The No. 11 Nebraska Cornhuskers volleyball team traveled to West Lafayette, Indiana to take on the No. 6 Purdue Boilermakers.
Nebraska won the match 3-1 to finish the regular season 22-7 heading into the NCAA tournament. The Huskers had a strong defensive game tonight, holding the Boilermakers to a .053 hitting percentage in the match.
“We were in a really nice groove,” head coach John Cook said after the game. “Love the way our team responded after a tough match last night.”
Nebraska came out with a lot of fire in the first set, jumping to an 8-4 lead over Purdue. The Boilermakers wouldn’t go away, climbing back into the set, tying it at 14 all. The Huskers responded with a 6-2 run to retake the lead, 20-16. Nebraska would go on to win the set 25-21, holding the Boilermakers to a .023 hitting percentage.
Nebraska kept it rolling in the second set, jumping out to another early 8-3, forcing a Purdue timeout. Coming out of the timeout, junior outside hitter Madi Kubik came out with a big block and freshman outside hitter Ally Batenhorst managed two big kills to help start an 8-3 run, extending the Huskers’ lead to 16-7. Nebraska would go on to win set two, 25-10, behind a strong hitting performance, finishing with a .314 hitting percentage in the set.
The third set was a back and forth battle between both teams, tied 8-8 midway through the set. Then, a 5-0 run by Purdue to force a Nebraska timeout. Coming out of the timeout, Nebraska responded with a 5-1 run to tie things up 14 all. The Boilermakers responded with a 7-2 run of their own to take a 21-16 lead.
Nebraska wasn’t going away without a battle, going on a late 4-1 run to cut the Boilermaker lead to only two. Purdue would go on to win the third set, 25-22. Nebraska struggled offensively in the third set with a .093 hitting percentage after a strong showing early.
Set four was all Nebraska, jumping out to a 13-7 lead and forcing a Purdue timeout. The Huskers never looked back after that, going on a 7-3 run, extending the lead to 19-10, which forced another Purdue timeout. Nebraska would go on to win the set 25-15, winning the match 3-1. Nebraska had a strong offensive performance in set four with a .333 hitting percentage, rebounding from the set before.
Nebraska’s strong defensive game was lead by freshman libero Lexi Rodriguez, who totaled 28 digs in the match.
“Lexi was really good tonight,” Cook said. “It was good to see her respond after struggling last night.”
Nebraska was also led by Kubik with 16 kills and a .204 hitting percentage. Senior middle blocker Kayla Caffey added 13 kills with a .650 hitting percentage and four blocks. Senior middle blocker Lauren Stivrins finally finished with 10 kills and a team-high five blocks.
Nebraska as a team finished with a .206 hitting percentage, 75 digs, six aces and nine blocks
Nebraska will be back in action on Dec. 2 for the NCAA tournament. The Huskers will find out who their first round matchup is Sunday night at 7:30 p.m.