LINCOLN, Neb. – The seventh-ranked Nebraska volleyball team picked up a 25-20, 25-15, 25-12 sweep over Northwestern in front of a crowd of 8,103 at the Bob Devaney Sports Center on Friday night.
The Huskers improved to 15-4 overall and 8-1 in the Big Ten with their nation-leading 22nd straight home win. Northwestern fell to 12-9 on the season and 2-7 in Big Ten play.
Mikaela Foecke had 14 kills with three digs and two service aces to lead the Huskers. The junior hit .500 to pace the Huskers to a .378 hitting percentage on the night. Annika Albrecht had eight kills and 10 digs, and Jazz Sweet and Briana Holman each had seven kills while hitting .400 and .312, respectively. Lauren Stivrins had four kills and four blocks.
Kelly Hunter had 33 assists, eight digs and five kills. Kenzie Maloney had a match-high 15 digs.
Nebraska held Northwestern to .140 hitting and sided out at 83 percent. The Huskers held the Big Ten’s leader in kills, Symone Abbott, to just nine kills on .226 hitting. Abbott had seven kills in the first set, but Nebraska limited her to two kills on .000 hitting over the final two sets.
The Huskers finished with a 6-2 advantage in blocks and a 46-38 advantage in digs.
Set 1: Nebraska rebounded from a sluggish start to close the set on an 8-1 run and win 25-20. NU trailed by as many as three and was down 19-17 when a kill by Hunter and an ace serve by Foecke tied the score. Some clutch digs led to a Foecke back-row kill and a 20-19 Husker lead, and the Huskers would never trail again in the match. After a Northwestern timeout, Sweet terminated from the right side, and another tough serve by Foecke led to a Northwestern net violation and a 22-19 lead. Holman put a kill down at the middle of the net, and Sweet killed again for set point at 24-19. The Huskers earned the 25-20 win on a service error by Northwestern. Sweet led NU with five kills in the first set.
Set 2: The Huskers bolted to a 5-0 lead with Foecke providing three kills and Maloney serving an ace. A kill by Albrecht and a Wildcat error made it 9-3 Huskers. Northwestern pulled within 11-8 before committing an error and surrendering another kill to Foecke. Later, Foecke added two more kills and another ace, and Sweet notched a kill for a 4-0 spurt and an 18-10 lead. Stivrins, Holman and Albrecht each tallied a pair of kills down the stretch as the Huskers earned the 25-15 victory. Nebraska outhit Northwestern .432 to .143 in the frame. Foecke had seven kills.
Set 3: Nebraska got off to another strong start in the third set with a 6-0 lead on Albrecht’s serve. Northwestern got as close as four at 10-6, but Stivrins answered with a kill and a block with Hunter, which led to an 8-2 run and an 18-8 lead. Holman and Sweet combined for back-to-back blocks to put the Big Red up 22-10. Sami Slaughter entered the match and posted a block with Stivrins for match point, and the Huskers won 25-12.
Up Next: Nebraska hosts Illinois on Saturday at 7 p.m. at the Devaney Center. Former Husker assistant coach Chris Tamas brings his Fighting Illini squad to Lincoln for the first time since he took over as head coach in February. Saturday’s match is Nebraska’s annual “Pink Night” for breast cancer awareness.