Lexington Volleyball Regional: Nebraska 3, BYU 0

LEXINGTON, Ky. – Behind a balanced offensive attack the No. 4 overall seed Nebraska Cornhuskers earned a 3-0 (26-24, 25-17, 25-23) victory over No. 13 BYU in the opening match of the Lexington Regional on Friday in Memorial Coliseum. Three different Cornhuskers posted 12 kills as the designated home team logged 51 kills on a .279 hitting clip in the victory.

Amber Rolfzen, Kadie Rolfzen and Kelsey Fien led the way with the 12 kills each thanks to 47 assists from setter Kelly Hunter. Amber Rolfzen was the most efficient with the 12 kills on a match-high .550 hitting clip. She also notched five blocks which tied her teammate Cecilia Hall. Justine Wong-Orantes led the defensive effort with 24 of the team’s 64 digs. Kadie Rolfzen earned a double-double with 12 scoops to couple with the 12 kills. Annika Albrecht added 14 digs and a pair of kills to the winning cause.

Nebraska claimed the opening set by a 26-24 score behind eight kills on a .438 hitting clip from Fien. The Huskers captured the first point of the Lexington Regional and never relinquished it. Nebraska stretched the lead to as large as five at 10-5, but the Cougars would not go away eventually tying the score at 16 apiece. From there the teams would trade points with the Huskers never gaining more than a two-point edge. Big Red earned set point at 24-22, but BYU rattled off two-straight to force extra points in the opening frame. Nebraska pulled out the win behind Fein’s eighth kill and then its first block of the set for the 26-24 score. 

The Huskers jumped out to a comfortable 6-2 advantage to begin the second frame, forcing BYU into an early timeout. The lead for the designated home team stretched to as large as eight at 17-9 midway through the frame following a solo block from Amber Rolfzen. Amber Rolfzen closed out the set with her seventh kill of the match for a 25-17 victory and a 2-0 lead into the locker room. Nebraska charted 13 kills on .303 hitting in the second stanza, but limited the Cougars to .067 hitting as the Huskers turned back six attacks. 

BYU was the team that earned an early advantage to open up a 6-2 lead in the third frame looking to extend the match. Nebraska fired back and eventually tied the score at seven apiece. The teams continued to exchange points until the Huskers earned a 22-17 edge. BYU cut the deficit to one at 23-21 to make things interesting late in the frame as BYU aimed to prolong the match. Following a Nebraska timeout, the Huskers’ attack was long allowing the Cougars to pull to within one. Nebraska neutralized the threat immediately with a block to set up match point. Nebraska claimed the set and the match with a 25-23 score as the Cougars committed an erroneous attack for the final tally.

Nebraska advances to its 15th appearance in the Elite Eight under the direction of head coach John Cook with a date with the winner of the No. 12 Ohio State vs. No. 5 Washington match. First serve is slated for 4 p.m. ET on ESPNU on Saturday from Memorial Coliseum.

Nebraska Quotes


Head Coach John Cook 


Opening Statement… 
“I thought our team did a really good job. We made some great adjustments in the first game. Our blocking defense took over the game. I was a little worried at first because we had some trouble slowing them down. We did a good job adjusting and our blocking defense was really good.” 

On how Kelsey Fien played and how the team came out on defense and offense… 
“No, I think both teams just came out and where super pumped up. We here ripping the ball and doing a good job. They were going over our block. I think we were going over their blocks a little bit then it started to come back down. She did a really nice job following the game plan like we wanted to do. Not perfect, but a good job. I haven’t seen the final set so have no idea what we hit but she did a lot of nice things.”

On the night’s serving… 
“I thought it was really good except we broke down a little bit in the beginning of game three. Other than that, it was really consistent. They never look comfortable passing the ball all night. So I’m pleased with that.”

On whether the team is looking forward to Omaha… 
“We can’t worry about Omaha. I mean it’s out there and it’s out there for every team. We have been working for a year to get to this point again. Last year we fell short. Now we have another opportunity to get it done again.” 

On how Nebraska’s overall performance…
“Well we hit .280 and we held Gray to .182 and Boswell to .077. Our blocking defense was really good, our offense was really good and those are great numbers. I thought those were really solid numbers.”

On winning close sets…
“I think winning that first one was huge. That could have been a momentum change for either team. The fact that we won boosted our confidence. Both teams came out trying to fill each other out. Trying to sort through things, it’s a lot of energy flowing. Winning that just gave us a really big boost in confidence. 

On how Kelsey has developed as an attacker…
“Well Kelsey has been a great left side hitter. She has worked really hard to get to that point. I think we do a really good job training outside hitters and if you look at the history.”

#14, Kelsey Fien, Sr., OH


On the way the team came out with a lot of energy… 
“I think that we had a lot of high energy. There really wasn’t any pressure on them or us and we kind of came out firing and had a lot of energy. When we come out like that it makes the game flow a little bit easier.”

On getting a lot of big kills…
“It’s not just me out there getting kills it’s everyone. Kelly put us in a great position and she made me look good.”

On whether the match felt balanced…
“Yes it did. We kept telling Kelly that. One matchup we didn’t have we didn’t like when Boswell was upfront. She is really good she and led the nation in blocking last season and she got us a few times. Other than that Kelly did a good job getting them up and attacking all different zones on the net.”

#5, Amber Rolfzen, Jr., MB


On moving to middle in the spring and the night’s performance… 
“To be honest, Coach kept asking me do I like it - I told him ‘no, I hated it.’ Yeah, I think since transitioning in the spring, I have gotten more comfortable with it. I think we all have gotten comfortable with our positions.” 

#4, Justine Wong-Orantes, Jr., L


On making clutch plays… 
“You know as defenders we are trying to get the ball up. Amber had some really good pursue ball. I think we all feed off of her energy. I say all the time it goes off of mindset.” 

On how the fans came out to support…
“Our fans are incredible and they are really special to us. The fact that they are coming out to Kentucky is awesome. We want to win for them.”

BYU Quotes 


Head Coach Heather Olmstead


Opening statement … 
“Congrats to Nebraska on a great played match by them and advancing. Couldn’t be more proud of these girls and their fight.”

On losing the first set …
“We didn’t really think much of it other than we lost that set, because it has happened to us before. It ended up taking a little more out of us than we thought. Trying to bounce back with the energy, it just seemed like it wasn’t quite there for whatever reason. We never stopped fighting but we just couldn’t seem to get it going exactly like we had all season.”

On Nebraska’s balance… 
“Their setter did a great job of distributing the offense. Their senior outside with 12 kills and Amber and Katie with 12 and 12. Their numbers were just good tonight. I thought they did a good job. We were trying to figure out a little bit too late what they were trying to do offensively. But they have great hitters in all of the areas so it is kind of hard to figure it out. It just took us a little too long.”

#10, Amy Boswell, Jr., MB


On Nebraska’s blocking and if they did anything different vs. BYU … 
“Not that I noticed. I know I got blocked multiple times and that is on me. They are a great team. They are big and they are strong and I didn’t really notice anything different just because we were trying to focus on our side and what we are doing. But I hit right into them multiple times so that is on me.”

On if Nebraska’s blocking was different than they had seen this year… 
“I don’t know that it was necessarily different because we have a great conference that prepares us. They have big strong blocks. It was just not our night.”

#9, Alexa Gray, Sr., OH


On if they were able to attack Nebraska in a way that could be successful in the first set … 
“We were just trying to swing aggressively, trying see the court and swing away from their players. They adjusted in the other sets and I thought we did a good job of moving our screens around moving our shots.”

On the impact of the Nebraska back row … 
“Nebraska is good. Everyone adjusts. They probably just adjusted. They are a good digging team, they are scrappy.”

On Nebraska focusing on her passing ability … 
“I thought I passed pretty well. I was confident in my angles and just moving my feet so it wasn’t a burden on me. I was just trying to help my team get good passes for the setters.”