No. 6 Nebraska volleyball swept the Iowa Hawkeyes on the road on Wednesday night. The victory is the Huskers third in a row and improves the team’s record improve to 19-6 (10-5 Big Ten). Nebraska volleyball is now 29-0 all time against the Hawkeyes.
Senior outside hitter Mikaela Foecke led all players with 13 kills. Sophomore hitter Lexi Sun earned a double double with a dozen kills and 11 digs while hitting .400 in the match. Sophomore middle blocker Lauren Stivrins finished with seven kills and four blocks and sophomore outside hitter Jazz Sweet earned five kills.
The Huskers offense hit .367 in the match while Nebraska’s Big Ten-leading defense held Iowa to just .070 hitting on the night, including -.100 in the third set. This is the second match in a row Nebraska has held an opponent to under .100 hitting.
Iowa kept things close early on in the first, but were overpowered by Nebraska in the end. A pair of kills from Iowa’s senior outside hitter Taylor Louis helped get the Hawkeyes even at two after Nebraska pulled out to a 2-0 lead early.
The teams then traded 3-0 scoring runs to find themselves tied at five. Neither team was able to gain any separation as they traded individual points back and forth from there. Tied at seven, Foecke scored her 1,500th career kill to put the Huskers up 8-7, but Iowa tied it back up on the next point.
On the next play, the Hawkeyes took their first lead at 9-8 on a kill by junior outside hitter Meghan Buzzerio. Buzzerio gave the point right back to the Huskers as she errored on her next attack to tie the match at nine.
Iowa gained another slight advantage at 12-11, but a 3-0 run by the Huskers gave them the lead at 14-12. Each team added one more point before Nebraska held a 15-13 lead at the media timeout.
The Huskers switched into another gear out of the pause in play, scoring five straight points to take a 20-13 lead in the opening set. Iowa’s offense was unable to gain any traction and failed to score a kill after the timeout. The Hawkeyes only gained two points after the media timeout, and they both came on service errors by Nebraska.
The Huskers closed the the first set on a 10-2 run to win the first set 25-15. Foecke led the way with five kills, while the Huskers defense held Iowa to just .022 hitting in the first set.
Nebraska would have to come from behind to win the second set. The Huskers held an early 9-7 lead as Foecke, Sun, Stivrins and Sweet all had kills in the opening stages of the set. Iowa fought back and went on a 4-0 scoring run to put the Huskers in an 11-9 hole.
The Huskers tied the set back up at 12, but the Hawkeyes rattled off five straight points to take a 17-12 lead and looked to tie the match 1-1.
Nebraska called a timeout to regroup and earned two points to trim the lead to 17-14. Iowa countered with two straight of their own, however, and put the Huskers right back down by five at 19-14.
Facing a large deficit late in the set, the Huskers scored four in a row, including a kill and service ace by Foecke to climb to within one point of the Hawkeyes at 19-18. Iowa scored another kill to take a 20-18 lead, but then Sun took over. The sophomore scored four kills in a row as part of a 5-0 Husker scoring run to help Nebraska take a 23-20 lead.
Sun also scored the set-clinching kill to give Nebraska a 25-22 win in the second set. At this point in the match, Sun had nine kills and no errors as the Huskers sat just one set away from a sweep.
The Hawkeyes put up little resistance as the Huskers got the brooms out in the third set. Up 5-4 early, Nebraska went on a 4-0 scoring run to take a 9-4 lead. They only saw that lead balloon to eight at 15-7 by the media timeout.
Iowa earned a kill immediately out of the timeout, but the Huskers scored seven points in a row to take a commanding 22-8 lead. A kill by Foecke eventually put the set away 25-13 in the Huskers favor.
Nebraska continues its road trip with a date with No. 15 Michigan on Saturday.