EVANSTON, Ill. – The No. 3 Nebraska volleyball team picked up its second Big Ten road win to start the conference season with a 3-0 sweep (25-21, 25-17, 30-28) over Northwestern at Welsh-Ryan Arena on Saturday night.
The Huskers (10-1, 2-0 Big Ten) followed up their Friday night 3-2 comeback win at No. 20 Illinois with a hard-fought sweep of the Wildcats 24 hours later. Nebraska got 13 kills on .526 hitting from Jazz Sweet, who led Nebraska in kills for the second straight night.
Lexi Sun had 11 kills, and Lauren Stivrins had 10 kills on .615 hitting with three blocks and three aces. Madi Kubik contributed six kills, and Callie Schwarzenbach had a career-high four solo blocks to go with three kills.
The Huskers hit .316, their best outing in their last six matches. Northwestern was held to .190 hitting. NU had a decisive 10-2 advantage in blocks and a 7-3 edge in aces. Megan Miller contributed two of NU’s seven aces.
Nebraska has started 2-0 in Big Ten play each of the past seven seasons.
Temi Thomas-Ailara led Northwestern (9-5, 0-2 Big Ten) with 16 kills.
Nebraska plays its third straight Big Ten road match when it visits Rutgers for a 6 p.m. (CT) match on Wednesday in New Brunswick, N.J.
Set 1: Northwestern jumped out to an 8-2 lead as the Huskers started slowly. The lead went to 11-3 before the Huskers started chipping away, and a block by Schwarzenbach and Hames cut it to five, 13-8. Northwestern made it 17-10 before Sweet tallied consecutive kills, and Knuckles served an ace before a block by Stivrins trimmed the Wildcats’ lead to 17-14. An ace by Miller started an 8-0 run for the Huskers that put them ahead 22-18. The Wildcats got back within 23-21 with an ace, but Kubik got a kill and Sun and Stivrins teamed up for a block to give the Huskers the 25-21 win. NU outscored Northwestern 22-10 after trailing 11-3.
Set 2: Sweet had the first three points of the set for the Big Red, all via kills, but the Wildcats once again had the better start, taking an 8-5 lead. But a tip kill by Sun and three straight aces by Stivrins made it 10-8 Huskers after the 5-0 run. Nebraska went up 13-10 after another three-point spurt, and a kill by Schwarzenbach, followed by three errors by Northwestern and a block by Sweet and Schwarzenbach had the Huskers ahead 18-11. Northwestern scored three in a row to force a Husker timeout, but Sweet got the Huskers out of the rotation with her seventh kill, and her eighth kill of the night made it 21-15. Stivrins hammered another kill, and Sun tooled a block to give Nebraska the 25-17 win in set two.
Set 3: Schwarzenbach started the set with a kill and two blocks, and kills by Sweet and Stivrins made it 6-4 Huskers. Northwestern answered with four straight points on the jump serve of Thomas-Ailara to go up 8-6 before Kubik terminated to get the Huskers out of the rotation. A back-row blast by Kubik and a Northwestern hitting error restored an 11-9 Husker lead. But the Wildcats came out of a timeout with a 3-0 run to go up 12-11. Sun came back with a kill for Nebraska and Northwestern hit into the net to put the Big Red back in the lead, 14-12. Schwarzenbach added another solo block, her fourth of the match, and the Huskers led 16-12 after a 5-0 run. The game of runs continued as Northwestern strung together four points to tie the set at 16-16. Sun terminated an out-of-system ball to end the run, and the Huskers went ahead 19-17 after Sweet connected again. Northwestern answered with a 4-0 run to gain a 21-19 advantage before Stivrins sided out for the Big Red with her eighth kill. Thomas-Ailara put Northwestern ahead 22-20 with a kill, but Stivrins answered for the Big Red. Sun then put away a bump set from Hames to tie the score at 22-22. Northwestern earned set point twice, but Sun killed off both of them. The Huskers appeared to gain set point at 26-25 on a kill by Sweet, but the point was reversed after video review showed an attack by Northwestern earlier in the rally hit the floor. Sweet’s 12th kill gave the Huskers sideout once again. Thomas-Ailara and Sweet traded kills once again to put the score at 27-27, and Hames and Stivrins combined for a block to get match point at 28-27. Northwestern sided out before Stivrins terminated on the slide, and Sun ended the set and match with her 11th kill.