No. 10 Huskers Win Fifth Straight, Top Penn State 3-1

Published: Oct. 8, 2021 at 9:21 PM CDT
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LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) -The No. 10 Nebraska volleyball team put away its fifth straight win Friday night, defeating No. 13 Penn State 3-1 (25-16, 22-25, 25-23, 25-17) at Rec Hall. The Huskers improved to 11-3 (5-0 Big Ten) to sit alone atop the conference standings, while the Nittany Lions dropped to 11-4 (4-1).

Madi Kubik matched her season high with 19 kills and added 12 digs, a block and an ace for her second double-double of the year. Nicklin Hames, playing in her 100th career match, tallied her team-leading eighth double-double on a season-high 49 assists and 12 digs to go with three blocks and an ace.

Ally Batenhorst finished with a season-best 15 kills on .375 hitting with two blocks, and Lindsay Krause joined her in double figures with 11 kills alongside two blocks.

Kayla Caffey totaled a match-best seven blocks and added nine kills. Lauren Stivrins tacked on eight more kills and hit .467.

Keonilei Akana was solid from the service line, posting a season-best four aces to go with 12 digs as NU had an 8-1 edge in aces as a team. Lexi Rodriguez led the match with 19 digs, and Kenzie Knuckles added 13 more.

As a team, the Huskers hit .244 to Penn State’s .176. Nebraska also had the advantage in kills (62-46), assists (57-43) and digs (76-58). PSU narrowly outblocked NU, 9-8.

The Nittany Lions were led by 11 kills apiece from Jonni Parker and Kaitlyn Hord.

Set 1

Two early kills from Kubik got the Huskers out to a quick 3-0 lead, and a 5-1 run pushed it to 8-2. NU went up 15-6 on a Caffey kill. The Huskers assumed their largest lead when a PSU attack error, an Akana ace and Kubik’s last kill pushed it to 22-12. NU reached set point on back-to-back kills from Stivrins and Batenhorst and sealed the set at 25-16 on a Nittany Lion service error.

Kubik had six kills and six digs in the set as NU hit .324, and Akana had two aces.

Set 2

Neither team could build more than a two-point edge until midway through the set, and the second game included 13 ties and six lead changes. After a 5-1 swing put the Huskers up 7-5, PSU evened it at 8-8 on a Parker kill. By the media timeout, the Nittany Lions led 15-14 and tacked on a pair of Anastasiya Kudrashova kills to go up 18-14. A Batenhorst kill stopped the PSU run at 4-0 and started a 6-1 spurt bolstered by two blocks, a Hames ace and a Krause kill for a 20-19 Husker lead. After Krause blasted another kill to knot it at 21-21, the Nittany Lions responded with a 4-1 closing run to take the set, 25-22.

Caffey had three blocks in the second set, and Krause had four kills.

Set 3

Penn State claimed an early 7-3 lead in game three to prompt an NU timeout. The Huskers answered with a 5-1 run powered by two kills and an ace courtesy of Kubik, which tied it at 8-8. Seven consecutive sideouts knotted the score six more times to 15-15 before the Huskers pulled away on a Stivrins kill on a slide attack and two PSU hitting errors.

The Nittany Lions got the first two points out of the break on a kill from Gabby Blossom and a solo block from Allie Holland. But Batenhorst went to work with a pair of kills to push it to 20-17. Caffey put down a kill on an overpass before a Nittany Lion hitting error for a 23-20 Husker lead. PSU responded with three straight kills between Parker and Starck, which tied it at 23-all. Hames then connected with Stivrins for a kill, and Kubik put it away with a blast for the 25-23 set win and a 2-1 match advantage.

Kubik had six kills in the set, and Batenhorst added five more. The third game included 10 ties and three lead changes.

Set 4

The Huskers, who hit .302 in the fourth set, ran out to a 6-2 lead on the back of Caffey and Kubik, who teamed up for five straight kills and a block. PSU answered with two Parker kills and two solo stops to knot it at 6-6.

NU rattled off five straight with four kills and an Akana ace for a 12-7 edge and took a six-point lead on a Batenhorst kill at 15-9. They matched it after Caffey put down a kill and teamed up with Krause for a block, prompting a PSU timeout at 17-11.

A Stivrins/Hames stop later extended it to 22-16, and a Batenhorst kill and a Batenhorst/Caffey block brought it to set point. Anni Evans served an ace to cap the set at 25-17 for the match victory.

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