Nebraska defeated Santa Clara 3-1 in the Ameritas Players Challenge, bringing the Huskers record to 4-1.
In the first set, Nebraska began an attack on Santa Clara that almost led to a Broncos point to give them the 8-9 lead, but outside hitter Sami Slaughter saved the play with a kill. Nebraska then went on a 8-1 run to put them well ahead of the Broncos. Nebraska earned an easy point after an attack error by Broncos’ outside hitter Michelle Shaffer, increasing the Huskers lead to 15-6.
Nebraska then went on an 8-3 run, before Kenzie Maloney gave Santa Clara a point with a service error. Nebraska continued to hold Santa Clara off, allowing only four more points before Lauren Stivrins ended the first set for Nebraska with a kill set up by Nicklin Hames.
Santa Clara couldn’t to keep up offensively in the first set. 27 attacks, but Nebraska committed 15 kills on 27 kills in the first set compared to Santa Clara, who only earned eight kills on 27 attacks . Outside hitter Jazz Sweet led the Huskers with four kills on nine attempts.
The Huskers kept the momentum going into the second set. Santa Clara took the first point of the set, but Nebraska bounced back quickly to take the next six points and hold on to the lead for the first half of the set. After points by Foecke, the Huskers led 8-6. But a play by Megan Miller and Sami Slaughter ended in a net violation, giving the Broncos a point. Then Santa Clara earned a point off an attack error by Stivrins to even the score 8-8.
Broncos’ setter Liiana Light followed with a net violation to give Nebraska the lead again.Foecke led Nebraska on a 3-2 run following the error. Foecke landed the Huskers a service ace to increase their lead to five points. But three attack errors by Nebraska gave Santa Clara easy points to even the score again and force a Nebraska timeout.
Santa Clara then went on a 4-1 run to take the lead and force another Nebraska timeout. With the Broncos now leading 20-16, the Huskers tried to rally but the Broncos were able to close the second set 25-21.
Nebraska came out strong with the 9-2 run to start the third set. The Huskers and Broncos went back and forth on points until Nebraska took three consecutive points to open up a nine point lead. Freshmen Capri Davis, Nicklin Hames and Callie Schwarzenbach got their fair share of playing time in the third set, accounting for 10 of the 12 Huskers’ kills in set.
The Broncos earned one more point before allowing the Huskers to take the next four points, forcing Santa Clara to take a timeout as the Huskers led 19-7. The Broncos were unable to regroup and rally in the third set, as Nebraska only allowed two points before ending the third set 25-9, putting the Huskers ahead 2-1 in the game.
The Huskers continued to dominated heading into the final set, leading 8-1 before Davis spiked the ball out of bounds to give Santa Clara their second point of the set. The Huskers distanced themselves from the Broncos with a big kill by Foecke, giving Nebraska a 14-7 lead against the Broncos.Nebraska then went on a 9-6 run, but Santa Clara answered back with three more attacks to force a Nebraska timeout.
Nebraska came out of the timeout and fought for the last two points to end the fourth set and take home the win 3-1. Nebraska dominated the game with a hitting percentage of 66 percent. Foecke and Sweet led the game with 14 and 10 kills, respectively.
Foecke was awarded MVP of the Ameritas Tournament along with Stivrins and Kenzie Maloney being recognized as Distinguished Players.
“I thought we did some really good things over the course of two days,” head coach John Cook said. “We established a great serving mindset. We are really pressuring our serves and that is something we wanted to get done this weekend.”
The Huskers head to Omaha to take Creighton University on Thursday, Sept. 6 at 7 p.m. in the CHI Health Center.