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Husker Volleyball wins in four at Purdue

Husker Volleyball wins in four at Purdue
Courtesy/NU Media Relations

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – The sixth-ranked Nebraska volleyball team tied its season high with 11 aces to capture its fifth straight win with a 3-1 (25-22, 25-20, 22-25, 25-17) win at No. 12 Purdue in front of a crowd of 2,415 at Holloway Gymnasium on Friday night. 

Lexi Sun had 13 kills and 11 digs and served three of the Huskers’ aces on the night, as NU improved to 21-6 overall and 12-5 in the Big Ten. Of Nebraska’s five straight wins, three have come against top-15 teams. 

Nicklin Hames also had three aces to go with her 13th straight double-double – 45 assists and 13 digs. Lauren Stivrins added 10 kills and four blocks, and Mikaela Foecke chipped in 10 kills, 11 digs and two aces. Callie Schwarzenbach had eight kills and four blocks while hitting .353. Jazz Sweet had seven kills, and Capri Davis had four.in her first career start. Kenzie Maloney had a team-high 20 digs and a pair of aces. Megan Miller had seven digs playing in her home state of Indiana. 

The Huskers had a narrow edge in hitting, .209 to .208. Purdue out-blocked the Huskers, 13-9, but NU more than made up for it with 10 more service aces than Purdue (11-1) and six fewer service errors (5-11).

Sherridan Atkinson led Purdue (21-7, 10-7 Big Ten) with 20 kills and 10 digs. Blake Mohler contributed 13 kills. 

Set 1: The first eight rallies were sideouts until a dump by Hames sparked a 5-0 Husker run that put them up 8-4. Foecke had an ace and a kill in that stretch, and Sun added a kill. Stivrins posted a kill and then stepped back and served an ace to make it 10-5. Schwarzenbach tacked on a pair of kills as the Huskers took a 13-7 lead, hitting .636 to that point. But Purdue scored a 10-2 run after a timeout to take a 17-15 lead. A kill by Sun and a solo block by Schwarzenbach tied the score at 18-18, and the Huskers regained a 20-19 lead after a pair of Purdue hitting errors. A tough serve by Hames led to a kill by Sweet on a free ball, and Hames served an ace on the next point for a 22-19 Husker lead. The 6-0 run continued with a block by Sweet and Schwarzenbach, followed by a kill by Sun for set point at 24-19. The Boilermakers made things interesting by scoring the next three points to get within 24-22, but Sun terminated her fifth kill for the 25-22 win. The Huskers were outhit .265 to .200 in the set and had two fewer kills, but NU won the battle at the service line with three aces and no errors, compared to no aces and two errors for Purdue. 

Set 2: The second set was the opposite of the first set with neither team able to string together more than two straight points until late in the set. Nebraska took a 16-14 lead after a kill by Schwarzenbach and a Purdue hitting error, but the Boilermakers responded with a kill and block by Atkinson to tie the set at 16-16, and Purdue went up 18-17 after back-to-back kills. A service error leveled the score again, and Foecke hit a shot off a Purdue block before Stivrins knocked a kill down at the net for a 20-18 Husker lead. Purdue then hit into the net and Sweet terminated before a Maloney ace for a 23-18 lead after a 6-0 run. The Huskers won 25-20 after Purdue served into the net.   

Set 3: Purdue took a 7-4 lead after a 5-1 run, and the Boilermakers pushed their lead to five at 11-6. Sun got another kill and Hames served an ace to get NU back within 11-8. Schwarzenbach and Stivrins combined for three kills to cut the deficit to 14-12, but Purdue answered and regained a five-point lead at 19-14. Davis posted her fourth kill and Sun served an ace to pull the Huskers within 20-17, and Sweet tallied a kill from the right side to make it 21-19. After a Purdue timeout, Foecke hit a shot high line and found the floor to cut it to one, 21-20. A service error ended the Huskers’ run, and Purdue led 23-21 on Atkinson’s 18th kill. Purdue committed a service error to make it 23-22, but an NU ball-handling error and a kill by Mohler gave Purdue the 25-22 win.  

Set 4: Sun, Sweet and Foecke posted consecutive kills, and Sun served back-to-back aces for a 6-2 Husker lead. Stivrins added a kill and then combined with Foecke for a block to push the lead to five, 9-4. Purdue scored three in a row to trim the Huskers’ lead to 9-7, but a kill and an ace by Foecke on back-to-back rallies restored a five-point Husker advantage at 13-8. The lead ballooned to seven at 16-9 after Sun and Schwarzenbach blocked consecutive Purdue attacks. Sun’s 12th and 13th kills made it 19-10 Big Red, and Nebraska finished off the victory with a 25-17 win in the fourth set. 

Up Next: Nebraska plays at Indiana on Saturday at 6 p.m. (CT).

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