Huskers serve up sweep at Rutgers

The No. 3 Nebraska volleyball team started off strong from the service line and never looked back in a 25-13, 25-7, 25-15 win at Rutgers in front of 1,226 fans.
Published: Sep. 30, 2022 at 10:08 PM CDT|Updated: Oct. 1, 2022 at 10:08 PM CDT
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PISCATAWAY, N.J. (KOLN) -The No. 3 Nebraska volleyball team started off strong from the service line and never looked back in a 25-13, 25-7, 25-15 win at Rutgers in front of 1,226 fans at Jersey Mike’s Arena on Friday night.

Nebraska (11-1, 3-0 Big Ten) got three aces from Lexi Rodriguez in the match’s first eight rallies, and the Huskers went on to post a season-high 12 aces with just eight errors as they cruised past the Scarlet Knights. It was the Huskers’ 12th straight win over the Scarlet Knights dating back to 1978.

The Huskers hit a season-high .405 and held Rutgers to -.012, the first time the Huskers have held a Big Ten foe to a negative hitting percentage since Nov. 6, 2019 (Northwestern).

Whitney Lauenstein had 11 kills on .391 hitting, and Madi Kubik had nine kills on .562 hitting with two blocks. Kaitlyn Hord had six kills on eight swings (.750) with three blocks. Bekka Allick (six), Lindsay Krause (five), Maggie Mendelson (four) and Ally Batenhorst (one) all chipped in kills as well.

Kennedi Orr had a match-high 17 assists with nine digs. Anni Evans added 11 assists and four digs.

Rodriguez finished the match with her three aces to go with nine digs and six assists. Orr had a career-high three aces, and and Allick and Kubik each had two. Kenzie Knuckles and Lauenstein both had one.

Nebraska more than doubled Rutgers in kills (42-17) and had the edge in digs (40-28) and blocks (4-2). While the Huskers finished with 12 aces and eight errors, Rutgers had no aces and three errors.

Rutgers (7-8, 1-2 Big Ten) was led by Alissa Kinkela, who had eight kills.

Set 1: Kills by Lauenstein and Kubik and three service aces by Rodriguez put Nebraska up 7-1. Krause, Hord and Mendelson added kills, and a block by Hord and Mendelson helped NU go up by double digits, 16-5, after a 7-0 run on Allick’s serve. Lauenstein and Kubik combined for four more kills, and Allick tallied a kill before a service ace as the Huskers went on to win 25-13. NU hit .417 in the set and held Rutgers to .071. The Huskers sided out at 85.7% and had four service aces with just two errors.

Set 2: Lauenstein had three early kills as the Huskers went up 4-1. Kubik posted back-to-back kills and Lauenstein served an ace to make it 7-2. After a Rutgers kill, Mendelson and Krause had back-to-back kills, and Krause added another before Allick’s second ace of the match increased NU’s lead to 12-4. NU’s dominance from the service line continued as Orr served consecutive aces for a 15-5 lead. Krause and Hord put down kills, and Hord and Kubik teamed up for a block before an ace by Knuckles had the Huskers up 20-6. A timeout couldn’t slow the Big Red, as Lauenstein and Kubik produced kills out of the break, and Hord posted a solo block to make it 23-6. NU took the set, 25-7. The Big Red hit .480 and held Rutgers to -.136 in set two, the lowest hitting percentage in a set by a Husker opponent this season. The last time the Huskers held a Big Ten foe to seven points in a set was Nov. 6, 2019 against Northwestern.

Set 3: Nebraska did not let up as Lauenstein and Hord each had a pair of kills before Knuckles added an ace to open up a 4-0 lead. Rutgers used a 4-1 run to pull within 8-7, but a kill by Ally Batenhorst off the bench started a stretch of 11 straight sideouts. After Allick notched a solo block, she posted a kill and Kubik served her first ace of the night to make it 16-12 Big Red. After a Rutgers hitting error, Kubik aced again and Rutgers made another error to give the Huskers a 19-12 advantage after a 6-0 run. Allick, Krause, Hord and Lauenstein helped seal the win with kills down the stretch. The match ended at 25-15 on Orr’s third ace of the match and NU’s 12th of the night.

Up Next: Nebraska finishes its road trip at Maryland on Sunday at Noon (CT) at XFINITY Center Pavilion.