On Saturday, Nov. 9, Nebraska volleyball snatched its 20th win of the season, taking down conference opponent Iowa in 3 sets on the road. This is the fourth straight win for the Huskers and their seventh road win on the year.
Nebraska finished the night with 47 kills and a hitting percentage of .432. Junior outside hitter Lexi Sun led the team in kills with 14 and a hitting percentage of .444. Sun has also surpassed the 300-kill mark on the season.
“She’s hitting all the shots,” head coach John Cook said in an Omaha World Herald article. “She’s using the whole court, so she’s really hard to defend. They were trying to adjust the defense on her and she just kept hitting a different shot every time.”
Freshman Madi Kubik and junior Jazz Sweet each had nine kills, while junior Lauren Stivrins had eight kills. Defensively, the Huskers held Iowa to a hitting percentage of .103, along with having nine blocks in the match. Five of the blocks came from Stivrins, and the other four came from sophomore Callie Schwarzenbach. Both Stivrins and Schwarzenbach now have over 90 blocks on the season. The Huskers also finished with five aces, two coming from Sun, one from Kubik, and two from freshman Kenzie Knuckles.
Things got off to a rocky start for the Huskers in the first set. The Huskers had four errors that helped Iowa hold the lead for most of the set. The Huskers didn’t fall far behind, however, evening the score multiple times. Eventually, the Huskers took a 15-14 lead, but Iowa stayed in the fight, taking back the lead 17-16 a few serves later. The teams went back and forth all the way up to 20, where the Huskers then pulled away to take the set 25-21. For Cook, the set didn’t surprise him.
“I’ve seen a lot of ugly volleyball in this gym,” Cook said. “Look how many times teams come in here and struggle. It’s hard to play clean sharp volleyball in here.”
Iowa attempted to strike hard in the second set by catching Nebraska off guard early on. The Hawkeyes started out with a 4-1 lead, but the Huskers retaliated with a 11-2 run to go up 12-6. Sun then stretched the lead even more as she delivered four more kills, and soon the Huskers were up 21-12. Iowa tried to spark a comeback, but Nebraska shut them down, taking the set 25-18.
The Huskers continued their dominance in the final set, getting off to a 9-3 start. Kubik then served up a 4-0 run to make it 13-4. Schwarzenbach and Sweet helped push it to 18-8, before Nebraska left Iowa in the dust and took the set 25-14, completing the sweep.
“We got better as the match went on,” Cook said. “I thought we did some good things. We hit .400 so we can’t complain much about that.”
The Huskers have never lost to Iowa in program history, leading the series now 30-0. The team is now 20-3 on the season and 12-2 in conference play. Their next match will be Wednesday in East Lansing, Mich., where they will play Michigan State at 6 p.m..