MADISON, Wis. – For the second straight weekend, the No. 5 Nebraska volleyball team held a 2-1 lead on the road against a top-10 foe but came up short as No. 9 Wisconsin posted a 3-2 (25-20, 19-25, 17-25, 25-17, 15-8) win over the Huskers in front of 7,052 at the UW Field House.
The Huskers (15-4, 6-3 Big Ten) had a .087 hitting percentage, the lowest mark in the John Cook era at Nebraska. However, they nearly were victorious by holding the Badgers to a season-low .114 hitting percentage.
Mikaela Foecke had 15 kills and 14 digs for the Huskers, and Lexi Sun had 10 kills, 13 digs and two aces. Lauren Stivrins had six kills and a season-best seven blocks. Nicklin Hames put up 28 assists, 17 digs and four blocks. Kenzie Maloney had 20 digs, a career-high nine set assists and a pair of kills.
NU had 13.5 blocks, reaching double digits for the sixth straight match. Both teams had six aces, but Wisconsin out-dug the Huskers, 94-77.
Madison Duello had 15 kills for Wisconsin (13-4, 6-3 Big Ten). Dana Rettke had 12 kills and 10 blocks.
Set 1: The Badgers grabbed the early advantage with the first three points on their way to a 7-3 lead. Wisconsin led by as many as five, 15-10, while the Huskers pulled within two points four times before committing a service error on the next rally each time. Kills by Schwarzenbach and Maloney finally got the Huskers to within one at 20-19, but NU’s seventh service error and a pair of Wisconsin kills sent the Badgers on their way to a 25-20 win.
Set 2: A 5-0 run for the Huskers put them up 11-8 with Foecke contributing two blocks and a kill and Sun serving an ace. But Wisconsin came back to take a 13-12 lead with a 5-1 run. Foecke then notched a pair of kills and a block with Schwarzenbach to reclaim a 15-13 lead for the Big Red. Maloney’s second kill of the match, a solo block by Sweet and a kill by Sun helped make it 20-15 Huskers. Back-to-back service aces by Densberger extended the Huskers’ lead to 23-17, and a kill by Sun and one by Stivrins closed out the set, 25-19.
Set 3: NU battled back from down 6-3 to take an 8-7 lead after kills by Hames, Foecke and Stivrins. Wisconsin answered right back with three straight to go up 10-8, but the Huskers fought back to regain a 14-11 edge with a 6-1 run. After a timeout, the Badgers responded with a 4-1 run to go up 16-15, but Sun connected twice and Wisconsin committed three unforced errors to help the Huskers back to a 20-16 lead. Sun produced another kill and an ace, and Foecke and Stivrins tacked on kills for a 24-17 lead. A block by Stivrins and Hames finished the set at 25-17, as Nebraska closed it on a 10-1 run.
Set 4: Wisconsin claimed a 12-8 lead after a 5-1 spurt and led the rest of the way, as Nebraska never got closer than three points after that. The Badgers forced a fifth set with a 25-17 win, ending the set with their biggest lead.
Set 5: The Badgers scored the first three points to grab the early advantage. But Sun and Foecke terminated, and Hames and Stivrins stuffed a Badger attack to knot the score at 3-3. Molly Haggerty struck twice for Wisconsin before a Duello kill gave the Badgers a 7-4 lead. NU pulled within 7-6 on a Stivrins kill and a Wisconsin hitting error, but the Badgers went back ahead three, 9-6, after an ace, and increased their lead to five at 12-7. Wisconsin completed the victory with a 15-8 win, ending the set on an 8-2 run.
Up Next: Nebraska heads to Minnesota to play the third-ranked Golden Gophers at 7 p.m. on Saturday on BTN and the Husker Sports Network.