MINNEAPOLIS – The No. 6 Nebraska volleyball team used a dominating 15-3 fifth set to knock off No. 7 Minnesota 25-22, 25-18, 29-25, 11-25, 15-3 in front of a crowd of 5,706 at Maturi Pavilion on Friday night.
The Huskers (23-3, 15-2 Big Ten) won their seventh straight match and picked up their 25th straight win in the month of November dating back to 2016. The Huskers won for the first time at Minnesota since 2014, led by a heroic effort in set five that ended on an 11-0 Husker run.
Nebraska had 10 kills and one error on 14 swings for a .643 hitting percentage in set five, while Minnesota hit -.200. For the match, the Huskers hit .264 while Minnesota hit .257.
Madi Kubik led the Huskers with 20 kills and 17 digs, and seven of her 20 kills came in the decisive fifth set. Lexi Sun added 18 kills, 10 digs and three aces, and she eclipsed 1,000 career kills. Jazz Sweet racked up 12 kills. Lauren Stivrins had eight kills and four blocks, and Callie Schwarzenbach posted seven kills on .600 hitting with four blocks.
NU had a season-high eight service aces, seven of which came in the first two sets. NU was out-blocked 13-8, but the Huskers had a 72-65 edge in digs and 67-56 advantage in kills. NU’s eight aces were six more than Minnesota’s two.
Alexis Hart led Minnesota (20-5, 14-3 Big Ten) with 18 kills and she hit .400. Regan Pittman had 12 kills and six blocks. Stephanie Samedy added 11 kills and 10 digs.
Nebraska’s road trip continues at No. 5 Wisconsin on Sunday at 1:30 p.m. The match will be televised on BTN, streamed on FoxSports and can be heard on the Husker Sports Network. The Huskers are one game behind the league-leading Badgers in the conference standings with three matches to go.
Set 1: An ace by Hames and a pair of kills each by Kubik and Sweet helped the Huskers to a 6-4 lead. Schwarzenbach and Hames stuffed a Gopher attack, and NU led 10-5 after an ace by Hayley Densberger. Another block by Schwarzenbach, followed by kills from Kubik and Sweet, preceded back-to-back aces by Megan Miller that made it 16-11 Huskers and forced Minnesota’s second timeout. Just as it did after its first timeout, Minnesota answered with a 3-0 run to pull within two, 16-14. Kubik sided out for the Huskers, and a kill by Stivrins and a Minnesota hitting error put NU back up by five, 19-14. The Huskers took their biggest lead of the set at 21-15 after kills by Sun and Kubik, but the Gophers scored three in a row to cut it in half, 21-18. Hames ended the run with a kill, but an NU service error and two blocks by Minnesota trimmed NU’s lead to 22-21, but Sun and Sweet produced kills to earn set point at 24-22. Kubik put away her sixth kill from a cross-court bump set by Hames to end the set at 25-22.
Set 2: The Huskers used a 4-1 run to turn a 3-4 deficit into a 7-5 lead, sparked by back-to-back kills by Sun. Sun added another kill and back-to-back aces as NU went up 11-7. Sweet pounded another kill before Kubik won a joust at the net to put NU ahead 14-9. Stivrins solo blocked a Minnesota attack for a six-point lead at 16-10. Nebraska remained ahead by six, 21-15, after a kill by Sun and a service ace by the junior outside hitter. Kubik tacked on two more kills for set point at 24-18, and Stivrins finished it at 25-18. NU hit .385 in the second set.
Set 3: Minnesota scored the first three points of the set, and the Huskers could never draw even. The Golden Gophers took a 15-11 lead at the media timeout on a dump by setter Kylie Miller. After Minnesota went up 18-12, Schwarzenbach, Sun and Sweet terminated three kills in a row to pull NU within 18-15. But the Gophers came back with a 4-0 run of their own with three kills and a block, and Minnesota led 22-15. Following a Husker timeout, Sun posted a kill – the 1,000th of her career – and Schwarzenbach hammered an overpass as the Huskers cut it to 22-18. But Minnesota held on for the 25-19 win to extend the match, hitting .412 in the set.
Set 4: Minnesota got off to another strong start, taking a 6-1 lead. A Husker service error and hitting error increased Minnesota’s lead to 14-6, and the Gophers went up by 11, 19-8, after two blocks and a kill by Pittman. Minnesota won the set, 25-11, to force a fifth.
Set 5: Nebraska held a 4-2 lead after Kubik and Stivrins terminated three kills in a row. After a Minnesota sideout, Sweet and Kubik added another pair of kills to make it 6-3 Nebraska. Following a Gopher timeout, Kubik and Stivrins stuffed a Minnesota shot, and the Gophers went in the net for an 8-3 Husker lead at the crossover. Kubik took over with three kills and a block with Stivrins, as the Huskers increased their lead to 13-3. Miller’s 11-0 run to end the match continued with an ace, and Kubik sealed the victory with her 20th kill.