ANN ARBOR, Mich. – The top-ranked Nebraska volleyball team put in a dominating defensive effort in a 25-22, 25-20, 25-18 sweep of No. 22 Michigan to open Big Ten play on Friday at Cliff Keen Arena.
The Huskers (10-0, 1-0 Big Ten) tallied 13 blocks, including seven alone in set two, and stifled the Wolverines – the nation’s sixth-best hitting team entering the match at .301 – to a season-low .118 attack percentage.
Nebraska won its 26th straight match overall and 10th straight match against a ranked opponent. Michigan fell to 11-2 (0-1 Big Ten) on the season, and it was the first time in 20 matches that the Wolverines were swept.
The Huskers hit .234 and were led by Briana Holman’s 11 kills, five blocks and .556 hitting percentage. Kadie Rolfzen posted 10 kills, eight digs and six blocks. Mikaela Foecke had eight kills, and Andie Malloy had six. Amber Rolfzen had five blocks to go with three kills.
Kelly Hunter notched 32 assists and 10 digs for her third double-double of the season. She also had four kills and four blocks. Justine Wong-Orantes had a team-high 12 digs.
The Wolverines got 10 kills from Kelly Murphy. The Big Red held second-team All-American Abby Cole to nine kills on .259 hitting.
Set 1: Holman notched a pair of kills and a block with Kadie Rolfzen to help the Huskers to an 11-8 lead after Michigan had tied the set at 8-8. The Wolverines evened the set again with two kills by Cole, but NU held strong with a pair of Kadie Rolfzen kills to go back up 14-11. Michigan clawed back to make it 16-16 and then took an 18-17 lead on a kill by Adeja Lambert. But the Huskers answered. Holman tallied her fourth kill and Michigan hit in the net before Kadie Rolfzen and Holman combined for a stuff to put the Big Red ahead 20-18. After a UM timeout, Kadie Rolfzen pounded an overpass to make it 21-18, completing a 4-0 run. Holman continued to dominate the set, adding a kill and drawing a Michigan block error for a 23-19 lead. Malloy tipped home a kill for set point at 24-21, and Malloy clinched the win, 25-22, on NU’s second set point. Holman had five kills and three blocks on the set, while Kadie Rolfzen had four kills and two blocks.
Set 2: The Huskers staked an early lead after some great defense at the net, culminating with a solo stuff by Foecke on Cole. Holman blasted a kill to make it 3-0, and Kadie Rolfzen and Holman teamed up for another block for a 4-0 start. The blocks continued, with the Rolfzens combining for one and Amber Rolfzen and Malloy following up with another to make it 8-2 with four points off of blocks. The Wolverines put together a run to get within 11-8 before Amber Rolfzen killed a free ball that started a 7-4 Big Red run that put the Huskers up 18-12. After a timeout, Michigan scored three straight points to cut it to 18-15, but a UM error and solo stuff by Hunter, NU’s seventh of the set, made it 20-15. A kill and ace by Foecke on back-to-back rallies made it 24-19, and the Huskers put Michigan away, 25-20, on a Holman kill. NU finished with seven blocks and held Michigan to .000 hitting.
Set 3: The Huskers broke open the third set early with kills by Malloy, Kadie Rolfzen and back-to-back aces by Wong-Orantes for a 7-2 lead via a 5-0 run. Wong-Orantes’ third career kill forced a Michigan timeout at 15-9. The Big Red didn’t let up, taking a 19-11 lead on a block by the Rolfzens. Nebraska finished off the sweep, 25-18, on a Kadie Rolfzen kill.
Up Next: The Huskers will play at No. 20 Michigan State on Saturday at 6 p.m. (CT).