Photo by Pat Radigan
25-20, 25-15, 25-12
Foecke – 14
Stivrins – 2.0
Maloney – 15
Story by Pat Radigan
Huskers pull away late in the first set and didn’t look back
There was little Northwestern could do to slow down Mikaela Foecke at the net, and at the service line, as the junior led Nebraska to a sweep of the Wildcats on Friday night in Lincoln.
Foecke served Nebraska to a win in the first set, put away 14 kills on 26 swings and was the only hitter in double digit kills in the Huskers efficient sweep of Northwestern. Nebraska also hit .378 in the win, which combined nicely with winning 40 of the 48 points that Northwestern served.
And without the ability to string together points, the Wildcats came up empty in their attempt to put together a comeback after Nebraska snuck out the first set.
After Foecke put away her 3rd kill of the set to put NU up 19-18, Northwestern’s Symone Abbott put away her 7th kill to even the set. Abbott had a chance to serve Northwestern into the lead, but her service error made it 20-19 and put the ball in Foecke’s hands as the Wildcats tried to kill the crowd’s energy with a timeout.
Freshman Jazz Sweet got the home fans back into it with a pair of kills to make it a 3-point lead. Briana Holman made it 23-19 with a kill of her own, and Sweet came up with yet another decisive swing to push it to set point. Foecke’s run came to an end with a service error of her own, but Northwestern missed its next serve to give the set to Nebraska 25-20.
“I think it was a momentum shift for us,” Foecke said. “It wasn’t just my serving, we got a few big digs on that rally.”
The next two sets were not nearly as competitive.
Abbott was held to just 2 kills over the final two sets, and Northwestern’s ability to side out fell apart without its most potent weapon. The inability to terminate kills also cost the Wildcats any chance of running points. After allowing Northwestern to win four points on its own serve in the first set, Nebraska allowed just four points off the Wildcats’ serve the rest of the match to cruise to a pair of convincing wins in the next two sets.
Annika Albrecht was second for Nebraska with 8 kills, and hit .318 in the process, while Sweet’s clutch play in the first set left her with 7 kills total in the match. Holman was the only Husker hitter with two errors, but still hit .312 with 7 kills.
The win allowed Nebraska to keep pace with Penn State, who knocked off Purdue on Friday, with the Huskers set to face Illinois on Saturday to wrap up a weekend home stand. Illinois entered Friday’s action tied for third in the conference standings, and held on to beat Iowa in five sets in Iowa City.