Penn State saw its six-match winning streak come to an end against Nebraska Friday night at Rec Hall.
The Nittany Lions looked out of sorts in the first set, never really finding a rhythm and falling 25-16.
The blue and white nearly let the second set slip away, but a late run propelled them to a 25-22 win.
The third set was a back-and-forth affair, with Penn State utilizing a push to tie, but the Nittany Lions ultimately surrendered the final two points to the Cornhuskers in a 25-23 defeat.
Wild momentum swings came to define the fourth set, with Nebraska eventually pulling away for a 25-17 victory, taking the match in four sets.
Here are three takeaways from the Nittany Lions’ four-set defeat.
Nittany Lions rebound, couldn’t capitalize
As it did Sept. 26 against Maryland, Penn State fell behind early with a first set loss Friday.
Although the blue and white eventually won that match against the Terrapins, they were able to respond right away against Nebraska with a tight second-set victory.
The Nittany Lions had tied the match and momentum seemed to be on their side, but they couldn’t recapture their second-set magic in either of the next two frames.
Coming into Friday’s contest, freshman outside hitter Anjelina Starck had recorded just one kill in four matches.
Starck easily surpassed that total against the Cornhuskers, making the most of extended playing time with 10 kills, 11 digs and a solo block.
With senior outside hitter Erika Pritchard out for her third consecutive match, the Nittany Lions needed production from other contributors at that position, and they got it from the Colorado Springs native.
Struggle against ranked opponents
Penn State’s loss to Nebraska was its fourth of the season — all four have come at the hands of ranked teams.
The Nittany Lions are just 1-4 against AVCA top-25 opponents, with their lone win coming on Sept. 26 against then-No.3 Ohio State.
While the blue and white have taken care of business in matches it’s been favored to win, it hasn’t seen the results it wants against teams of similar caliber.
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