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Volleyball: Northwestern falls to Nebraska, Iowa in straight sets

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Volleyball: Northwestern falls to Nebraska, Iowa in straight sets

Symone Abbott spikes the ball. The senior outside hitter and the Wildcats lost twice over the weekend.

Symone Abbott spikes the ball. The senior outside hitter and the Wildcats lost twice over the weekend.

Daily file photo by Katie Pach

Symone Abbott spikes the ball. The senior outside hitter and the Wildcats lost twice over the weekend.

Daily file photo by Katie Pach

Daily file photo by Katie Pach

Symone Abbott spikes the ball. The senior outside hitter and the Wildcats lost twice over the weekend.

Peter Warren, Reporter

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Volleyball


Following an inconsistent showing last weekend, Northwestern needed more consistency and success during its road trip west to Nebraska and Iowa.

While the team did exhibit cohesiveness, the Wildcats (12-10, 2-8 in Big Ten) were still swept in both their contests this weekend.

First, NU travelled to Lincoln to play a No. 7 Nebraska (16-4, 9-1) team riding a 21-game home winning streak. The Cats became the Cornhuskers’ 22nd victim as they fell in three sets 25-20, 25-15, 25-12 in front of more than 8,000 people.

NU came out strong in the first set against the Cornhuskers. The Cats jumped out to an 18-15 lead, but Nebraska bounced back. The Cornhuskers scored 10 of 12 points to swing the lead in their direction and win the set with ease.

In the second and third sets, Nebraska jumped out to quick leads that were too much for the Cats to handle. After falling behind 5-0 in the second set, NU could only trim the deficit to three points. In the third set, the Cornhuskers went up 6-0 and the Cats could only close the gap to four.

“I would like to see the team … keep the same energy, same momentum that we have in the first set throughout the game,” freshman middle hitter Alana Walker said. “We always start off strong. If we start off strong every set, we will put ourselves in a better position.”

Saturday, NU also fell to Iowa (15-8, 4-6) in straight sets 25-23, 25-21, 25-18. In the first set, each team went back-and-forth in a game of runs as the Hawkeyes had one 6-point swing and the Cats had two 6-point swings. Iowa had the final run at the end, scoring three out of four points to secure the set.

The second set had a similar ending, as NU cut the lead to 21-20 before the Hawkeyes scored four of five points to win the set.

“We have to figure out a way for this group to finish or avoid those point runs,” coach Shane Davis said.

Against Nebraska, the Cats played 12 different players, the most since Aug. 26.
Sophomore middle blocker Olivia Viscuso, who played for the first time since Sept. 16, had three kills and a team-high .429 hitting percentage during Friday’s match. Her performance off the bench impressed Davis and her fellow teammates.

“Olivia did a great job coming in against Nebraska and putting up some good numbers and earned the right to start the next night as well,” Davis said.

Senior outside hitter Symone Abbott, who’s currently first in the Big Ten with 4.34 kills per set, continued her ascension in the NU record books as her nine kills Friday and 13 kills Saturday moved her into fourth place in all-time career kills.

Despite the Cats’ struggles, Abbott said she was encouraged by the team’s cohesiveness during the weekend. She said “everyone was on the same page” this weekend.

“I like how we just stuck together the entire time, no matter what came at us or what adversity would hit us, we stayed as a team,” Abbott said. “We worked really hard and that doesn’t really show in the outcome.”

Email: peterwarren2021@u.northwestern.edu

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