NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. -(NU Athletics Feb. 12)– The No. 4 Nebraska volleyball swept Rutgers 25-18, 25-21, 25-19 in the first of their two-match series this weekend on Friday afternoon at College Avenue Gymnasium.
Lexi Sun led the Huskers to a 5-0 start on the season with 17 kills on .484 hitting, and she chipped in three digs, two blocks and an ace. She led a trio of Husker hitters who turned in efficient performances. Lauren Stivrins had 11 kills and hit .556, and Kayla Caffey had seven kills and hit .545 to go with three blocks.
NU hit .320 in the match and held Rutgers to .189. The Huskers had 12 more kills (46-34) than the Scarlet Knights and won the serve game with five aces to five errors compared to two aces and seven errors for Rutgers. Five different Huskers served an ace in the match.
Madi Kubik had seven kills and a team-high 11 digs. Nicklin Hames had her third straight double-double with 37 assists and 10 digs. Kenzie Knuckles added seven digs and an ace.
Rutgers (1-6) got 10 kills from Kamila Cieslik.
The teams will play again at the same time – 3 p.m. CT – on Saturday on BTN+ and the Husker Sports Network.
Set 1: Rutgers held a 5-3 lead before the Huskers went on a 12-5 run to take a 15-10 lead. Riley Zuhn added a kill and a block with Stivrins to make it 17-11, and a left-handed kill by Kubik increased the lead to seven at 19-12 and forced Rutgers to take a timeout. Sun tallied a couple of kills and an ace by Kubik gave NU a 22-13 advantage, and the Huskers ended the set on top, 25-18. Sun had seven kills on .636 hitting in the opening set.
Set 2: The Huskers got off to another slow start in set two, falling behind 11-4 as they hit -.200 through the first 14 rallies. Emma Gabel checked in at right back for the first action of her collegiate career and had a couple digs as the Huskers put together a three-point run off kills by Stivrins and Sun to pull within 11-7. A stuff block by Caffey and Sun cut it to 12-10, but the Scarlet Knights scored the next three points and eventually led 16-12. But a kill by Caffey was followed by an ace by Sun, and Kubik and Zuhn terminated kills to tie the score at 16-16. Caffey and Kubik then put the Huskers in front 17-16 with a block, NU’s first lead since it was 2-1. A battle of sideouts ensued until an ace by Hayley Densberger made it 22-20 Huskers. After Rutgers made it 22-21, Caffey and Sun terminated and the Huskers completed the comeback for a 25-21 win. The Huskers recovered from their slow start to hit .367 in set two.
Set 3: Nebraska got off to a stronger start in the third set, taking a 6-3 lead via three kills and a solo block by Sun. Zuhn and Stivrins connected for back-to-back kills before an ace by Knuckles made it 10-5 Huskers. Stivrins tacked on three more kills to lift the Big Red to a 14-8 advantage, but the Scarlet Knights drew within 15-12 after a three-point spurt. Rutgers then cut it to one at 18-17, but a pair of errors by Rutgers and kills by Kubik, Stivrins and Sun gave Nebraska some breathing room at 23-18, and the Huskers finished the sweep, 25-19.