Photo by Pat Radigan
26-24, 25-15, 25-13
Albrecht – 15
Stivrins – 4
Maloney – 14
Story by Pat Radigan
Nebraska overcomes shaky start to sweep past Mavericks
The Nebraska volleyball team got back on track with a sweep of Omaha in front 5,351 fans at Baxter Arena on Saturday night in Omaha.
A slow start for the Huskers made the first set interesting, but Nebraska turned things around in time to fight off a set point and hang on for a 26-24 win in the first set. After being knocked off by unranked UNI to open the day, Nebraska erased any hope of another upset with easy wins in the next two sets to finish the Omaha Challenge with a 2-1 record.
Annika Albrecht led the Husker charge with 15 kills and 8 digs as part of a .327 hitting performace for NU as a team. That number came despite eight hitting errors and a .159 mark in the first set. After surviving the set, though, Nebraska committed just five errors the rest of the match and hit .450 over the final two sets. Freshmen Lauren Stivrins and Jazz Sweet were also key components to Nebraska’s efficient attack, adding seven kills apiece, while each committed just one error.
Briana Holman was second for Nebraska with eight kills, but left the match in the third set after injuring her ankle. Her spill brought an eerie silence to the arena, before she eventually limped off with help from teammates. Holman’s injury brought freshman Chesney McClellan into action for the first time this season.
Omaha had a chance to take control of the match early, but Nebraska won five of the final six points of the set to come from behind and sneak out the set. The Mavericks took a 23-21 lead after a ball handling error on NU, but back to back Omaha errors evened the set. A questionable four-hit call against Nebraska gave UNO a set point opportunity, but Mikaela Focke erased it with a kill. Another Maverick error gave NU its first set point, and Albrecht put it away to give the Huskers an early edge.
Nebraska’s offensive efficiency made the next two sets much more comfortable, and Omaha managed just 10 kills in each set as the Huskers errors diminished and made it hard for the Mavericks to run points. The win technically gave Nebraska the tournament title via tiebreaker, as the only team to sweep the Mavericks, and makes it seven sweeps in eight matches for the Huskers.
Now, Nebraska heads into conference play and a trip to take on No. 2 Penn State next Friday in University Park.