Photo by Pat Radigan
25-22, 21-25, 26-24, 25-23
Foecke – 20
Stivrins – 1.5
Foecke – 1.5
Albrecht – 13
Story by Pat Radigan
Huskers complete season sweep of Boilermakers despite allowing .328 hitting
The Boilermakers’ offensive performance put pressure on Nebraska, but the Huskers powered through Purdue behind a big night for Briana Holman and another all-around effort from Mikaela Foecke.
“You look at the stats, I don’t know how they didn’t win,” said NU coach John Cook. “That why this was a great effort by our team tonight, because (Purdue) was feeling it. We did not play very clean or sharp.”
Foecke posted a 20-kill, 10-dig double-double and snuck a kill over Purdue’s block on match point to end any hope of a Boilermaker comeback. Purdue had two hitters post 20 kills on .450 hitting, yet it still was not enough. Holman added 15 kills on .417 hitting, and Nebraska came up with the points it needed in crunch time to hold off the final ranked team the Huskers will play in the regular season.
“Any win is a good win. At this point in the season, everyone is going to give us their best shot,” Holman said. “We know everyone is going to come at us and play hard. Some people come in here with the mentality that we have absolutely nothing to lose and that fires them up.”
With the match tied at 1-1 and 23-23 in the third set, Foecke stepped to the line to serve. Purdue gave Nebraska an opportunity to make a simple pass on that point, and it led to Jazz Sweet’s 6th kill of the match. The clutch swing by the freshman gave NU its first set point, but Purdue was able to side out and extend the frame.
Annika Albrecht’s 7th kill gave Nebraska another look at a set point. As an overpass drifted toward the net on the next point, NU setter Kelly Hunter rose up with a Purdue blocker, and was able to win the battle for the ball. The Boilermakers got another touch, but weren’t able to get the ball all the way up as it fell to the floor for the final blow in NU’s 26-24 win in the third.
Nebraska jumped out to a 19-14 lead in the fourth, and it appeared the Huskers were well on the way to a win. Purdue had other plans.
Back-to-back points for Purdue woke them up, before the Boilermakers rattled off three straight to cut it to 21-20. Nebraska took a timeout, and looked to take control back when Hunter dropped a dump in for a kill to make it 22-20. Purdue answered by taking the next two points, and forced a late tie for a second-straight set.
Unfortunately for Purdue, the Huskers found a late charge, also similar to the third set, to put away the win.
At 22-22 in the fourth, Foecke took a full swing on a looping set, and the ball was initially called long to give Purdue a 23-22 lead. The Huskers saw it differently, though, and on further review the call was overturned to give NU the lead. Sweet stepped in for another crunch-time kill on the next point, and again provided the kill that set up set point.
Purdue fought off one set point thanks to the Sherridan Atkinson’s 20th kill, but a point later it was over after Foecke answered by guiding her 20th into the back corner on a well-placed roll shot.
Despite falling in the set, the Boilermakers managed to hit .389 in the fourth, and .328 for the match. Atkinson was joined by Danielle Cuttino with 20 kills, and each hitter committed just two hitting errors on 40 swings to finish with identical .450 hitting percentages. The rest of the Purdue team had 21 total kills.
Holman’s 15 kills on 24 swings helped the Huskers keep up, with balance on the back end putting NU over the top. Nebraska put four hitters in double figures, including a double-double from Annika Albrecht (10 kills, 13 digs), and 10 kills by Sweet.
Sweet struggled early against Purdue’s physical block and a few “trap sets,” according to Cook, but came up with a pair of kills in crunch time in the first set. Her redemption came after a shaky start to the third, when Sweet hit through a Purdue defender to give NU its first look at a set point. The freshman added 4 kills without an error in the fourth set, and again came up clutch to set up Nebraska’s match point.
With the win, Nebraska moves back into a tie for first place in the conference standings at 12-1, and will take on Indiana on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. at Devaney.