Nebraska opened the 2019 NCAA Tournament with one of its best offensive nights of the season on Friday night. The Huskers hit a whopping .425 with Lauren Stivrins and Madi Kubik recording 11 kills apiece.
With the win, Nebraska improves to 26-4 and advances to play Missouri on Saturday. The second-round match is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. at the Bob Devaney Sports Center. It will be the second straight, second round meeting in Lincoln for the two teams.
The No. 6 Huskers swept Ball State 25-13, 25-18, 25-10 in front of a crowd of 8,204 at the Devaney Center.
The Huskers committed a season-low eight attack errors and were not blocked for the first time in a match in more than five years. All-Big Ten setter Nicklin Hames dished out 34 assists while running a balanced offense as Nebraska (45 kills) had nearly twice as many kills as Ball State (23).
Kubik, the Big Ten Freshman of the Year, had an impressive postseason debut hitting a career-high .688 in the first NCAA Tournament match of her career. Lexi Sun put down nine kills on 21 swings and hit .333. Combined, the Huskers' three all-conference attackers - Kubik, Stivrins and Sun - totaled 31 kills while committing only three errors.
Defensively, Nebraska limited Ball State (20-12) to a season-low .010 attack percentage, the only time in 32 matches this season the Cardinals hit below .120. Kenzie Knuckles had a match-high 13 digs in her NCAA Tournament debut, while Stivrins had five blocks and Hames had four stuffs, one shy of her career high. Sydnee VanBeek led Ball State with eight kills.
The match Saturday night against Missouri will be televised on NET and BTN+. You can listen to it on the Husker Sports Network.