Nebraska Volleyball Knocks Off Top Ten Purdue

The No. 11 Nebraska volleyball team bounced back to cap the regular season on a high note Saturday night, defeating No. 6 Purdue on the road, 3-1 (25-21, 25-10, 22-25, 25-15) at Holloway Gymnasium. With the win, the Huskers finished second in the conference standings and improved to 21-7 (16-4 Big Ten), while the Boilermakers dropped to 23-6 (15-5) and tied for third.

Madi Kubik led three Huskers with double-figure kill nights, posting her fifth double-double with 16 kills and 10 digs. She added two blocks and an ace.

Kayla Caffey blasted 13 kills on .650 hitting to go with four blocks, and Lauren Stivrins chipped in 10 kills with a team-high five blocks.

Nicklin Hames’ team-leading 19th double-double of the season came on 44 assists and 18 digs with two blocks and an ace.

Lindsay Krause added six kills and three blocks off the bench.

Lexi Rodriguez powered the Husker defense with a career-high-tying 28 digs and added four assists. Keonilei Akana joined her in double figures with 10 more digs and served a team-leading three aces.

As a team, Nebraska hit .206 to Purdue’s .053. The Huskers also had the edge in kills (54-36), assists (50-34), aces (6-1) and digs (75-69). Purdue had a 14-9 blocking advantage.

The Boilermakers were led a double-double from Caitlyn Newton, who had 11 kills and 12 digs with three blocks. Grace Cleveland added nine more kills, and Raven Colvin had a match-high seven blocks.

Set 1
The Huskers capitalized on three straight Boilermaker errors to jump ahead 8-4. Purdue accounted for four blocks early, but Kubik notched four kills on five error-free swings and a Hames/Stivrins stop put NU up 15-14 by the media break.

Three Kubik kills and a Kenzie Knuckles ace boosted NU to a 23-18 advantage and spurred the Boilermakers to a timeout. After Purdue got two points back, NU called for a break of its own, and a Stivrins kill brought it to set point at 24-20. Stivrins finished it off two rallies later, as her second kill of the set capped it at 25-21.

Though the Boilermakers had a 6-1 advantage on the block, NU held them to just a .023 attack percentage.

Kubik’s seven kills to pace the Huskers came on .545 hitting, and Caffey added three more kills on four errorless swings to hit .750. Hames and Rodriguez had seven digs apiece.

Set 2
The Huskers hammered four straight kills from Caffey, Krause and Kubik to jump out 5-2 in set two. With NU on a 7-1 run, Purdue took a timeout down 8-3. The Husker burst extended to 11-2 with back-to-back kills from Kubik and Ally Batenhorst after she subbed in, making it 12-4.

NU went on an 8-0 tear to end the second set with a Knuckles kill, two Akana aces and five Boilermaker attack errors to seal it at 25-10.

The Huskers hit .314 and committed just two hitting errors while holding Purdue to -.056 with seven kills and nine miscues. Seven Huskers registered at least one kill, and Rodriguez had nine digs.

Set 3
Neither team could gain a significant foothold in set three until Purdue used a 5-0 run with four kills and a block to go ahead 13-9. The Huskers responded with a 5-1 spurt with two kills and a block from Stivrins and a pair of Kubik kills, locking it at 14-all.

Purdue used another 5-0 run to break out of a 16-16 tie, which put the Huskers in a 21-16 hole. NU later rattled off three straight when Caffey and Kubik both put down a kill and Caffey and Krause added a block, trimming it to 22-20.

The Huskers continued to fight and got within one at 23-22, but an NU attack error and a Newton kill gave the set to Purdue, 25-22.

Set 4
A 4-0 run capped with a Kubik ace spurred the Huskers to a 7-4 lead, and they extended it to 11-6 by way of kills from Caffey and Krause and a Hames ace.

NU surged again with a 6-1 run for a 17-8 advantage, powered by three Kubik kills and two more tallies from Caffey. A Kubik/Stivrins block later stretched the lead to 19-10 before a Purdue timeout.

Krause registered a kill to get it to match point, then teamed with Caffey for a match-ending block, giving Nebraska the set at 25-15.

Noting Tonight’s Match
-Nebraska leads the all-time series with Purdue 21-8, including 12-4 in the John Cook era.
-The Huskers have won nine of the last 10 clashes with Purdue.
-NU has a 7-5 all-time advantage on the road against the Boilermakers. Tonight was the Huskers’ first win in West Lafayette since 2018.
-Tonight was Nebraska’s sixth win over a ranked opponent this season and its second over a top-10 foe.
-With its second win over Purdue, NU’s season sweep is its first over the Boilermakers since 2017.

Up Next
With the regular season complete, Nebraska awaits its fate for the NCAA Tournament, which begins with the first and second rounds, Dec. 3-4, on campus sites. The complete 2021 tournament field will be unveiled during the NCAA Selection Show this Sunday, Nov. 28 at 7:30 p.m. CT on ESPNU.