VB: Huskers shut down Washington State to sweep way into Sweet Sixteen

Photo by Pat Radigan

Huskers Kelly Hunter (3) and Lauren Stivrins (26) combine for a block in the second set.

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25-13, 25-13, 25-18


Husker Leaders

Kills

Holman – 12


Blocks

Foecke – 3.5


Digs

Maloney – 9
Foecke – 9
Hunter – 9


Attn: 8,314


Story by Pat Radigan

Nebraska holds Cougars to .033 hitting in win

Nebraska “did a great job of building a game plan today and following it,” according to Husker coach John Cook, as the Husker defense put the clamps on Washington State to coast to a sweep on Saturday night.

The Huskers forced 17 errors and allowed just 20 kills, and limited WSU’s Taylor Mims to .043 hitting on 49 swings to shut down the Cougar offense. That combined nicely with a .300 hitting effort for NU, including 12 kills from middle Briana Holman, which allowed the Huskers to leave little doubt in rattling off another sweep in NCAA tournament action.

Holman’s 12 kills came on 19 swings and .421 hitting, while fellow middle Lauren Stivrins ripped 8 kills and committed only one error on her 13 swings. With the middles handling the hitting duties, Foecke led a Husker block to post 10 total stuffs in three sets. Foecke had three solo blocks and teamed up on another to go with her 7 kills and 9 digs.

Foecke also added a pair of aces, with her all-around effort displaying NU’s superiority over its Pac 12 foe.

“Having a good middle attack just sets up everything else. We were passing great. We were handling those free balls like Coach [John Cook] said,” said NU setter Kelly Hunter. “The middles were sort of one-on-one all night, so it was easy for them.”

Washington State scored just 13 points in each of the first two sets, as it didn’t take long for Nebraska’s defensive edge to show up. The Cougars managed just 7 kills in the first set, but they were cancelled out by 7 errors. In the second set, things got worse as WSU struggled its way to a -.120 hitting mark.

A 3-0 run late in the third put Washington State within two at 20-18, when the Cougars registered their only ace of the match. It would be the last point WSU would score, though, with Nebraska able to score the final five points of the match. Hunter and Stivrins combined to block Mims on match point, and gave Hunter a reason to cheer on the final point she will play at Devaney.

“It hasn’t really set in,” Hunter said. “Just being from Nebraska and playing here, playing in the Devaney, which is the greatest facility in all of women’s volleyball, it’s been really awesome and just to end on a win and such a high note has been great.”

Nebraska will now hit the road, after No. 4 Kentucky recovered from an 0-2 hole to survive and advance to host next week’s regional. On NU’s side of the bracket, Colorado upset No. 12 Baylor, and will make it back-to-back Pac 12 opponents for Nebraska in the NCAA tournament.

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