LINCOLN – It takes a lot for the Nebraska team to come up with four straight final four appearances to look youthful and inexperienced, but Stanford did it Wednesday night.
The Cardinal, which includes five senior starters, uses his big match experience gained from winning national championships in 2016 and 2018 and playing four games against top-10 opponents this season to earn a 25- 21
Coach John Cook said his Haskers showed flashes of high-level play, but inexperience made them make unforeseen mistakes.
"The biggest difference is that Stanford plays consistently at a high level and gives you nothing, and we're not there yet," Cook said. "I thought it was probably the best volleyball of the whole year. We didn't get the result we wanted, but Stanford is really good. ”
In front of an arena record of 8,632 in downtown Devney, second-ranked Stanford remained calm to start the match.
"We're used to this environment so far," said Stanford coach Kevin Hambley. "Plus, have our adults played in how many big games? They saw a lot. ”
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Midway through the first set, NU hit .74 and held 16-9, but then the offense comes to life to hit .500 the rest of the way. Freshman Madi Kubik, who finished the set with five kills, caused a turnaround.
She began to use the Stanford block to her advantage, striking it beyond the limits. For the match, Kubik recorded the best teams with 14 hits, but she also committed 10 errors with 46 hits.
Other Husker strikers followed Kubik's lead as NU reduced its deficit to 21-19. However, two-time player of the year Catherine Plummer, who finished with 19 strokes, ended the rally with three strokes down the stretch.
Nebraska was more stable in the second set. After Stanford led 16-15, NU ran away with four straight points to take the lead. The Cardinal tied it 22-22 before Lauren Stevens connected on his fourth set of kills. The Huskies caught the game when Stanford hit the ball in the aerial of the last two rallies.
After the interlude, the cardinal returned to his staples: solid protection and good passing. In each of the last two sets, Stanford led 9-8, but used 8-2 in the third and 10-1 in the fourth to take control.
"I get the feeling we continue after it, but sometimes we let a series of points break away from us," said Nebraska sophomore Nicklin Hames. "Generally, we have to be much more consistent with our serving and passing, with everything we do. "
Stanford's defense supported the Husker attack at the end of most of the last half of the game. Morgan Hentz led the Cardinal with 22 digs and at first glance took every attack at the top of Nebraska.  The Haskers recorded 19 hits on 72 swings in the last two sets, and they also finished Stanford hit .294 for the game.
Lexi Sun, Jazz Sweet and Stivrins each got nine hits. Sophomore Megan Miller, who Cook said sparked in the second set, had both aces of nebraska and 13 digs.
Hames, who added a team of 16 digs, said the Huskies can learn from losing and learn to play at a higher level by focusing more on the game of Big Ten.
"I'm glad we played them in the preseason because they will be top teams," Hames said. "Knowing that we set them up and we can compete at that level is really great. I am proud of how hard we have struggled and know that we can reach this level consistently. “
Stanford (6-1) ………….. 25 22 25 25
In Nebraska (7-1) … …. 21 25 17 16
Stanford (kills-aces-blocks): Gray 4-0-0, Plummer 19-4-0, Campbell 6-0-0, Fitzmorris 8-0-0 , Gates 10-0-1, Hentz 0-1-0, Kipp 11-0-0, Formico 0-2-0. Overall 58-7-23.
NU: Hames 3-0-0, Kubik 10-0-0, Sun 9-0-1, Sweet 9-0-0, Schwarzenbach 1-0-1, Stivrins 9-0-0, Miller 0- 2-0, Davis 3-0-0. Total 48-2-12.
Set Sisters: Stanford 56 (Gray 50, Henz 4, Formico 2), Nebraska 46 (Hames 40, Kokal 3, Cube 1, Stevens 1, Drainwick 1).