- #5 Nebraska def. Northwestern 3-0 (25-13, 25-20, 25-21)
- Nebraska moves to 25-4 (18-1 Big Ten); NOrthwestern falls to 14-17 (4-15 Big Ten)
- Beardsley Gym, Evanston, Illinois
- Attendance: 1,007
- Box Score
The Big Ten-leading Nebraska Cornhuskers dominated the Northwestern Wildcats on Wednesday in their final road game of the regular season. The match marked the conclusion of Northwestern’s run at their home-away-from-home, the Beardsley Gym on the Evanston Township High School campus, where the Wildcats spent the season during a $110 million renovation to Welsh-Ryan Arena.
Northwestern played the ‘Huskers tough early in the match, pushing the score to 5-5 in the 1st set. Then a Nebraska run of 8 points in 9 serves (including 4 straight from Kenzie Maloney serves that included an ace) broke the scoring open to 13-6.
Northwestern hit well in that first set with 10 kills, just 3 errors, and a .350 hitting percentage, but Nebraska’s offense was unstoppable early and hit .579 in the opener for a dominating 25-13 scoreline. Northwestern was only able to score off 2 of their own serves, in that opening set.
Northwestern was able to start off well in the 2nd and 3rd sets too, taking early leads in both as their defense improved. Senior Symone Abbott came alive in the 2nd set of her final home game for Northwestern, scoring 6 of her 12 kills with just 1 error in that frame. In the 3rd, another senior Gabrielle Hazen found her rhythm with 4 of her 5 kills – hitting 333 in the match overall.
But in the end, Nebraska’s serve (7 aces) was too strong, as was the right arm of freshman Briana Holman (7 kills in 9 swings) and Nebraska rolled. Northwestern couldn’t do enough with their serve (1 ace, 9 errors) to put Nebraska off-rhythm, and Nebraska capitalized on the opportunities with 3 players hitting .400 or better (Jazz Sweet had 6 errorless kills on 15 swings, Lauren Stivrins had 8 kills on 12 swings). Stivrins also led the team with 4 block assists, while Annika Albrecht had 12 kills, solo blocks, and 1 block assist to go with 7 digs in a complete stat-line.
Nebraska will finish their season on Saturday against Iowa at the Bob Devaney Sports Center. A win there ensures them of at least a share of the title with Penn State. A win by Nebraska on Saturday and a loss by Penn State in either of their final 2 matches (on the road at Wisconsin and at Minnesota) gives the Huskers a second straight title outright.
Courtesy Nebraska Athletics:
EVANSTON, Ill. – The No. 5 Nebraska volleyball team moved one step closer to a second straight Big Ten title after a 3-0 (25-13, 25-20, 25-21) sweep at Northwestern at Evanston Township High School in front of a crowd of 1,007 on Wednesday night.
The Huskers improved to 25-4 overall and 18-1 in the Big Ten with their 12th straight win and can clinch at least a share of the Big Ten title with a victory against Iowa on Saturday at 7 p.m. at the Bob Devaney Sports Center. The Huskers, the defending Big Ten champions, can win the title outright with a win over the Hawkeyes and a Penn State loss in one of its remaining two matches(at No. 11 Wisconsin on Friday or at No. 8 Minnesota on Saturday). If two or more teams are tied with the same Big Ten record at the end of the season, they are deemed co-champions regardless of head-to-head results during the season.
With the win over the Wildcats, Nebraska tied its highest win total in Big Ten play since joining the conference in 2011, as it finished 18-2 last season. The Huskers also reached 25 wins in a season for the 17th time in head coach John Cook’s 18 seasons at Nebraska. Nebraska went 9-1 in its 10 Big Ten road matches and dropped just six sets in those matches, its lowest total since joining the conference in 2011.
The Huskers hit .341 and held Northwestern to .207. NU has now hit better than .300 in six straight matches. Nebraska had seven aces on the night and outblocked Northwestern, 8-3.
Annika Albrecht paced a balanced attack with 10 kills and added seven digs and three blocks. Briana Holman had seven kills without an error for a .778 hitting percentage and tallied a pair of blocks. Lauren Stivrins was efficient from the middle as well, terminating eight times while hitting .500 and recording four blocks. Jazz Sweet had six kills on an error-free night for a .400 hitting percentage, and Mikaela Foecke had six kills.
Kelly Hunter had 32 assists, seven digs and four kills. Kenzie Maloney and Sydney Townsend each had eight digs for the Big Red.
Symone Abbott led Northwestern (14-17, 4-15 Big Ten) with 12 kills.
Set 1: Nebraska gained separation with a 5-0 run to go up 10-5 with Maloney serving an ace during the spurt. A solo block by Albrecht made it 12-6 Huskers, and Hunter dumped a kill for a 15-7 lead. Kills by Sweet and Holman during a 3-0 spurt made it 22-11, and the Huskers cruised to the 25-13 opening-set victory. NU hit a blistering .579 in the set with six Huskers posting at least two kills.
Set 2: Nebraska recovered from an early deficit to tie the set at 5-5 on a block by Foecke and Holman. An ace by Foecke gave the Big Red its first lead at 7-6. Back-to-back kills by Sweet, followed by a block by the freshman with Stivrins, made it 10-7 Huskers and forced a Northwestern timeout. Holman’s third kill of the set kept the Huskers up by three at 16-13, but Northwestern drew within 16-15. A kill by Albrecht and a Wildcat hitting error restored a three-point lead at 18-15. Ahead 19-17, Nebraska got a kill and an ace from Albrecht, as well as a kill by Foecke to earn set point at 24-18. The Huskers finished off the set at 25-20 on Foecke’s fourth kill of the match.
Set 3: Holman sparked a 5-0 run with two kills and a block, and Foecke added an ace for a 7-4 lead. A kill and solo block by Albrecht, coupled with Townsend’s tough serve, increased the Husker lead to 11-6. Northwestern cut it to 14-13 before a Foecke kill earned a sideout. Stivrins and Sweet posted up for a block after a Sweet kill, and Maloney served an ace for an 18-14 Husker lead. A kill by Stivrins and ace by Atherton aided the Huskers down the stretch, and the Huskers capped the road portion of their Big Ten schedule with a 25-21 win.
Up Next: The Huskers conclude the regular season on Saturday against Iowa at 7 p.m. at the Devaney Center. Nebraska will honor its five seniors – Annika Albrecht, Allie Havers, Briana Holman, Kelly Hunter and Sydney Townsend – after the match.
Courtesy Northwestern Athletics:
EVANSTON, Ill. — Senior Symone Abbott had a final home match to remember as the ‘Cats faced off against No. 5 Nebraska Wednesday night at historic Beardsley Gym.
Abbott led Northwestern with 12 kills and a hitting percentage of .355, bumping her career total to 1,606 kills, moving her 12 away from tying the third-most all-time in program history. Abbott finished with just one attack error, making this the tenth time this season she has recorded fewer than three errors in a match.
Abbott also led the Wildcats in digs, with eight, followed by sophomores Sarah Johnson and Allie Lindroth, who each recorded five.
The Wildcats fought hard against Nebraska, with the Huskers having the highest rank of any team Northwestern has played this season besides No. 3 Penn State. Northwestern finished each of the final two sets with over 20 points, but Nebraska ultimately took the match, 3-0.
Abbott and first-year Alana Walker recorded three kills each in the first set, with clips of .750. Walker finished the match with six kills and a hitting percentage of .455.
During the second set, The ‘Cats held Nebraska at set point with the help of back-to-back kills by Abbott, but eventually dropped the set, 25-20. Abbott finished set two with a hitting percentage of .400, recording a total of nine kills in 20 attempts.
Senior Taylor Tashima recorded 26 assists and four digs, bumping her career number of assists past the 4,200 mark, now with a total of 4,206 to date.
Chicago’s Big Ten Team plays its final match of the season on Friday night against Maryland in College Park, starting at 6 p.m.