🔨 Big Red gets the job done, finishing off the Cardinal for the first time since 2008
Top-tier volleyball was dished out by these top-10 squads on Tuesday, who skirmished through the very last rally. Ultimately, it was Nebraska's defense that was the difference-maker.
Big Red put up 11 blocks against a Stanford squad that has previously allowed an average of 4.9, largely thanks to Bekka Allick guarding the net. She totaled eight block assists and seven kills against the Cardinal in the front court. And with Harper Murray and Merritt Beason swinging a combined 27 kills on 57 attempts, Nebraska had enough firepower on both sides of the ball to overwhelm Stanford, who ultimately tuckered out with a .218 clip (compared to its .327 season average).
The clash between two of the top liberos in the country was also nothing short of electric. Stanford's Elena Oglivie racked up 13 digs and four assists on the night, and Lexi Rodriguez dug up 12 balls and assisted five of her own, including this layout on the service line in the fourth set:
In the end, Nebraska led the Cardinal 24-18 before Stanford scored four straight to procrastinate the match point, though ultimately falling victim to an Andi Jackson smackdown.
Nebraska protects its perfect record tonight as it improves to 8-0 on the season (25-23, 25-16, 19-25, 25-21). This victory breaks Stanford's 5-0 win record against the Huskers, which started in 2008.
😵 Andi Jackson breaks the hardwood
The Cardinal stay afloat, taking set 3
Stanford's fight in this set was much reminiscent of the first, trading the lead with the Huskers four times. But this time, the Cardinal was able to capitalize on set point.
Sami Francis has hit a near-perfect performance thus far, killing seven with 14 swings and an error to hit .429. Kami Miner ran the offense with 11 assists, dishing the ball to Caitie Baird twice to spark a crucial 4-0 run late in the set.
Dominating in an 8-2 final run, the Cardinal took home set 3, 25-19, to stay alive.
😮💨 Caitie Baird tips to set point
Stanford OH Caitie Baird effortlessly taps the ball to a mid-court gap to force set point in the third. Thus far, Baird has posted 11 kills with a .409 chip.
Husker defense on 🔒 to propel to 2-0
The Huskers rode their wave of momentum from the first frame, overwhelming the Cardinal early with six straight kills by Lindsay Krause, Bekka Allick, Merritt Beason and Andi Jackson to lead the Cardinal by five. Now totaling 18 digs, the Huskers leaned on their backcourt defense and out-of-system setups to keep the ball alive. The Huskers ended the set almost doubling their hitting percentage at .438 and siding out at 70%.
Stanford hit its stride mid-set, sparked by consecutive service aces by sophomore Anna Pringle, but couldn't make up its almost-double digit deficit, falling 25-13.
Nebraska steals set 1️⃣
Swinging through 11 ties and five lead changes, Nebraska hung on in the first, nabbing a 25-23 dub.
Five service errors were the thorns in Stanford's side early on, and Nebraska's four blocks shut down the Cardinal's scoring opportunities up front. The Huskers also made a point to contain 2022 AVCA All American opposite Kendall Kipp, who was limited to two kills until the final few rallies of the match. Bekka Allick and Merritt Beason added three kills each to the Huskers' nine thus far. Both teams hit under their season averages, Stanford (.286) swinging .222 and Nebraska (.286) with a .200 chip.
One down. 👉 pic.twitter.com/7M0eZQNd5q— Nebraska Volleyball (@HuskerVB) September 13, 2023
🂡 Back-to-back ACES
Harper Murray posted back-to-back service aces to notch Nebraska's second chip of the night. Thus far, there have been nine ties and three lead changes on the night.
▶️ Starting lineups
Here are tonight's starting lineups:
- Bergen Reilly
- Harper Murray
- Bekka Allick
- Merritt Beason
- Laney Choboy
- Andi Jackson
- Lexi Rodriguez
- Kami Miner
- Kendall Kipp
- Elia Rubin
- McKenna Vicini
- Sami Francis
- Caitie Baird
- Elena Oglivie
😎 Stanford sunnies for fans
For those watching the match in Maples Pavilion, the first 1,700 fans receive free light-up sunglasses. Stanford's home attendance numbers have steadily increased throughout the season, topping out at 3,403 fans in their most recent match against Minnesota. In this top-10 clash, the pavilion is expected to be packed.
📺 Match details
- When: Tuesday, Sept. 12, 2023
- Where: Stanford, CA | Maples Pavilion
- Time: 9 p.m. ET
- TV: ESPN
- 👉🏼 Click here for live stats
🤔 How do these top-10 teams measure up?
Neither Stanford nor Nebraska have seen a fifth set this season. On Tuesday, the chance of a forced deciding set is a real possibility.
Though the Huskers have remained unscathed this season, they’ve been unchallenged at large; Nebraska’s most formidable opponent so far has been No. 16 Creighton, the only team to win a set against John Cook’s squad. Front-line defense sets this Nebraska team apart, which currently ranks 11th in the nation in blocks per set (5 BS and 104 BA in 19 sets for 3.00 B/S). Andi Jackson and Bekka Allick have formed a wall at the net, combining for 47 blocks on the season.
Stanford’s early schedule couldn’t be more different; the Cardinal fended off three ranked opponents — including reigning champion Texas — but suffered an early shutout loss to Florida. The set-attack combination of Kami Miner and Kendall Kipp is dangerous for any team on the opposite side of the net, as Miner is averaging 11.88 assists per set and Kipp is adding 3.95 K/S. Kipp also dominated in the Cardinal’s 2022 match against the Huskers, leading both programs with 15 kills, seven digs, four blocks and an ace.
This dual wouldn’t be correctly summarized without mentioning the libero battle between Stanford’s Elena Oglivie and Nebraska’s Lexi Rodriguez. As two of the best defensive specialists in the nation, Oglivie and Rodriguez have both notched season-highs of 15 digs and average a respective 28 and 27 assists per set.
Tuesday’s match will come down to which team will out-rally the other. Their 2022 meeting was nothing short of a dogfight; Stanford finally emerged as victor after 34 tie scores, nine lead changes and two sets pushed above 25. Will the Cardinal extend its win streak against the Huskers to six games? Will Nebraska defend itself against its first top-10 opponent? Tune in at 9 p.m. ET on ESPN to find out.
Looking 🔙 on this matchup history
Flashback to five years ago, this exact matchup determined the 2018 national title holder (spoiler, the Cardinal hung its second-straight national championship banner that season). In a series that began in 1985, Stanford leads 10-6, with a five-game win streak over the Huskers. Until recently, it was a rarity to see these two powerhouses face off during the regular season, and even more uncommon for Stanford to host the Huskers in the Golden State — Tuesday's match marks only the third time the teams play each other in Maples Pavilion. Here's the full history between the Cardinal and the Cornhuskers:
|Sep. 13, 2022||2022||Lincoln, NE||Stanford||3-1|
|Sep. 14, 2021||2021||Stanford, CA||Stanford||3-1|
|Sep. 18, 2019||2019||Lincoln, NE||Stanford||3-1|
|Dec. 15, 2018||2018||Minneapolis, MN (Neutral)||Stanford||3-2|
|Aug. 31, 2014||2014||Lincoln, NE||Stanford||3-0|
|Aug. 29, 2008||2008||Omaha, NE (Neutral)||Nebraska||3-0|
|Dec. 16, 2006||2006||Omaha, NE (Neutral)||Nebraska||3-1|
|Aug. 27, 2005||2005||Omaha, NE (Neutral)||Nebraska||3-0|
|Dec. 13, 2001||2001||San Diego, CA (Neutral)||Stanford||3-0|
|Sep. 4, 1998||1998||San Diego, CA (Neutral)||Nebraska||3-1|
|Dec. 19, 1996||1996||Cleveland, OH (Neutral)||Stanford||3-1|
|Aug. 26, 1995||1995||Lincoln, NE||Stanford||3-1|
|Oct. 12, 1990||1990||Stanford, CA||Stanford||3-0|
|Sep. 23, 1989||1989||Lincoln, NE||Nebraska||3-1|
|Dec. 18, 1986||1986||Stockton, CA (Neutral)||Nebraska||3-1|
|Sep. 21, 1985||1985||San Jose, CA (Neutral)||Stanford||3-1|