ANN ARBOR, Mich–(NU Athletics)–The No. 5 Nebraska volleyball team recovered from a slow start to take control in a 3-1 (19-25, 25-16, 25-15, 25-20) victory over Michigan at Cliff Keen Arena on Thursday night.
The Huskers hit .232 and had 11 blocks and 10 aces to boost their season record to 13-2. Michigan hit .154 and fell to 4-6 on the season.
Lexi Sun had 13 kills, six digs and three blocks, and Lauren Stivrins had 10 kills and five blocks while hitting .368. Madi Kubik also tallied 10 kills to go with 12 digs. Kayla Caffey and Jazz Sweet both had seven kills and six blocks, which tied a career high for Sweet. Caffey hit .385 in the match.
Nicklin Hames had a season-best five kills with her 34 assists and 16 digs. Keonilei Akana had 12 digs and a career-high five aces to lead the Huskers from behind the service line. After no aces with two errors in the first set, the Huskers had 10 aces and just three errors over the final three sets.
The Huskers had a 68-51 advantage in digs. Kenzie Knuckles had 10 digs, and Hayley Densberger posted eight digs to go with two aces, both season highs.
Jess Mruzik had 20 kills to lead the Wolverines.
Set 1: Michigan jumped out to a 4-0 lead and never looked back. The Wolverines eventually stretched the lead to as many as 12 points at 19-7. The Huskers put together a 6-1 run to cut it to 20-13, but the Wolverines had enough cushion to finish off a 25-19 win. Michigan hit .226 while NU hit .111.
Set 2: Akana served a pair of aces, and Kubik and Hames tallied three kills between them to put NU ahead 5-0 to start the set. Michigan pulled within 7-4 but the Huskers got hot with a kill by Caffey and back-to-back blocks by Caffey and Sun. Hames served an ace before another Caffey block, this one with Sweet, and the Huskers built a 15-4 lead after the 8-0 run. NU went up 18-5 after a kill by Sun and a block by Caffey and Sweet. The Wolverines clawed back to within seven at 23-16, but a kill by Caffey and ace by Sun gave the Huskers a 25-16 win and evened the match. NU hit .290 and held Michigan to .098, and the Huskers had four aces with no errors in set two and only two attacking errors after nine in the first set.
Set 3: Akana served back-to-back aces as the Huskers started off with a 3-0 spurt. Michigan went on a 7-2 run to go up 7-5, but a kill by Stivrins, an ace by Densberger and two kills by Sun put NU back on top, 9-7. Hames, Sun and Sweet struck for three kills in a row as the Huskers went up by five, 13-8. Kubik tallied three kills in a row for a 17-10 Big Red lead, and Akana served her fifth ace before a Sun kill made it 20-11. Densberger tacked on another ace, and Kubik closed out the 25-15 win with her fourth kill of the set.
Set 4: Michigan held a 12-10 lead, but the Huskers got a kill from Sun and a block by Caffey and Sun before a Caffey kill put NU up 15-13 at the media timeout. Caffey, Kubik and Sweet recorded a trio of kills for a 19-15 Husker lead, which forced Michigan to take a timeout. Michigan got within 19-17, but Kubik and Stivrins kept NU on top, 22-18, with kills. Another kill by Stivrins made it 23-19, and the Huskers finished off a 25-20 win to end the match.