SDSU Volleyball falls to top seed Nebraska at UNL

Nick Hartley

Nick Hartley

The Jackrabbit volleyball team faced its biggest challenge yet this season when it faced five-time All-American University of Nebraska Cornhusker players in the first round of the NCAA National Championship on Nov. 30.

The Cornhusker women-the No. 2 team in the country-entered the game as the defending national champions and, in spite of some hard play by the Jackrabbits, went away with the first-round victory.

This is the first year the Jackrabbit volleyball team could qualify for the national championship, but the combination of Cornhusker size and their well-placed balls led to a quick downfall for the Jackrabbits during 75 minutes of fast action.

“It is another level. It is not only another level, it is the size,” said Head Coach Andrew Palileo. “You have atmosphere, you have the size, you have great athletes. There are just a lot of things that they are at a lot higher level than what we are at right now. We got a taste of what it is like playing against a nationally-ranked team like this.”

In the historic confines of the Nebraska Coliseum, a crowd of 4,189 watched SDSU fall 13-30, 14-30 and 13-30.

The Jacks failed to get anything started either offensively or defensively. Amy Anderson’s block brigade was shut down, quieting the Jackrabbits defensive effort. The easy plays did not come and errors (44) outnumbered total points (40). The women struggled to hit the ball, ending with a negative hitting percentage (-.052), and had no one with double digits for kills.

“I think the biggest difference is they struggled with our serving, and many teams do,” said Nebraska Coach John Cook. “Until you see some of that serving, they’d have nobody who could replicate what they saw tonight in their practice. I thought that was a major factor.”

The 2007 Jackrabbits have been a memorable group breaking or tying 23 team or individual records. The Jacks finished the season at 25-11.

Four seniors ended their seasons and SDSU volleyball careers Nov. 30. Anderson exited as the single-season and all-time leader in block assists and finishes 11th on the SDSU all-time kills list with 1,195.

Kristina Martin finished her career with 1,765 kills and is only one of five SDSU athletes to score at least 1,000 digs and kills. She holds a record 33 kills in a four-game match and 36 kills in a five-game match.

Samantha Pearson owns the records for career digs with 1,929, single season digs, the single-match records for digs in a three-, four- and five-game match and she finished 10th on the SDSU career service ace leaders with 128.

Mackenzie Osadchuk was a go-to player for the Jacks and could come off the bench to play anywhere on the court.

“I think matches like this and experiences like this definitely are program builders. It’s a series of steps, and they took a huge step by being here tonight. This will build great dividends for them down the road,” Cook said.

#1.883013:2890950481.jpg:Angner_EricLandwehr.jpg:Mackenzie Angner spikes the ball against the Nebraska Cornhuskers during tournament play in Lincoln on Nov. 30.:Eric Landwehr/University Relations