Lincoln, Neb. – The 12th-ranked Nebraska volleyball team recorded its first victory of the season with a 3-0 (25-19, 25-13, 25-20) sweep of UMBC on Friday afternoon at the Bob Devaney Sports Center. It was the Huskers’ first of three matches in the Ameritas Players Challenge.
The Huskers improved to 1-2 by breezing past the Retrievers (1-3). The win was Nebraska head coach John Cook’s 500th at Nebraska.
Briana Holman shined for the Huskers with 10 kills on just 13 swings with no errors for a .769 hitting percentage. She also had a match-best six blocks. Mikaela Foecke had nine kills and hit .412, as the Huskers as a team hit a season-best .273 and held UMBC to .058. NU outblocked UMBC 11-4 with Holman (six), Annika Albrecht (five) and Jazz Sweet (four) leading the way.
Kelly Hunter made her season debut and had 20 assists and seven digs, while Hunter Atherton also played and had 12 assists, six digs and three aces. Nebraska had a 6-0 advantage in aces. Libero Kenzie Maloney led all players with 14 digs.
Set 1: The Huskers broke a 7-7 tie with a kill and solo stuff by Albrecht, and then a block by Anezka Szabo and Holman to go up 10-7. NU built the lead to 15-9 with another kill by Albrecht and one from Holman. The Huskers pounded 10 kills before committing an attacking error in the set. An ace serve by Atherton put the Big Red up 18-11, and Nebraska took the set, 25-19, after Holman finished the set with two straight kills.
Set 2: Nebraska came out stronger in the second set and took an 11-4 lead courtesy of four aces, two by Foecke. Holman took over the set with two kills and three blocks in a span of six rallies to boost the Huskers to a 17-7 lead. Foecke scored the Huskers’ next three points to put them ahead 20-12, and Foecke served the Huskers to set point with Albrecht pounding two more kills. NU won 25-13 after closing the set on a 6-1 run. The Big Red limited UMBC to -.097 hitting in the set.
Set 3: UMBC held the upper hand early in the third set, taking a 13-11 lead on the Huskers with a 4-1 run. Nebraska trailed 16-14 before Holman tallied a kill and combined with Sweet for a block to even the score at 16-16. A solo stuff by Albrecht gave the Huskers a 17-16 edge, and Holman and Sweet each added another kill on Albrecht’s serve to push the lead to three at 20-17. After UMBC pulled within 21-20, Stivrins and Foecke answered with kills to make it 23-20. After a UMBC timeout, Atherton served her third ace and NU won 25-20 on a kill by Lauren Stivrins. The Huskers hit .360 in the final frame.
LINCOLN, Neb. – The 12th-ranked Nebraska volleyball team put together a dominant performance in a 3-0 (25-8, 25-16, 25-10) sweep of Oral Roberts on Friday night at the Bob Devaney Sports Center. The Huskers improved to 2-2 overall this season with their second win of the day at the Ameritas Players Challenge. Nebraska also swept UMBC earlier in the day.
The Huskers hit .576 on the night, the second-best hitting percentage in school history. The only better performance was in 1984 when the Huskers hit .608 against Wichita State. Nebraska played two error-free sets in the match with 15 kills on 23 attacks (.652) in set one and 13 kills on 16 attacks (.812) in set three. The Huskers sided out at 100 percent in both sets.
The Huskers were just as sharp defensively, limiting Oral Roberts to -.064 hitting, which was the lowest hitting percentage by a Husker opponent since 2013. Oral Roberts’ 34 total points in the match were the second fewest by a Husker opponent in the rally scoring era (since 2001). Nebraska had an 8-1 advantage in blocks and a 25-14 edge in digs.
Mikaela Foecke led the offensive onslaught with the best attacking match of her career. The junior notched 14 kills on 19 attacks with no errors for a career-best .737 hitting percentage. Foecke blasted eight kills on 10 swings in game one to set the tone for the night. Lauren Stivrins had seven kills on .500 hitting, and Briana Holman and Jazz Sweet each chipped in six kills while hitting .625 and .750, respectively. Holman had a match-high five blocks, while Sweet had three.
Kelly Hunter had 18 assists, and Hunter Atherton added 11. Kenzie Maloney had a match-best 10 digs.
Laura Milos led Oral Roberts with 11 kills but hit just .029 against the Big Red.
Set 1: NU got off to a quick 9-2 start while clicking offensively and shutting down Oral Roberts defensively. Oral Roberts couldn’t get anything going offensively as it connected on just one kill in its first eight attacks with five errors. Three kills by Foecke and an ace by Sydney Townsend helped improve the lead to 15-5. Foecke continued to blast away and finished the set with eight kills on 10 error-free swings. The Huskers won by their biggest margin of the season so far, 25-8, and hit .652 while holding Oral Roberts to -.032 hitting. The Huskers had 15 kills on 23 swings with no errors. It was NU’s first error-free set since Sept. 16, 2016 against Gonzaga.
Set 2: The Huskers did not let up in the second set. Nebraska once again went ahead 9-2 including a five-point run to start the set on Annika Albrecht’s serve. Oral Roberts used a 4-0 run to get within 11-7, but Stivrins got a kill and Townsend served another ace. The Huskers led 18-14 when Foecke pounded her 12th kill, and her ace serve increased the lead to 21-14 and forced an Oral Roberts timeout. After the timeout, Foecke notched yet another ace to make it a 4-0 run for the Big Red. Anezka Szabo and Stivrins teamed up for a block for a 23-15 lead, and the Huskers took the set, 25-16.
Set 3: Sweet posted two kills and a block with Holman to put the Huskers in front 7-1, and NU never looked back. A kill by Szabo put NU ahead, 15-6, at the media timeout. The Huskers ended the match on a 10-3 spurt and hit a blistering .812 in the final set to win 25-10. The Huskers sided out on all 10 of their opportunities.
Up Next: Nebraska finishes the tournament on Saturday against Saint Mary’s at 2 p.m. The Gaels also beat UMBC (3-0) and Oral Roberts (3-1) on Friday.