Weekend Sport recap


The Nebraska women's bowling team competed in its third competition of the season at the Prairie View Invitational at Prairie View A&M from Jan. 29 through Jan. 31. 

On Friday, the first day of competition, the Huskers fell 892-966 to Prairie View A&M in their first matchup. Nonetheless, after switching up their lineup for their second match against No. 10 Youngstown State, they bounced back to win 1,029-888. Redshirt freshman Kayla Verstraete made her debut in the second match as well. 

In that match, the Huskers took a 2-0 before falling in the third game. However, Nebraska closed out the win with a pair of victories (214-186, 207-187).

For its third match. Nebraska took on No. 9 Louisiana Tech, whom it fell to in the first four matches (175-187, 180-207, 180-199, 170-236). It ended up losing the match overall 897-992, but turned around the final game, winning 192-163. 

Heading into the fourth match of the day against third-ranked Arkansas State, the Huskers again changed up their lineup with sophomore Gwen Maeha, sophomore Kendyl Hofmeister, Verstraete, junior Cassidy Ray and sophomore Crystal Elliott. Nebraska fell 967-1,020 after losing four of five games. 

In their final match against No. 5 Sam Houston State, the Huskers fell 893-1,069 after winning the first game 192-162 and losing the last four. Nebraska finished the day in sixth place out of 10 teams.

Day two of the tournament started with a traditional style positional round matchup. In both their first and second match the bowlers, led by sophomore Maeha, beat No. 7 Stephen F. Austin State University 898-858 and 1,054-985. 

Following these two victories, NU fell to top-ranked McKendree University 962-982, their only loss of the day. Verstraete was the top scorer for NU in this matchup with 208 pins. 

The next matchup for Nebraska on day two was against Tulane, where the Huskers earned their third victory of the day, 936-911. Maeha again led the team by scoring 213 in total. 

The Huskers earned their fourth victory of the day in the final matchup against Texas Southern, 910-781. Elliott was the top bowler for Nebraska in the final matchup with 197 pins followed by Maeha (187), Ray (186), Verstraete (175) and Michelle Guarro (165). 

At the end of day two, the Nebraska women moved up to fifth place. 

For day three, Nebraska decided to stay with the same lineup for the entire day instead of changing it up, as it had done the previous two days. This lineup included Maeha, Verstraete, Ray, Elliott and sophomore Amara Smith Speights. 

The Huskers beat No. 9 Louisiana Tech in their first matchup 1124-923. They won 4-2, which moved them on in the bracket. Matched against No. 10 Youngstown State, the Huskers won the last two games 178-153 and 188-142 to take the 1,053-1,022 victory. 

In the third and final matchup against No. 5 Sam Houston State, Nebraska again won 987-875 to finish in third place. 

The Huskers closed the invitational by winning seven of their final eight matches.

Nebraska’s next matchup will be at the Mid-Winter Invitational in Jonesboro, Arkansas, from Feb. 19-21. 

Women’s Gymnastics 

The Nebraska women’s gymnastics team finished third in a tri-meet against Ohio State and Michigan State on Saturday afternoon. Senior Anika Dujakovich and junior Kaitlyn Higgins combined to claim a share of three event titles to lead the Huskers, whose team score of 194.725 finished just behind Ohio State’s 195.325. Michigan State won the tri-meet overall with a score of 195.775.

The Huskers opened the meet on the uneven bars, where junior Kynsee Roby and sophomore Kathryn Thaler both scored a 9.825. Freshmen Kinsey Davis and Chloé Lorange followed with scores of 9.8 and 9.75, respectively. Sophomore Clara Colombo posted a score of 9.475 to round out the lineup. 

Nebraska, which ended the opening rotation in second place, faltered on the balance beam in the second rotation, despite four gymnasts scoring a 9.8 or better. Thaler scored a 9.85, while Roby and Higgins both posted a 9.825 and Davis tallied a 9.8, but the Huskers had to count Lorange’s score of 9.15 after senior Makayla Curtis scored a 9.025. The Huskers’ team score of 48.45 dropped them into third place halfway through the meet. 

The Huskers turned in their best performance of the meet in the third rotation, posting a team score of 48.925 on the floor exercise. Dujakovich and Higgins both scored a 9.875 to share the event title, while Curtis and Lorange both bounced back after a tough second rotation with scores of 9.85 and 9.775, respectively. Freshman Danielle Press rounded out the Husker lineup with a score of 9.55. 

In the final rotation, Nebraska recorded a team score of 48.675 on vault. Dujakovich recorded a 9.825 to claim a share of the event title, while Davis posted a score of 9.8 and sophomore Kylie Piringer followed with a 9.75.  Curtis scored a 9.675 and Lorange rounded out the lineup with a 9.625. 

The Huskers dropped to 1-3 on the year with the loss. Nebraska returns to action on Feb. 7, when it hosts Rutgers at the Bob Devaney Sports Center. The meet is scheduled to begin at 4 p.m. and will be broadcast on BTN+. 

Track and Field

Nebraska track and field athletes turned in strong performances at the Illini B1G Multi-Meet over the weekend. Senior Zach Podraza entered Saturday’s action in third place in the heptathlon, but top-three performances in each of the day’s three events propelled Podraza to the event win. The 221-point victory marked his first career heptathlon win. Sophomore Kolby Heinerikson also notched a top-five finish in the event, placing fifth with 4,138 points. 

Additionally, four Husker women recorded top-15 finishes in the pentathlon. Junior Johanna Ilves won the long jump en route to a third-place finish in the event, while sophomore Jamieson Battistella placed ninth. Sophomore Kate Kadrmas placed 10th and freshman Kerrigan Myers narrowly missed out on a top-10 finish, ending the meet in 11th place. 

The Huskers return to action for the final home meet of the indoor season on Feb. 6, when they compete in the Husker Quad against Illinois, Iowa and Minnesota.

Men’s Tennis

The Nebraska men’s tennis team kicked off its 2021 season on Thursday, competing in the Badger Invitational. The tournament ran from Thursday through Sunday.

Nebraska opened the competition facing off against Wisconsin in doubles play on Thursday. Freshman Nic Wiedenhorn made his Husker debut playing alongside junior Victor Moreno Lozano, but fell short against Wisconsin’s duo of junior Lenard Soha and sophomore Scott Sulley 6-2. The Huskers’ sophomore duo of Albert Sprlak-Puk and Shunya Maruyama also fell via a score of 6-1 against junior Jared Pratt and sophomore Robin Parts. Nebraska junior Patrick Cacciatore and sophomore Chester Wickwire rounded out the day losing to sophomore Gabriel Huber and freshman Tim Dzhurinskiy 6-2. 

The Huskers returned to the court looking to bounce back on Friday as they again took on Wisconsin in singles play and Minnesota in doubles play. Nebraska started well with Moreno Lozano and Wiedenhorn both claiming victories in their opening sets before they both narrowly fell in the final set. Moreno Lozano lost to Soha 6-4, 4-6 and 3-6 and Wiedenhorn lost 7-6(7-5), 4-6 and 2-6 against Wisconsin freshman Mihailo Popovic. Wickwire was swept by Badger senior Jesper Freimuth 6-3, 7-5. Nebraska junior transfer Brandon Perez, Sprlak-Puk, Maruyama and Cacciatore were all sweps by Wisconsin opponents.

Friday afternoon, Nebraska took the courts again for its group of doubles matches against Minnesota. Sprlak-Puk and Perez provided a strong start for the Huskers, claiming a 6-4 victory over sophomore Siim Troost and senior Vlad Lobak. Maruyama and Wiedenhorn followed up with a victory of their own over the Gopher tandem of sophomore Daniel Martin and junior Sebastian Vile via a score of 6-3. The Huskers nearly ended the day sweeping their doubles matches, but Cacciatore and Moreno Lozano fell in a tiebreaker, 6-7(4-6), to Minnesota senior Jackson Allen and sophomore Bodin Zarkovic.

On Saturday, the Huskers took on Minnesota in singles play and Indiana in doubles play. Nebraska continued its positive momentum from Friday’s doubles-play triumph over the Golden Gophers, winning five of seven singles matchups against Minnesota.

Moreno Lozano kicked off the day taking down Allen in a close three-set series of 6-4, 5-7 and 6-0. Meanwhile, Perez won his first ever singles match as a Husker in a tight affair against Troost 6-3, 5-7 and 7-6(7-4). Sprlak-Puk claimed a victory over redshirt sophomore Dylan Heap 6-4, 2-6 and 6-3. Wickwire took down senior Kalen Dobbs 3-6, 6-4 and 7-5 with Cacciatore rounding out the day with a sweep against Zarkovic 7-6(7-4) and 6-3.

The Huskers finished their Saturday with three doubles matches against Indiana. Unfortunately for Nebraska, it dropped all three matches. The duo of Sprlak-Puk and Perez narrowly fell to the Hoosier duo of junior Patrick Fletchall and senior Andrew Redding 7-6 (7-2), while the duos of Cacciatore and Wiedenhorn and Wickwire and Maruyama both fell 6-2 to round out the day for the Huskers.

Nebraska finished the Badger Invitational on Sunday with singles play against Indiana. The Hoosiers, who were ranked in the top 45 of the ITA rankings when the 2020 season shut down last spring, handled the Huskers comfortably to close out the tournament. Cacciatore and Maruyama were the lone Huskers to pick up a singles victory, as Nebraska’s other five athletes fell to Indiana opponents.

The Badger Invitational is currently the only event on the team’s 2021 schedule, and the Huskers now await the release of the remainder of the schedule by the Big Ten.