The No. 3 ranked Nebraska volleyball earned their 11th straight win against No. 7 Illinois in Champaign, Illinois. The Huskers handed the Fightin’ Illini their first loss of the season in the 3-1 win over Illinois.
Both teams went into this game with undefeated Big Ten records.
Points went back and forth between the two teams to open the first set. A kill by senior outside hitter Mikaela Foecke brought the score to 11-10 and kick-started a 9-1 run by the Huskers. But Illinois ended the almost perfect run with a kill by Jordyn Poulter. The Huskers allowed 3 more points before middle blocker Lauren Stivrins ended the first set with a kill, 25-15.
Illinois held tight with Nebraska in the second set. Illinois’s outside hitter Jacqueline Quade had two back-to-back kills to get Illinois on the board to open the set. A kill by outside hitter Lexi Sun brought Nebraska some momentum as they extended their lead to 10-7. Illinois quickly closed the lead with kills from outside hitter Megan Cooney, middle blocker Ali Bastianelli and Quade, bringing the score to 13-13.
Illinois’s Beth Prince started a 5-3 run with a kill to extend the lead. Nebraska tried to tighten the gap with kills from middle blocker Callie Schwarzenbach and outside hitter Jazz Sweet, but it was not enough as Illinois took the second set 25-19.
Sun started the third set started strong with a kill followed by a block to earn the first two points of the set. Nebraska then went on a 5-2 run to take the lead early, with kills by Schwarzenbach and Stivrins, and a service ace by libero Kenzie Maloney. Nebraska’s quick run forced an Illinois timeout, but it gave the Illini time to catch their breath and come out to make a few good offensive plays and bring the score to 7-4.
Nebraska continued to lead the rest of the set. A kill by Stivrins brought the score to 19-15 to close in on the end of the set. Focke hit a service ace and a kill and Stivrins took the game point with a kill, ending the third set 25-17.
The Huskers continued their momentum into the fourth set as they secured an early lead with some impacting offensive plays. Attack errors from Illinois gave Nebraska easy points, and with kills from Schwarzenbach and Sun Nebraska continue to lead 9-4. Illinois stuck close with the Huskers, allowing no more than a four-point lead as they moved toward the end of the set.
Two kills by Foecke and Sun19-15 for Nebraska, and forced to take a timeout. After the break, a kill by Quade moved Illinois closer to evening the score, but a kill from Stivrins pushed Nebraska further awayTwo kills by Schwarzenbach and two attack errors from Illinois gave Nebraska four more points. Illinois attempted to close the gap, but Sweet had the game ending play, closing the set 25-19.
Nebraska hit .271 against Illinois, who hit .157. The serving game for Nebraska was tremendous as they hit eight service aces in the four sets, and only accrued five service errors.
Schwarzenbach had an outstanding night against Illinois. She finished the night hitting .818, with nine kills on 11 attempts. She accounted for 13 of Nebraska’s points and led the game with eight blocks. Schwarzenbach set a new season high for kills in one game, previously six against Oregon.
Foecke led the team with 13 kills on the night and accounted for 14.5 of Nebraska’s points. She hit .321 on the night with one service ace.
The Huskers continue their Big Ten play as they are set to take on the Iowa Hawkeyes at the Bob Devaney Sports Center on Wednesday, Oct. 3. Game time is 6 p.m. and the game will be streamed on BTN Plus.