Despite the sweep, the Huskers had to work to win their opening NCAA Tournament match for the 31st consecutive season. Nebraska survived late Hofstra rallies in each of the first two sets, winning the opener 27-25 and taking set two, 25-23. NU closed out the match with a 25-16 victory in set three, but the Huskers did not secure the win until their fifth match point.
With the win, Nebraska (21-9) advances to Saturday’s second-round match against No. 20 Utah, which swept Kansas State in Friday’s first match. First serve between the Huskers and Utes is set for 7 p.m. and the match will air live in the state of Nebraska on NET. The television broadcast will also be streamed for free on Huskers.com and on BTN2GO.
Hofstra ended its season with a 28-6 record, tying for the sixth-most victories in school history and the program’s highest total since 1989.
Hofstra enjoyed a 38-36 advantage in kills, but it was the Husker block that was the difference. Nebraska totaled 19.5 blocks, just one-half block shy of the school record for a three-set NCAA Tournament match. Amber Rolfzen had 10 blocks to tie Melissa Elmer’s record for most blocks in a three-set postseason match. Amber’s twin sister Kadie posted a match-high 13 kills and hit .323 for the Big Red, while adding a double-double with a team-high 15 digs. Nuria Lopes da Silva led Hofstra with 10 kills as the only other player with double-figure kills.
Nebraska was victorious, 27-25, in a tight opening set that featured nine ties and three lead changes. Hofstra won five of the first six rallies and was on top 8-3 before the Huskers stormed back to take a 10-9 advantage. After Hofstra regained the lead, Nebraska used a 7-1 run to take a 19-5 lead. The Pride chipped away from there, evening the match at 23-23. The teams then traded side outs before Kadie Rolfzen secured the victory with a kill on the Huskers’ third set point. Rolfzen had five kills in the set, as did Lopes da Silva. Nebraska was strong at the net, recording 8.5 blocks in the set.
The Huskers began the second set in much stronger fashion, jumping out to a 9-2 advantage. Nebraska stretched the lead to as many as eight, before four straight Hofstra points closed the score to 12-8 and forced a Husker timeout. Nebraska won six of the next eight points to quickly push the lead back to eight. The Huskers were seemingly in control with six set points at 24-18, but Hofstra fought back with five straight points before Kelsey Fien closed out the 25-23 victory with a kill on Nebraska’s sixth set point. Hofstra totaled more kills than Nebraska for the second straight set, but the Huskers were once again bolstered by their block, stuffing six attacks in the set.
Nebraska dominated much of the third set in a 25-16 win. The Huskers won eight of the first nine rallies and stretched the lead to 23-11 following an 8-2 run. But as was the case in the first two sets, Hofstra did not go down without a fight. Nebraska had its first match point at 24-13, but needed five match points to close out the victory. Kadie Rolfzen had five kills and seven digs in the third set.