LINCOLN, Neb. – Freshman Madi Kubik had a career-high 22 kills, and the No. 5 Nebraska volleyball team topped No. 20 Purdue, 3-1 (25-21, 25-16, 23-25, 25-15) on Wednesday night in front of a crowd of 8,005 at the Bob Devaney Sports Center.
The Huskers (14-2, 6-1 Big Ten) were stout defensively for the third match in a row. Nebraska held its third straight opponent to a season low in hitting percentage, as Purdue (11-5, 3-4 Big Ten) hit .099, becoming the third straight Husker foe to hit below .100.
Offensively, Nebraska hit .284, the best hitting percentage by a Purdue opponent this season, and five different Huskers all hit better than .300 on the night. Setter Nicklin Hames had 48 assists, 11 digs and four kills to coordinate the Husker attack.
Kubik stole the show offensively for the Big Red. Her 22 kills on .314 hitting tied Mikaela Foecke’s 2015 freshman high of 22 as the most by an NU freshman since Sarah Pavan had 35 in 2004. Lexi Sun chipped in 11 kills on .321 hitting with 15 digs for her third straight double-double. Lauren Stivrins had 10 kills on .375 hitting with three blocks. Jazz Sweet had eight kills, and Callie Schwarzenbach added four kills and a team-best five blocks.
The Huskers had eight blocks in the match, while Purdue had 10. Aces were even at five apiece, although Nebraska committed nine services errors compared to five for Purdue. Nebraska made up for it with its hitting, posting 17 more kills (59-42) and out-digging the Boilermakers, 57-49. Kenzie Knuckles had 14 digs, and Megan Miller had six.
Caitlyn Newton led Purdue with 17 kills.
The Huskers return to the road this weekend to play Maryland in College Park. The match will begin at 7 p.m. (CT).
Set 1: Back-to-back kills by Stivrins gave the Huskers an early 4-1 lead. A solo block by Schwarzenbach put the Huskers up 10-5, and back-to-back kills by Kubik and Sweet kept NU ahead by five, 13-8, and forced a Purdue timeout. The Boilermakers got within three at 18-15, but a pair of hitting errors made it 20-15 Huskers. Purdue cut it to three again, 20-17, but Kubik and Stivrins terminated to restore a five-point lead, 22-17. Kubik’s seventh kill gave NU set point, 24-18, and Stivrins finished it at 25-21 with her fifth kill. Nebraska hit .323 and held Purdue to .059 hitting.
Set 2: Kubik picked up where she left off, blasting kills No. 8, 9 and 10 to give Nebraska a 6-3 lead. Sweet and Kubik added two more kills for a 9-5 Husker lead, but Purdue came back to get within two, 12-10, after back-to-back kills. Leading 14-12, Nebraska scored a 5-0 run off of an ace by Sun, kills by Sweet and Kubik and a stuff block by Kubik and Schwarzenbach. The Huskers went up 21-14 after the middle blockers – Schwarzenbach and Stivrins – tallied back-to-back kills, followed by a Knuckles ace. NU went on to win, 25-16, to take the 2-0 lead. Nebraska was even sharper offensively in set two, hitting .391.
Set 3: NU built a 10-5 lead, getting kills from Sweet, Kubik (two), Sun and Hames. Sun and Stivrins also combined for a block as well, but Purdue charged back with a 6-1 run to tie the set at 11-11. The Boilermakers claimed a 14-13 lead on a Newton kill, and a Husker hitting error made it 15-13 Purdue. Stivrins served an ace to tie the set at 18-18, but a pair of Husker attacking errors put Purdue back up by two, 20-18. Schwarzenbach’s third kill of the set cut it to 20-19, but another hitting error made it 21-19 and the Boilermakers increased the lead to 24-20 with back-to-back blocks. Sweet kept the Huskers in the set with a kill, and Kubik added her 16th after a long rally to make it 24-22. After a timeout, Purdue hit long to let the Huskers within one, 24-23, but Purdue got a kill from Shavona Cuttino to win the set, 25-23. The Huskers committed 11 attacking errors in set three after just eight in the first two sets combined.
Set 4: The teams went back and forth early, but Nebraska gained a 16-10 lead after a 9-2 run after Purdue had taken an 8-7 lead. Kubik added to her career day with four more kills to help the Big Red to an 18-11 advantage. She also combined with Schwarzenbach for a block during that stretch. She wasn’t done though, as her 21st and 22nd kills, and a dump by Hames, increased the Huskers’ lead to 22-14. Stivrins tacked on her 10th kill for a 22-15 lead, and the Huskers clinched the match with a 25-15 win, scoring the last four points of the match.