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