Nebraska Volleyball vs Stanford Photo No. 11

Nebraska’s volleyball team celebrates a point during the game against Stanford at the Bob Devaney sports center on Tuesday, Sept. 13, 2022, in Lincoln, Nebraska.

Freshman middle blocker Bekka Allick was undaunted by Nebraska’s highest-ranked road opponent this year. That much was evidenced by her new career-high in kills — 12 — that helped No. 3 Nebraska take down No. 12 Purdue in straight sets, 25-21, 25-20, 25-18.

Despite the Huskers’ 3-0 set advantage, this match lived up to its expectations of being tightly-contested from start to finish. Neither team managed to grab a firm lead as each exchanged points throughout.

The first run of more than two-straight points did not come until the Huskers took four straight rallies, giving them a 15-12 lead heading into the first-set media timeout. The Boilermakers wouldn’t go away quietly, though. Back-to-back kills from Purdue senior outside hitter Madeline Koch brought the match within one, 18-17. 

Nebraska responded with two straight points of its own by way of kills from senior outside hitter Madi Kubik and sophomore outside hitter Whitney Lauenstein, extending the Huskers’ lead to 20-17. 

The rest of the set was owned by the aforementioned Allick. The reigning Big Ten freshman of the week put herself in strong position to repeat that honor with three kills in the last five Husker points to lead her team to a 25-21 set one victory.

Allick had a team-high five kills in the first set, but she didn’t stop there. She also led the charge in the second set, quickly adding her sixth kill.

The Huskers gained momentum rapidly in set two, grabbing a 13-9 advantage behind four kills from sophomore outside hitter Ally Batenhorst. As for the rest of the set, Allick was once again the star of the show. She added another three kills and a block as the Huskers took control of the set, 20-12. 

Purdue tried to stay alive with a 8-3 run led by Koch and freshman outside hitter Eva Hudson, but it was too little, too late. Nebraska would finish off the set in fitting fashion – with an Allick kill – to take set two, 25-20. 

In set three, the Huskers came out firing on offense, taking a 9-2 lead with help from Lauenstein and Kubik who had two kills apiece. 

The Boilermakers rattled off two points to bring themselves within four, 9-5, but that was the closest they would get. For the rest of the match, a majority of their points came off of Husker mistakes. An increasingly quiet Purdue student section made it evident that the Boilermakers’ energy was dwindling.

The Huskers' dominance continued, holding Purdue to a hitting percentage of .029 in the third set. 

Nebraska would walk its way to set point, 24-16, but a last-ditch short spurt of life from Purdue narrowed the lead to 24-18. Ultimately, the match ended on a Boilermaker service error, giving the Huskers their fifth-straight sweep of a Big Ten opponent. The Huskers also extended their record in sweeps to 16-straight wins.

Allick finished with a new career-high of 12 kills – beating her old high of nine – while hitting an efficient .611. Kubik and Batenhorst added nine and seven kills, respectively. 

Defensively, Kubik and sophomore libero Lexi Rodriguez tied for a team-high nine digs a piece. Allick and senior middle blocker Kaitlyn Hord led the way in blocks with four each.

As a team, the Huskers hit .295 and held the Boilermakers to .140. Purdue had a crippling 21 total attack errors compared to Nebraska’s 13. 

With multiple impressive wins for Nebraska over the past few weeks, and a loss from current No. 1 Texas against Iowa State on Wednesday, the Huskers have an argument to top the national rankings come the next iteration of the AVCA poll. 

Nebraska will travel to Illinois on Saturday for the second match of its road trip. First serve is set for 6 p.m.

sports@dailynebraskan.com