No. 11 Nebraska traveled to Madison, Wisconsin on Black Friday to take on No. 5 Wisconsin for a chance to earn a share of the elusive Big Ten title. Nebraska came up short-handed once again.
Nebraska struggled to find any rhyme on offense after a dominating first set. After hitting .462 in the first set, the Huskers hit .111, .136 and .059 in the second, third, and fourth set.
“It was a great match,” head coach John Cook said after the game. “We had our chances to get back into the match and win the match but we didn’t. I am proud of our team and the way we competed. It was a tremendous effort on our part.”
Nebraska started the game dominating Wisconsin in the first, jumping to a 17-11 lead. The Huskers then went on an 8-3 run to finish the first set 25-14. The team finished with a stellar .462 hitting percentage in the first set.
After a dominating first set by the Huskers, the Badgers battled the Huskers point by point, keeping it tied 11 all. Nebraska would go on a 3-0 run to take a 15-12 lead. The Badgers battled back, and tied it 20 all before taking a 22-20 lead, forcing a Nebraska timeout.
The Badgers would go on to win the second set 25-23, tying the match at one all. Nebraska struggled in the hitting department, with a steep drop-off from the first set with a .111 hitting percentage in the second set.
Wicosnsin picked up right where it left off in the second set, jumping to an 8-3 lead over the Huskers. Nebraska wasn’t going away without a fight, battling back to lead 15-14. The rest of the set was a back and forth battle, but Wisconsin would go on to win it 26-24.
Wisconsin held a two-to-one lead in the match. and maintained its momentum going in the fourth set, jumping out to a 5-1 lead. It then extended the lead to 9-4, forcing a Nebraska timeout. The Huskers would try to climb back into the set, cutting the Badger lead to just three, 14-11, but the Badgers ran back out 20-14. A late run by the Huskers wasn’t enough, as they dropped the fourth set 25-18 and the match 3-1.
“Give credit to Wisconsin, they showed up and played,” Cook said. “You can’t get down and give the other team some life, especially on the road.”
Nebraska was led by junior outside hitter Madi Kubik, who recorded 15 kills and eight digs on a .159 hitting percentage. Senior middle blocker Lauren Stivrins added nine kills on a .421 hitting percentage. Senior outside hitter Lexi Sun and senior middle blocker Kayla Caffey added seven kills on the night. Freshman outside hitter Whitney Lauenstein finished with six kills and a hitting percentage of .038.
As a team, the Huskers hit .168 for the game after hitting .462 in the first set. The Huskers finished with 50 kills on 149 attempts, also finishing with 10 service aces and 25 total errors
The Huskers fall to 21-7 on the year, heading into their final regular season match at No. 6 Purdue Saturday night at 8 p.m. The game is available on Big Ten Network, Fox Sports App or on the Husker Radio Network.