LINCOLN–(NU Athletics Jan. 23)–The No. 5 Nebraska volleyball team swept its second straight match at Indiana, claiming a 25-21, 25-16, 25-19 win at Wilkinson Hall on Saturday night.
Lexi Sun had 11 kills, seven digs and three blocks to lead the Huskers (2-0), who opened a season with back-to-back sweeps for the first time since 2015. Madi Kubik had eight kills and seven digs, and Riley Zuhn had eight kills and three blocks while hitting .316.
Lauren Stivrins turned in an efficient performance with seven kills on .429 hitting to go with six blocks. She tied teammate Callie Schwarzenbach for the team high in blocks, as Schwarzenbach produced six blocks with four kills.
Nicklin Hames had 31 assists and eight digs as Nebraska hit .228 for the match. The Big Red turned in a stellar defensive effort, holding Indiana to .048 hitting, thanks in part to 12 blocks and 43 digs.
Libero Kenzie Knuckles had a team-high 12 digs and added three set assists. The Huskers served four aces to two for Indiana. Both teams had seven service errors.
Indiana (0-2) got 12 kills from Breana Edwards and nine from Tommi Stockham.
Set 1: An ace by Knuckles started a 3-0 Husker run that put NU up 6-3. Kubik posted a pair of kills before one by Sun made it 9-5 Big Red. Schwarzenbach posted a block to make it 11-7, but a 4-0 Indiana run tied the set at 12-12. Schwarzenbach put the Huskers back on top with her second kill of the set, and she combined with Zuhn for a block before a kill by Zuhn made it 16-12 Huskers. After a kill by Kubik made it 18-15, Breana Edwards came up with a kill and a block to cut the lead to 18-17. Another kill by Edwards followed by a Husker attacking error tied the set at 19-19, but Stivrins terminated an overpass and Sun tacked on a kill to keep NU on top, 22-20. Back-to-back-to-back kills by Schwarzenbach, Sun and Zuhn gave the Huskers the 25-21 win. NU hit .314 and held Indiana to .200. The Huskers scored 17 of their 25 points via kills with all five hitters posting at least three kills in the set.
Set 2: Kills by Zuhn and Kubik and an ace by Sun got the Huskers off to a 6-2 start. Hames connected with Stivrins for a pair of kills for a 9-4 NU lead, and the duo teamed up for a block that made it 10-5. Sun tallied a pair of kills around an Indiana hitting error to increase NU’s lead to 13-7. Back-to-back kills by Stivrins and Sun kept Nebraska’s lead at six, 19-13, and forced Indiana to use its second timeout. Keonilei Akana came out of the timeout and fired an ace, and a solo block by the All-American Stivrins extended the lead to 21-13. Sun and Stivrins continued their dominance in the set with consecutive kills again, and the Huskers finished off the 25-16 win. Although the Huskers cooled off in set two, hitting .273, they held Indiana to just .027 hitting. Sun and Stivrins combined for nine of Nebraska’s 14 kills in the second frame.
Set 3: Just like on Friday night, the Huskers got stronger as the match went on. NU bolted to a 6-0 lead via two Sun kills and a block with Schwarzenbach. Back-to-back Husker blocks – one by Schwarzenbach and Zuhn and another by Stivrins and Zuhn – preceded a kill by Kubik that made it 11-4 Big Red. Hames teamed up with Stivrins for a block, and the junior setter served an ace for a 16-11 lead. Then a 3-0 run put Nebraska on top 19-12. Schwarzenbach posted a solo block before Zuhn smashed her seventh kill. Indiana crawled back to within 21-17, but kills by Zuhn and Kubik after a timeout switched momentum back to the Huskers. Hames earned match point for the Big Red with a kill, and the Huskers clinched the match at 25-19 on a block by Stivrins and Sun. NU hit .091 in the final frame but shut down the Hoosiers to the tune of -.027.
Up Next: The Huskers host Northwestern next Friday and Saturday at the Bob Devaney Sports Center. Both matches are set for 6 p.m. start times with Friday’s match being televised on NET.