The No. 11 Nebraska volleyball team bounced back from a difficult 3-0 sweep against No. 10 Ohio State to beat Big Ten foe Maryland 3-0.
Despite the sweep, head coach John Cook felt that the Huskers were not at their best, but did a great job staying with it and being able to come away with the victory.
“It wasn’t the prettiest match but our floor defense, our blocking and our serving did a nice job. Our offense wasn’t very good tonight except for our middles, we just were making too many errors tonight,” Cook said postgame. “So we have to clean that up, but overall I think it was a really good effort.”
The Huskers jumped out right away in commanding fashion despite their blunted offense, taking a 13-5 lead early in the first set. Nebraska never allowed the Terrapins to get close during the first set as it grabbed a double-digit lead of 20-10 before closing out the first set 25-11.
After Nebraska grabbed a 1-0 set lead, Maryland hit back and took a 10-6 lead before the Huskers closed the gap to 12-10. Then, the second set became a back-and-forth affair and eventually, the score was knotted up at 21 all before the Terrapins got on a 3-0 run to lead 24-21.
Maryland was on the doorstep of a set two win but, thanks to the especially noisy crowd in the Bob Devaney Sports Center, Nebraska roared back with a 5-0 run to come from behind and win set two.
Despite facing three consecutive set points, the Huskers felt confident throughout that they were in a position to come back despite having their backs against the wall. Cook pointed to the team’s ability to remain cool and confident even when a set isn’t going their way.
“I felt like if we could get to 24-23 we could get the crowd into it and put some pressure on Maryland and that’s exactly what happened.” Cook said. “They ended up taking a timeout at 24-24 and I felt like at that point we had a great chance.”
The third set was all Maryland early-on as it grabbed a quick 4-0 lead before the Huskers got things back into gear. Nebraska stormed back, but the Terrapins kept it close with the Huskers leading 14-10. After that point, the Huskerstook control of the set, going on a 4-0 run to stretch the lead to 18-10. Maryland made it as close as 23-17 before Nebraska finished off the Terrapins in a sweep 3-0.
Senior middle blocker Lauren Stivrins believed that the Huskers ability to beat the Terrapins at their own game was what factored into the sweep. After all, the Huskers registered 20 blocks compared to Maryland’s 16 despite the Terrapins leading the nation in blocks entering Friday’s match.
“Yeah, it feels good to have a night like this to have our work that we have been putting in come together for us,” Stivrins said postgame.
Nebraska finished the match with 43 kills along with 20 blocks and a hitting percentage of .170. Leading the way for the Huskers was junior outside hitter Madi Kubik who had 14 kills and a percentage of .098. Stivrins also put together a great match with seven kills and a killing percentage of .583.
Senior outside hitter Lexi Sun had six kills and a .107 hitting percentage, Freshman outside hitter Whitney Lauenstein had six kills of her own with a .043 hitting percentage and rounding out the top five for the Huskers was junior defensive specialist Kenzie Knuckles with five kills and an .833 hitting percentage.
The Huskers next matchup will be against Indiana on Sunday, Nov. 14th at 1 p.m. as they look to stay in the Big Ten championship hunt.