The third-ranked Nebraska volleyball team swept Northwestern Friday night in Evanston, Illinois in its first Big Ten road match of the year.
The victory is Nebraska’s 12th in a row and improved the team’s record to 13-1 overall and 3-0 in the Big Ten.
Sophomore outside hitter Jazz Sweet led Nebraska with 12 kills in the match. Sophomore blocker Lauren Stivrins landed a perfect 10 kills on 10 swings, becoming just the third player in Nebraska history to finish a match with a perfect hitting percentage while having at least 10 kills in the match.
Senior outside hitter Mikaela Foecke and sophomore outside hitter Lexi Sun each finished with eight kills. Freshman setter Nicklin Hames notched a double-double with 32 assists and 15 digs.
Nebraska hit .265 in the match, well above Northwestern’s .143. The Huskers also had a good day from the service line, totaling eight aces, nearly doubling the Wildcats’ five.
The Huskers jumped out to an early 4-1 lead to open the first set. Nebraska held off the Wildcats for most of the set and saw their lead stay at three halfway through the first set. Down 14-11, the Wildcats scored back-to-back points to bring themselves within one point of the lead.
The Huskers responded with a 5-0 run of their own, increasing their lead to 19-13. Nebraska never looked back and won the first set 25-19.Sweet scored four kills in the first set.
Northwestern grabbed an early lead in the second set at 3-1. Nebraska did not let the Wildcats enjoy it long and tied the match at five a piece. The Huskers then established a five-point lead halfway through the set at 13-8, and Northwestern called a timeout.
The Wildcats trimmed the Huskers lead to three points out of the timeout. Leading 15-12, Nebraska put the set away in dominant fashion with a 10-0 run to win set two 25-12. The run included two kills and three service aces by Foecke and three kills by Stivrins.
Nebraska’s defense held the Wildcats to a hitting percentage of .000 in the second set. Northwestern only scored four kills in set two.
The third set came with a more dramatic ending. The Huskers trailed for most of the set and the game of catch-up started after a 5-0 Northwestern run put the Huskers in a 8-4 hole.
Still behind 10-6, Nebraska went on a 6-2 scoring run to tie the match at 12. On the next play, a kill by Sweet gave Nebraska a 13-12 lead. The Wildcats took the lead back by scoring four points in a row and picked up a 16-13 advantage.
The Huskers still found themselves down three points at 22-19 when an attack by Sun was ruled out, and the Wildcats seemed poised to force a fourth set up 23-19. Cook challenged the call and it was reversed, making it 22-20. Northwestern put one more point on the board, but a 5-0 run gave Nebraska the win 25-23.
Nebraska will stay in Illinois for another day as the team takes on No. 7 Illinois Saturday night. First serve is set for 7 p.m. and will air on BTN.