LINCOLN, Neb. – The No. 6 Nebraska volleyball team survived an upset bid by Iowa, defeating the Hawkeyes 3-2 before a crowd of 8,425 at the Bob Devaney Sports Center on Saturday night.
The Huskers took the first set, 25-20, but surrendered deuce sets to Iowa in sets two and three, 23-25 and 25-27. With their backs against the wall, the Huskers responded by never trailing in a 25-18 set four win and a 15-6 set five win.
Madi Kubik led the Huskers (22-3, 14-2 Big Ten) with 19 kills and 16 digs. Jazz Sweet tied her career high with 18 kills and hit .417, and Lauren Stivrins was sharp as well with 15 kills on .542 hitting. Callie Schwarzenbach tied her career high with nine kills and contributed a team-high five blocks. Lexi Sun tallied eight kills and 16 digs.
Nebraska hit .263 and held Iowa to a .171 percentage, including .132 and .045 marks in the final two sets. In the decisive fifth set, the Huskers had nine kills and no errors for a .600 hitting percentage.
Nebraska had 10 more digs (86-76) and 17 more kills (74-57). Iowa had a 5-2 edge in aces, while NU had a slight edge in blocks, 9.0 to 8.0. The Huskers committed seven net violations throughout the course of the match, though the Huskers cleaned up their play with only one net violation in the final two sets.
Iowa (9-18, 3-13 Big Ten) got 18 kills from Courtney Buzzerio. Griere Hughes, Amiya Jones and Edina Schmidt each had 10 kills.
Nebraska makes its last road trip of the conference schedule next weekend when it plays at No. 5 Minnesota on Friday at 8 p.m. and at No. 7 Wisconsin on Sunday at 1:30 p.m. The Huskers are tied with Minnesota for second place in the Big Ten standings, one game behind Wisconsin.
Set 1: Iowa jumped out to a 10-6 lead, posting eight kills on its first 15 attacks without an error. The Hawkeyes pushed their lead to 15-11 at the media timeout, but Kubik earned sideout with her fourth kill and Stivrins and Sun combined for a block that made it 15-13. Iowa went back up by four, 17-13, but a service error put Hayley Densberger at the line to serve for the Huskers, and she sparked NU to a 6-0 run that put the Big Red in front 19-17, capped by a block by Sun and Schwarzenbach. Sun’s first kill of the night helped the Huskers to a 21-18 lead, but Iowa got back within one on a kill by Buzzerio. After a timeout, the Huskers took control with two kills by Schwarzenbach and two by Sweet to win the set, 25-20.
Set 2: Iowa again claimed an early advantage, going up 10-7 after a kill and ace by Jones. The Hawkeyes once again led at the media timeout, this time 15-12. Kills by Sweet and Kubik brought Nebraska back within 15-14, and a block by Stivrins and Sweet tied the set at 16-16. After an Iowa timeout, Stivrins posted a kill for a 17-16 Husker advantage, but Iowa went back up 21-18 after a 5-1 run. A kill by Stivrins and back-to-back Iowa hitting errors tied the score at 22-22, but Iowa answered with kills by Schmidt and Buzzerio to earn set point at 24-22. Sun terminated for the Huskers to cut it to 24-23, but a net violation gave Iowa the 25-23 win.
Set 3: The Huskers trailed 5-2 before going on a 7-1 run to take a 9-6 lead. Stivrins had three kills for the Huskers in that stretch. Iowa responded with four straight points to reclaim a 10-9 lead and force a Husker timeout. Back-to-back kills by Kubik restored a 14-13 NU lead. After Iowa went back in front, Stivrins posted her 10th kill, and Schwarzenbach and Hames combined for NU’s sixth block of the night to make it 18-17 Huskers. But the Huskers’ sixth net violation of the match and their 19th attacking error aided Iowa in going back in front, 21-19. Two aces in a row by Buzzerio made it set point for the Hawkeyes, 24-20. Kubik produced a pair of kills and Knuckles served an ace to keep the set alive, and Stivrins won a joust at the net to force a 24-24 tie. After Iowa used its second timeout, Stivrins pounded a kill to give Nebraska set point at 25-24. A service error leveled the score again at 25-25, and Iowa scored the final two points of the set on kills by Hughes to take a 2-1 lead in the match.
Set 4: Nebraska opened the must-win set with three kills, one by Schwarzenbach and two by Sweet. A block by Hames and Stivrins made it 5-1, and back-to-back kills by Sun helped NU go up by six, 10-4. Iowa took a timeout after the Huskers went up 13-5, and Sweet came up with three kills for the Huskers to keep NU up by eight, 18-10. Kubik’s 17th kill made it 19-10, but Iowa scored the next four points to slice NU’s lead to 19-14. Sweet and Kubik came up with big kills for the Huskers, and NU regained an eight-point lead at 23-15 before going on to force a fifth set with a 25-18 win.
Set 5: Schwarzenbach posted a pair of blocks – one with Sweet and one with Sun – to begin the set. Sweet then terminated her 15th kill of the night for a 3-0 Husker start. After Iowa cut it to 4-3, Sweet crushed consecutive kills, one after an acrobatic dig by Knuckles, and Stivrins added another to make it 7-3 Huskers. Sweet’s 18th kill sparked a 4-0 spurt that put NU ahead 11-4, which came on Kubik’s 19th kill. The Huskers finished off the victory with a 15-6 win on a kill by Stivrins.