LINCOLN, Neb. – The No. 3 Nebraska volleyball team improved to 2-0 in the Big Ten with a 3-1 (25-18, 25-9, 21-25, 25-16) win against Michigan State in front of a crowd of 8,102 at the Bob Devaney Sports Center on Sunday afternoon.
The Huskers (11-1) won their 11th straight match behind 15 kills from Lexi Sun. Mikaela Foecke added 12 kills on .417 hitting, and Lauren Stivrins had seven kills and seven blocks. Nebraska dominated the Spartans (12-3, 0-2 Big Ten) in its three victorious sets, holding MSU to .030, -.030 and -.062 hitting in sets one, two and four, respectively. NU led throughout in sets two and four and never trailed after taking a 3-2 lead in set one. For the match, Nebraska out-hit Michigan State .224 to .047.
Libero Kenzie Maloney had a match-high 17 digs, as the Huskers held a 56-34 advantage in that category. Nicklin Hames had 16 digs to go with 40 assists and a pair of aces. The Huskers had seven aces and seven errors, while Michigan State had four aces and 13 errors.
NU hit double-digit blocks for the fourth straight match, out-blocking the Spartans 12-9. In addition to Stivrins’ seven blocks, Callie Schwarzenbach and Jazz Sweet each had five. Sweet also had seven kills.
Set 1: Nebraska held Michigan State to .030 hitting to take set one, 25-18. Foecke, Sun and Sweet combined for 11 of the Huskers’ 12 kills. After Michigan State had trimmed a six-point Husker lead to 17-15, NU went on a 4-1 spurt to take a 21-16 lead. The Huskers scored the final three points of the set via a Foecke kill, a block by Sun and Schwarzenbach, and an MSU hitting error.
Set 2: The Huskers were dominant in a 25-9 set two victory. NU sprinted to a 6-1 lead and never looked back. A 9-1 run midway through the set turned a 14-7 lead to 23-8. The Huskers out-hit the Spartans .407 to -.030 and had four service aces, including back-to-back aces by Maloney late in the set. Sweet had three blocks for the Huskers.
Set 3: Michigan State had its best start to a set, taking a 3-0 lead. Nebraska trailed by as many as four at 13-9 before ripping off three straight points to get within one. Stivrins had a solo block, and Hames dumped a kill to cut it to 13-12. A kill by Stivrins and a hitting error by the Spartans tied the set at 14-14, but Michigan State scored a 3-0 run to go up 17-14 and extended the lead to five at 21-16 before taking the set, 25-21. The Spartans out-hit NU .258 to .200.
Set 4: Nebraska got out to a 5-1 lead after a slew of Spartan errors and a block by Sweet and Stivrins. Michigan State pulled within 8-7 after a Husker point was reversed upon video review, but NU scored the next three points to go up 11-7. After the Spartans got within one again, the Huskers took control with a 6-0 run to go up 17-10. Foecke had a pair of kills, and Hames had an ace to spark the run. Back-to-back kills by Sun started a 5-0 run to end the match, as NU won 25-16.
Up Next: Nebraska will leave the state for the first time this season with a pair of road matches in Illinois next weekend. The Huskers will play at Northwestern on Friday at 7 p.m. and at No. 8 Illinois on Saturday at 7 p.m.