s-VolleyballSeasonPreview

Nebraska’s Lexi Sun (11) goes up to attack the ball against Maryland defenders during the game at the Bob Devaney Center on Friday, Feb. 5, 2021, in Lincoln, Nebraska.

The Nebraska volleyball team bounced back from a rare pair of back-to-back losses on Thursday night, grabbing a 3-0 victory over No. 25 Illinois 3-0 to get back in the win column.

The Huskers racked up 42 kills as a team to go along with six blocks and a hitting percentage of .206. Nebraska was led by senior outside hitter Lexi Sun who was tied for the team lead in kills with 11. Sun also boasted a .303 hitting percentage, which also led the team.

Junior outside hitter Madi Kubik tied with Sun in kills with 11 and was fourth on the team in hitting percentage with .250 on the night. Senior middle blocker Kayla Caffey also impressed with eight kills, good for second most on the night for the Huskers. Her .294 hitting percentage was second for the Huskers. 

Senior middle blocker Lauren Stivrins also played a large role for Nebraska, contributing seven kills and a .267 kill percentage, both good for third on the night for the Huskers.

The Huskers came out quickly in the first set as they jumped out to an early lead. They held a 16-8 lead and it looked like Nebraska would run away with the first set, but the Fighting Illini fought back as they trimmed the deficit  to  22-19. Suddenly, the Huskers’ eight point lead was trimmed to just three. Illinois made it 23-20 before Nebraska was able to rally away and grab the 25-20 victory to secure the first set. 

Following Nebraska’s first-set triumph, head coach John Cook’s squad came back determined to extend their lead further. Illinois had other plans, however, as the Fighting Illini jumped out to a quick 6-2 lead.. Nebraska fought back to make it a 9-6 score before a back-and-forth rally ensued that saw each team fighting for an edge throughout the rest of the set. Illinois stretched out to a 16-11 lead before the Huskers grabbed three straight points to make it 16-14.

The Fighting Illini held on  to an 18-15 lead before the Huskers went on a four point run to take a 19-18 lead. Nebraska then extended its lead to 23-19 before the set eventually ended 25-20 in the Huskers’ favor. 

Illinois came out fighting for its lives in the third set as it jumped out to a 9-4 lead early on. The Huskers roared back to make it 9-8 before the Fighting Illini then stretched out their lead to 16-12, with Illinois looking to secure a crucial set.

Illinois looked as though it had a chance to grab the third set as it held a 20-17 advantage. But the Huskers closed it out in just three sets, finishing the set and match on an impressive 8-0 run.

With the win the Huskers move to 17-5 on the season and 11-2 in Big Ten play. The next match for Nebraska will be their third and final match of its road trip as the Huskers will take on No. 7 Ohio State on Saturday, November 6th at 6 p.m.  

sports@dailynebraskan.com