LINCOLN, Neb. – The No. 5 Nebraska volleyball team’s five-match win streak came to an end with a 3-2 (25-23, 23-25, 17-25, 25-20, 8-15) loss at No. 20 Purdue at Holloway Gymnasium on Saturday night.
The Huskers (16-3, 8-2 Big Ten) rallied from a nine-point deficit in set one to win 25-23, but then dropped sets two and three. The Huskers responded in set four with a 25-20 win, but Purdue (14-5, 6-4 Big Ten) took control in the fifth and final set after opening up a 7-1 lead.
Nicklin Hames had 54 assists to lead the Big Red to a .210 hitting percentage. The Boilermakers hit .250 and had a 16-5 advantage in blocks. It was the most blocks by a Husker opponent since 2013. Purdue also out-aced Nebraska 11-7. The Huskers had a 71-63 edge in digs and had 10 more kills, 68-58.
Caitlyn Newton had 17 kills and five blocks for the Boilermakers. Blake Mohler had 11 kills and nine blocks.
The Huskers return home for three straight matches at the Devaney Center, beginning next Friday against Rutgers at 7 p.m.
Set 1: Purdue strung together a 3-0 run to take a 7-4 lead, and the Boilermakers went up 11-5 after three straight Husker hitting errors. Another run put Purdue on top, 17-8, as the Huskers hit -.111 to that point. Nebraska trailed 21-12 before an 8-0 run, sparked by two kills and an ace from Kubik. Stivrins terminated back-to-back kills to cut it to 21-19, and then some great digs by the Husker back row led to a Sun kill that cut it to 21-20. After a service error ended the run, Stivrins added her third kill, but Purdue remained ahead 23-21 after a kill by Emma Ellis. A Purdue hitting error and a kill by Sweet tied the set at 23-23, and Hames served an ace for set point before Sun finished the improbable comeback. The Huskers finished the set on a 13-2 and ended the set hitting .190 to .118 for Purdue.
Set 2: Back-to-back aces by Sun put the Huskers up 4-1, but Purdue answered with a 10-1 run to go up 11-5. Kubik and Sun posted kills to cut it to 13-9, and a block by Schwarzenbach and Sweet kept NU down by three, 15-12. A kill by Stivrins brought the Huskers within two at 17-15, and Stivrins combined with Kubik for a block that cut it to 18-17 and forced a Purdue timeout. The Boilermakers answered with a 3-0 run after the break to go up 21-17. NU trailed 22-18 when Stivrins terminated a kill to set off a 5-0 run. Sun tallied back-to-back kills before Hayley Densberger served an ace, and a solo block by Sun gave Nebraska the 23-22 lead. But Purdue answered with the final three points to take the set, 25-23.
Set 3: Purdue got off to a strong start once again, taking a 10-4 lead. Purdue led 11-5 when Stivrins, Sun and Schwarzenbach pounded kills to get NU within 11-8. But Purdue rebuilt the lead to 15-8 after a 4-0 spurt, and the Boilermakers led 19-11 as the Huskers took a timeout. NU could get no closer than five as Purdue went on to win the set, 25-17, hitting .419 in the set.
Set 4: The Huskers built an 8-4 lead after Sweet terminated an out-of-system set. Kubik and Sun added kills to make it 12-8, and Nebraska led 16-11 after a kill by Schwarzenbach. Purdue chipped away though and clawed back within 19-18, forcing a Husker timeout. Schwarzenbach’s eighth kill made it 21-19, and a block by Sweet and Schwarzenbach put NU up three, 22-19. The Boilermakers committed a hitting error after a timeout for a 23-19 Husker lead, and Sun added a kill for set point at 24-20. Sweet hammered an overpass to force a fifth set.
Set 5: Purdue took control on the serve of Marissa Hornung, claiming a 7-1 lead after she served two aces. Stivrins put away a pair of kills to help the Huskers get within 7-4. Purdue went back up 9-4, but an ace by Kubik got NU back within three, 9-6. The Boilermakers scored the next three points to go up 12-6, and Purdue ended Nebraska’s five-match win streak, 15-8.