Nov. 24, 2012
Site: Lincoln, Neb. (NU Coliseum)
Score: No. 10 Nebraska 3, Northwestern 1
Records: NU (16-15, 5-15 Big Ten), Nebraska (23-6, 15-5 Big Ten)
Next NU Event: Sunday, Nov. 25 -- NCAA Tournament Selection Show (ESPNU), 3 p.m. CT
LINCOLN, Neb. -- Northwestern gave No. 10 Nebraska its best shot in the regular season finale for both teams, but in the end the Huskers had too much firepower to overcome as they won the Big Ten battle Saturday night, 3-1 (25-12, 25-22, 20-25, 25-21).
The Wildcats weathered an early storm when Nebraska charged out of the gate by netting the first four points of the match. Northwestern climbed to within a single point on three occasions, including at 14-13, but the Huskers unleashed an 11-2 run to finish the first frame to win by a score of 25-15.
The 'Cats opened the scoring in the second set on a kill from Stephanie Holthus, but Nebraska tallied the next four consecutive points to take a lead that it ultimately would not relinquish.
The resiliency of the Wildcats was in full effect as the Huskers attempted to close the set. Nebraska led 24-17 following a service error on Northwestern, but the 'Cats then fought off five set points to roar all the way to within two, 24-22. Savannah Paffen notched a pair of kills in the rally and Monica McGreal picked up one, as well.
Nebraska's Hannah Werth finally ended Northwestern's run with her 11th kill of the match. The Huskers survived, 25-22, to take a 2-0 lead at the break.
During the second set Northwestern's senior libero Julie Chin recorded her seventh dig of the night, the 1,410th of her career, allowing her to pass Jennifer Jostes ('88-'91) and assume possession of fourth place on the school's all-time list in that category.
The Wildcats used the positive momentum gained during the latter stages of the second set to come out firing in the third frame. Northwestern collected a 13-11 lead that prompted Nebraska to use a timeout.
Moments later Hannah Crippen and Katie Dutchman teamed up for a block to take an 18-13 lead, Northwestern's largest of the match. Nebraska would come no closer than two points the rest of the way as the Wildcats went on to win the third set, 25-20.
McGreal put down a match-best six kills in the third set alone to pace Northwestern's attack. Holthus also added five for the 'Cats in the third.
The Wildcats continued to battle the nation's 10th-ranked team into the fourth set. Nebraska scored first, but Northwestern persisted early on. A kill from Holthus shrunk the Husker lead to a point at 8-7, but the home team then went on a 6-2 run to create a 14-9 cushion just past the midway point. A 5-1 run by Northwestern, however, negated that advantage and got the visitors to within one, 15-14. That was as close as the Wildcats would come Saturday as Nebraska picked up steam and fought off several more ferocious comeback efforts by the 'Cats to win the fourth by a score of 25-21 to take the match, 3-1.
During the fourth set, Holthus earned her ninth dig of the match, which was also the 1,000th of her career in a Northwestern uniform. The Burlington, Ill., native became the 15th player in program annals to achieve the feat, joining teammates Chin and Shalter. Holthus finished with 12 digs on the night and has 1,003 for her career.
Holthus led all players with 18 kills in the match, while adding her 12 digs and a pair of blocks. Chin and Shalter also finished with 12 digs, while Shalter handed out 43 assists to lead the 'Cats.
McGreal finished the night with 10 kills for NU. It was the first time the sophomore put down double-digit kills since a win over Indiana on Sept. 29 this year.
The Wildcats will wait to learn their postseason fate on Sunday afternoon. The 2012 NCAA Tournament Selection Show is scheduled to air on Nov. 25 at 3 p.m. CT on ESPNU. Please check your local listings for channel information.
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