Kelsey Robinson gave Nebraska volleyball fans a reason to remember a routine Wednesday match against one of the worst teams in the Big Ten Conference.
Robinson sent some fans home smiling following her serving exhibition late in a dominating third set in the No. 13 ranked-Huskers 25-19, 25-21, 25-8 win against Iowa at the Devaney Sports Center.
Minnesota and Michigan State each lost Wednesday, so Nebraska (14-4, 7-2) is now alone in second place in the conference standings.
Robinson showed why she’s one of the most dangerous servers in the conference with three ace serves in the third set. Robinson served six straight points. She finally served one out to end the run, but at that point Nebraska led 22-5.
That’s when the crowd of 7,940 rewarded Robinson with a standing ovation. Robinson had three of the Huskers' six ace serves.
“Robinson definitely goes after it with her serve,” said Nebraska freshman outside hitter Kadie Rolfzen. “It was great to get the crowd into it, even though it was late in the game.”
Robinson kept Iowa’s passers guessing — and had them running into each other — by serving different ways.
Her first ace serve was a floater just over the net. The second of back-to-back aces was a power serve to the middle of the court. Her final ace just trickled over the net.
Robinson leads the Huskers with 19 ace serves this season, but says she’s struggled serving lately.
“We’ve been working on the roll-shot change-up serve for a while — for like the whole season — so it was nice to actually get the ace for once,” Robinson said.
And while you can tell Robinson likes to rip the big serve to the middle of the court, she also likes to pressure teams other ways.
“I like the short serve, just because I like being like, ‘Ha, ha.’ I like playing games with the other team,” Robinson said.
Rolfzen and Robinson led Nebraska with 11 kills apiece. Kadie Rolfzen's total came on 18 attempts with only two errors for a season-best .500 hitting percentage.
Amber Rolfzen added eight kills and middle blocker Cecilia Hall had seven kills on .583 hitting.
Robinson had a .250 hitting percentage, ending her string of eight straight matches of hitting above .300.
Nebraska coach John Cook said a match highlight was the energy of freshman libero Justine Wong-Orantes and freshman middle blocker Melanie Keil. Wong-Orantes was second on the team with 10 digs.
Keil started her first match in place of Meghan Haggerty. Cook said Haggerty only went through half of Tuesday’s practice due to soreness, and he decided to hold her out of the match.
Keil impressed Cook with some of the plays she made, and showed the experience that she comes with from playing high-level matches at home in Berlin. Keil had two kills on four attempts with no errors and shared the team high with four blocks.
“We kind of wanted to see what (Keil) could do, and you can tell she had some really good vision,” Cook said.
Kadie Rolfen is one of Keil’s roommates. Keil has been asking Rolfzen all season what she can do to get better, and Kadie Rolfzen was excited that Keil played well.
“I don’t want to go back to the dorm because she’s going to be like, ‘Oh my gosh’, but it’s going to be fun,” Kadie Rolfzen said.
Cook was pleased that Nebraska bounced back from a poor defensive outing in a loss against Purdue last week and held Iowa to .110 hitting with 11 blocks and 45 digs.
Senior outside hitter Rachael Bedell led Iowa (10-11, 1-8 Big Ten) with 14 kills.
Setter Mary Pollmiller had 33 assists, and helped Nebraska hit .388 for the match. She also had seven digs, four blocks, four kills and one ace serve.