three blocks (two with Hord) along the way and Hames serving an ace, but the Ducks finally won the match at 15-11 via a kill.