Huskers sweep Ole Miss during Banwarth’s homecoming
LINCOLN, Neb. - The No. 2 Nebraska volleyball team turned in another solid offensive showing in a 25-13, 25-23, 25-21 sweep of Mississippi in front of a crowd of 8,113 at the Bob Devaney Sports Center on Saturday night. The Huskers improved to 5-0 with their fifth straight sweep to start the season, while Ole Miss fell to 0-4, though three of the four losses are to teams ranked in the AVCA Top 20.
Madi Kubik had 13 kills on .400 hitting to lead the Huskers to a .330 hitting percentage as they ran a 6-2 system for the second match in a row. Kubik was named the Husker Invitational MVP after averaging 3.5 kills per set on a .455 hitting percentage in NU’s sweeps of Ole Miss and Loyola Marymount. Whitney Lauenstein had nine kills and six blocks against Ole Miss, and Lindsay Krause had six kills. Bekka Allick had five kills and a pair of blocks, and Ally Batenhorst finished with four kills and two blocks. Kaitlyn Hord had six blocks with a pair of kills.
Nicklin Hames had 18 assists and eight digs, and Lexi Rodriguez had a team-high nine digs along with two aces. Kenzie Knuckles added eight digs and led the Huskers with 14 perfect receptions. Knuckles, Lauenstein and Rodriguez joined Kubik on the all-tournament team. NU had 40 kills to 35 for Mississippi. The Huskers had more aces (4-2) and digs (46-39). Both teams had eight blocks. Anna Bair had 11 kills for Ole Miss. Set 1: The Huskers regrouped after a couple of service errors to start the match by going on a 6-0 run on Allick’s serve to take a 9-4 lead. Batenhorst and Krause each had kills, and Batenhorst and Hord had a block to force an Ole Miss timeout. The Huskers increased their lead to 12 at 19-7 after a 7-0 run. The Huskers posted three blocks in that run, along with two kills by Kubik and an ace by Rodriguez. An outstanding defensive effort led to another kill by Kubik that made it 23-10, and the Huskers took set one, 25-13. The Huskers hit .455 in the opening frame and held the Rebels to -.032.
Set 2: Ole Miss had four kills in its first six attacks and a service ace to stake a 9-6 lead. A block by Batenhorst and Hord, followed by Lauenstein and Kubik kills, tied the score at 9-9. After a Husker service error, Kubik recorded two more kills for an 11-10 Husker lead, their first of the set. Kubik and Krause terminated again for a 15-13 lead, but the Rebels answered with a 5-0 spurt to regain an 18-15 advantage and force a Husker timeout. The Rebels committed an error on the next rally to make it 18-16, and Batenhorst pounded a kill to cut it to one. Hord put down a kill and combined with Lauenstein for a stuff block to tie the score at 19-19. Kubik hammered home a set from Hames for a 20-19 Husker lead, and Ole Miss used a timeout. The Rebels answered with a pair of kills to go back on top, and a solo block by Payton Brgoch made it 22-20 Ole Miss. Lauenstein earned sideout with a kill, and a service error by Ole Miss and a hitting error tied the set at 23-23. Kubik tallied her 11th kill for set point at 24-23, and after another timeout, she finished off the set at 25-23.
Set 3: The teams went back and forth in set three with the lead changing hands eight times and 16 ties. With the score tied at 19-19, the Huskers got a kill from Lauenstein that would start a 6-2 Husker run to close out the match. Following her kill, Lauenstein combined with Hord for a block and a 21-19 lead. Kubik terminated to make it 22-19, and an ace by Rodriguez and kill by Allick closed it out, 25-21.
Up Next: The Huskers battle in-state foe Creighton on Wednesday at 5 p.m. at the CHI Health Center in Omaha. More than 13,000 tickets have been sold for the contest between the second-ranked Huskers and 17th-ranked Bluejays.
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