PISCATAWAY, N.J. –(NU Athletics Nov. 5)– The No. 1 Nebraska volleyball team swept Rutgers 25-15, 25-20, 25-18 in front of yet another record crowd as 6,757 turned out to watch the Huskers and Scarlet Knights at Jersey Mike’s Arena on Sunday afternoon.
With a 23-0 (14-0 Big Ten) record, the Huskers have equaled the 2006 team that began the season with 23 straight wins. The 2005 Huskers started the year 28-0.
Merritt Beason continued her monstrous weekend with 21 kills, nine digs and five blocks with a .475 hitting percentage. Combined with her career-high 27 kills at Penn State on Friday night, Beason totaled 48 kills for an average of 6.00 kills per set on a .447 hitting percentage on the weekend. Her 21 kills in Sunday’s sweep tied Kelsey Robinson for the most by a Husker in a three-set match in the 25-point rally-scoring era (since 2008).
Ally Batenhorst added 11 kills and seven digs, while Bekka Allick posted seven kills and five blocks and Andi Jackson tallied seven kills on .467 hitting. Harper Murray contributed six kills and seven digs.
Nebraska hit .288 and held Rutgers to a .127 hitting percentage. The Huskers had a 52-28 advantage in kills, 61-51 edge in digs and 8-2 in blocks.
Lexi Rodriguez had 16 digs, while Bergen Reilly finished with 43 assists and 12 digs. Laney Choboy added nine digs.
Alissa Kinkela led Rutgers (10-14, 2-12 Big Ten) with eight kills.
Set 1: Nebraska went up 4-1 early with kills by Beason and Murray and a block by Beason and Allick. The Huskers continued to pile up kills in building the lead to 12-5. Rutgers got within five at 15-10, but an Allick kill started an 8-2 run that gave the Huskers a 23-12 advantage. A solo block by Batenhorst and kill by Murray helped close out the set, 25-15. NU hit .326 in the opening set while holding Rutgers to .075. Beason had seven kills on 12 error-free swings in the opening set.
Set 2: Nebraska trailed through most of the second set before finishing it on an 8-1 run to win 25-20. The Scarlet Knights led by as many as four at 9-5 before the Huskers began to chip away. Back-to-back kills by Beason began the comeback, and a Batenhorst kill tied the set at 12-12. But Rutgers went back ahead 18-15 and held a 19-17 lead when the Huskers took over. Allick and Beason began the final 8-1 surge with a block, and Beason followed with three more kills around one by Batenhorst to make it 22-19. Batenhorst then posted a solo block and kill for set point at 24-19, and Batenhorst finished off the set at 25-20 with another kill. Beason had nine kills in the second set, while Batenhorst had seven.
Set 3: Nebraska took control early with an 8-1 start, as Allick had a kill and two blocks and Beason had two kills and two blocks. Rutgers pulled within four at 14-10, but a kill by Murray and block by Reilly and Jackson helped restore an 18-11 lead. A kill by Beason and ace by Murray kept NU ahead by seven, 22-15, and Allick and Batenhorst had kills down the stretch for a 25-18 win.
Up Next: The Huskers begin a stretch of three straight home matches with a 7 p.m. contest against Northwestern at the Bob Devaney Sports Center on Wednesday.