College volleyball: Balanced attack keys Nebraska's sweep over No. 3 Minnesota in top 10 clash
LINCOLN, Neb. — Led by four players in double-digit kills, the No. 8 Nebraska volleyball team swept its second top-five opponent in as many weeks on Friday night as the Huskers toppled No. 3 Minnesota 25-21, 25-18, 25-13 in front of a crowd of 8,344 at the Bob Devaney Sports Center.
Lauren Stivrins, Briana Holman and Annika Albrecht all led the Huskers (10-3, 3-0 Big Ten) with 11 kills. Stivrins reached her career-high total on .526 hitting, while Holman hit .500. Stivrins also had five blocks. Albrecht had nine digs to go with her 11 kills. Mikaela Foecke chipped in 10 kills and 11 digs to give Nebraska four players in double-figure kills for the first time this season. Jazz Sweet had eight kills and hit .333.
Kelly Hunter also had a double-double with 43 assists and 11 digs. Kenzie Maloney had a match-high 12 digs.
The Huskers hit .301 and have hit better than .300 in four straight matches after doing so three times in the first nine matches of the season. Nebraska held Minnesota (12-2, 1-2 Big Ten) to a season-low .183 hitting percentage.
NU outserved the Gophers with five aces and one error compared to one ace and five errors for UM. The Huskers won the digs battle, 54-46.
It was a celebration all around at the Devaney Center as former Husker All-American Jordan Larson had her jersey retired at intermission.
Set 1: The Huskers freshmen gave them a boost when Sweet finished a kill and Stivrins added a solo block for a 7-5 lead. The Huskers went up five, 12-7, after a pair of errors by Minnesota, an Albrecht kill and a Maloney ace. Foecke, Holman and Sweet tallied three kills in a row to increase the lead to 15-8 and force Minnesota's second timeout. NU's balanced attack continued with Holman, Sweet and Stivrins tacking on kills to put NU up 18-12. The Gophers would get within 18-17 after a 5-0 run, but Albrecht earned sideout for the Huskers with her third kill, and Foecke and Stivrins combined for a block to make it 20-18. Minnesota cut it to 22-21, but Sweet put a kill down from the left side and Albrecht followed with one of her own for set point. Minnesota hit wide to end the set in favor of NU, 25-21. The Huskers outkilled the Gophers 19-11 with Hunter assisting on 17 of the 19 kills.
Set 2: Hunter and Stivrins killed overpasses by Minnesota on back-to-back plays to give NU an 8-6 lead. After Minnesota tied it, Albrecht added a kill and an ace before the Gophers hit wide, putting NU up 11-8. Holman and Sweet posted back-to-back kills for a 15-11 Husker advantage. After freshman Hayley Densberger impressively dug three straight Minnesota shots, Albrecht terminated again and the crowd came alive as Nebraska led 18-12. Minnesota committed a hitting error on the next rally and needed a timeout as the Huskers went up by seven. A stuff block by Holman and Stivrins earned set point at 24-15, and the Huskers finished off Set 2 25-18 on a kill by Foecke.
Set 3: Foecke scored the first five points of the set for the Huskers, all on kills, to put NU ahead 5-3. Densberger served an ace and Stivrins combined on back-to-back blocks for a 9-4 Husker lead on a 4-0 run. The run became 9-1 and the lead became 14-5 after Sydney Townsend served an ace and Albrecht and Stivrins added kills. The closest Minnesota would get the rest of the way was six points, as NU finished the match strong with an 8-2 run.
Up next: The Huskers continue their weekend at home when they play No. 7 Wisconsin on Saturday at 7 p.m.