Photo by Pat Radigan
25-18, 25-17, 25-20
Foecke – 10
Stivrins – 4
Hunter – 11
Story by Pat Radigan
Nebraska uses ability to run points in key moments to roll to road win
The start of Big Ten play has been a showcase of the ways the Nebraska volleyball team can win matches, and on Saturday night, it was NU’s ability to score in spurts that helped the Huskers sweep past Iowa.
Nebraska used a balanced attack and timely scoring to put away an Iowa team that was looking for back-to-back upsets after knocking off No. 22 Michigan on Wednesday. But unlike the win over the Wolverines, Iowa struggled to string together points in the face of the Huskers aggressive serving and ability to terminate in big moments.
For the match, the Huskers won four-straight points on four occassions and posted two 5-0 spurts in set two. Nebraska also kept Iowa from stringing together more than three points in a row at any point, which helped the Huskers hold off the Hawkeyes and cruise to a comfortable win on the road.
It was the usual suspects who keyed Nebraska’s runs in the first set, with libero Kenzie Maloney serving three straight points to turn a two-point NU deficit into a 13-11 lead. Junior Mikaela Foecke served NU to its second 4-0 run in quick succession, making it 19-13, and gave the Huskers enough of an edge to see out the first set.
Nebraska’s defensive specialists came up clutch in each of the next two sets.
It started with Hayley Densberger serving up a 5-0 run in the second set, which stretched a 1-point lead to 12-6. That run gave Nebraska a comfortable lead, before Kelly Hunter matched the feat and put NU up 20-13, giving Iowa a hill it could not climb. Densberger was back at the line as Nebraska added a 3-point spurt to make it 24-16. An Annika Albrecht kill later, and Nebraska had a 2-0 lead.
Senior Sydney Townsend stepped into the spotlight in the third set, and sparked a 4-0 edge after a back-and-forth start to the frame. That run put Nebraska up 18-15 after Iowa had been ahead, and set the stage for NU to pull away. Townsend contributed 10 digs in the match, and tied with Maloney for second behind Hunter’s 11.
Maloney slammed the door by following Townsend’s lead, and her service run pushed it from a 2-point lead to a 24-18 margin and set up Nebraska’s match point.
The win moves Nebraska to 3-0 on the road, but things will get much more difficult for the Big Red when No. 4 Nebraska heads to take on No. 7 Wisconsin next week in Madison. Nebraska beat the Badgers last Sunday, and Wisconsin has since lost to No. 6 Minnesota and No. 14 Michigan State. First serve is set for 8 p.m. in a match that will be televised on BTN.