Huskers sweep Illinois
Champaign, Ill.- The No. 4 Nebraska volleyball team (17-2, 9-1) proved to be too much for the No. 25 Fighting Illini on Sunday afternoon as the Huskers downed Illinois in three sets (25-16, 25-23, 25-16). The Huskers earned their ninth-consecutive win of the season and their 10th sweep overall.
Morgan Broekhuis led Nebraska on the day with 10 kills and three aces. Gina Mancuso tallied eight kills, while Hannah Werth had eight kills and a season-high 18 digs. Meghan Haggerty was seven-for-nine in attacks, recording a .778 hitting percentage, as Hayley Thramer led the Nebraska block with eight, and Lauren Cook had 27 assists.
Nebraska hit .310 in the match, while Illinois hit just .147. NU out-blocked the Illini 12-6.
Nebraska came out firing in the first set, taking a 6-2 early lead behind a kill from Mancuso and back-to-back errors on the Illini. Back-to-back aces by Broekhuis gave Nebraska a 10-5 lead, while the Huskers then went up 13-6 on a hitting error by the Illini. NU took a 10-point lead on a kill by Werth, as back-to-back kills from Broekhuis put Nebraska up 21-10. Three set points eventually gave Nebraska a 25-16 first-set win.
Mancuso tallied four kills for the Huskers in the first set, while Broekhuis and Werth both had three. Cook notched eight assists, guiding NU to a .286 hitting percentage in the set. Illinois hit .133 as both teams recorded two team blocks.
Illinois earned its first lead of the match at 4-3 on a service ace from Nebraska early in the second set. The Huskers cut it to 6-5, but Illinois stretched its lead to 11-6 as Nebraska called a timeout. A block by Haggerty and Werth and another ace from Broekhuis put Nebraska within one at 15-14, as the Huskers used a kill from Mancuso to go up 19-17. The Huskers took a 23-21 lead on another kill from Mancuso, as NU won the second set 25-23 on a kill by Werth.
Mancuso had five kills in the second set, while Broekhuis notched four and both Werth and Haggerty had three of their own. Cook tabbed 11 assists for NU, as Nebraska notched a .257 hitting percentage. Illinois hit .222 in the second set and tied the Huskers with four team blocks.
In the third set the Huskers took a 4-1 lead on a kill by Werth, while a huge block from Thramer and Mancuso powered NU to a 13-10 lead and forced Illinois to call a timeout as NU went up 14-10. A double-stuff block by Cook and Haggerty gave the Huskers an 18-13 lead, as a kill by Haggerty made it 20-14, NU. Nebraska went on to close out Illinois with a 25-16 third-set win, completing the sweep.
Thramer posted five kills in the third set, while Broekhuis had three of her own. Nebraska hit .400 in the final set, while Illinois was held to a .086 hitting percentage.
Nebraska returns home next weekend to face the Ohio State Buckeyes at 7 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 26, while the Penn State Nittany Lions will travel to Lincoln for a conference showdown at 2 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 28.
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