Serving Powers No. 10 Huskers to Sweep at Rutgers
The No. 10 Nebraska volleyball team claimed its sixth straight win Sunday afternoon, cruising to a sweep of Rutgers, 3-0 (25-19, 25-9, 25-12), at the Rutgers Athletic Center. With the victory, the conference-leading Huskers improve to 12-3 (6-0 Big Ten), while the Scarlet Knights drop to 8-9 (0-6).
Madi Kubik paced Nebraska for the sixth straight match with 11 kills on .280 hitting, adding nine digs, two blocks and an ace.
Lindsay Krause totaled nine kills on .421 hitting. Nicklin Hames finished with 30 assists, eight digs, three blocks, two kills and an ace.
Serving stole the show for the Huskers, who tied their season high with 10 service aces while surrendering just one to RU. Kenzie Knuckles led the charge at the service line with three ace serves, and Keonilei Akana and Lexi Rodriguez each added two more.
Rodriguez also anchored the defensive effort with a match-high 17 digs. Lauren Stivrins and Callie Schwarzenbach added three blocks apiece, while Stivrins chipped in six kills and Schwarzenbach had five.
Nebraska hit .255 and kept Rutgers to just .042. The Huskers came away with the advantage in kills (42-19), assists (37-17), aces (10-1), digs (54-38) and blocks (7-4).
Rutgers was led by five kills each from Kamila Cieslik and Megan Vernon.
A pair of early Krause kills got the Huskers started as they assumed a 6-2 lead. The Scarlet Knights managed to pull within two three times until an RU service error and a Knuckles ace pushed it back out to 13-9. Kubik put down a pair of kills to strengthen the lead to 16-11, at which point RU took a timeout. The Scarlet Knights went on a 5-1 run from there, and NU called for another break hanging on to a 17-16 lead.
Ally Batenhorst followed with a kill to start a 5-1 run punctuated with a Hames ace to prompt another RU timeout at 22-17. Strong serving finished it for the Huskers, with a Krause kill and back-to-back Knuckles aces putting the set away 25-19.
Knuckles had three of NU's five aces in the opening set. Kubik had four kills, and Krause and Batenhorst each had three.
NU went without an error on its first 24 swings of the second set, and Rutgers was held to -.114 hitting as a team. RU won the first point of the set on a setting miscue for their only lead of the match but the Huskers quickly settled in. They used an 11-2 spurt to force a Rutgers timeout at 13-4.
The advantage stretched to 17-5 with the help of a Hames/Schwarzenbach block, an Anni Evans ace and a Kubik kill. NU closed it by outscoring Rutgers 7-1 behind a Lauenstein kill, a Rodriguez ace and two blocks, dominating the set at 25-9.
The Huskers heated up to hit at a .467 efficiency in the third set, with four kills from Schwarzenbach and four more from Kubik.
Kubik terminated twice from the back row to hit double digits in kills and spot NU an 11-6 lead. A 7-1 run with four straight kills -- capped by Schwarzenbach -- later bolstered the lead to 20-9, and Stivrins and Knuckles finished the sweep with back-to-back kills.
Noting Today's Match
-Today's win over Rutgers was the Huskers' seventh sweep of the season.
-Nebraska is the only remaining unbeaten team in conference play at 6-0.
-The Huskers lead the all-time series with Rutgers 11-1 and have triumphed in 11 straight. All 11 of those matches have been as Big Ten peers.
-NU has a 7-0 advantage when facing Rutgers on the road.
Nebraska returns home to the Devaney Center on Wednesday, Oct. 13, playing host to Indiana. First serve is set for 8 p.m., and the match will be televised on ESPNU. John Baylor and Lauren Cook West will also have the radio call on Huskers Radio Network.