LINCOLN, Neb. – The No. 1 Nebraska volleyball team picked up its third straight sweep to close the Ameritas Players Challenge, topping Pepperdine 3-0 (26-24, 25-19, 25-22). The Huskers moved to 3-0 on the season, while the Waves dropped to 2-1 in front of 8,066 fans at the Bob Devaney Sports Center.
Madi Kubik recorded a match-high 11 kills and added six digs, two blocks and a service ace. The senior from West Des Moines, Iowa notched double-digit kills in all three matches at the Ameritas Players Challenge. Lindsay Krause chipped in nine kills, while Whitney Lauenstein recorded eight kills on the night and had three blocks. NU had 38 total kills and hit .120 while holding Pepperdine to 28 kills and .009 hitting.
Bekka Allick was solid both offensively and defensively with five kills and four blocks. Kaitlyn Hord tallied six blocks to lead the Huskers for the third consecutive match. She also had three kills and was named the Ameritas Players Challenge MVP for her performance over the weekend, during which she averaged 1.78 kills per set, 2.00 blocks per set and hit .375.
In addition to Hord, Kubik, Lauenstein and Rodriguez were all named to the all-tournament team.
Rachel Ahrens led Pepperdine off the bench with nine kills.
Set 1: The Huskers started the set by scoring the first five points with Krause and Kubik combining for three kills and Hord and Kubik adding a block. Pepperdine chipped away to get within 12-10, but back-to-back kills by Krause and a Pepperdine hitting error made it 15-10 Huskers. But Nebraska committed three service errors and Pepperdine used a 5-0 run to take a 22-20 lead. Krause tipped her sixth kill of the set to make it 22-21, and Kubik terminated from the back row to tie the set at 22-22. Pepperdine then hit wide to put the Huskers ahead, 23-22, but another service error tied it again at 23-23. A Husker hitting error gave Pepperdine set point, 24-23. but Lauenstein rolled a kill from the left pin to even the score at 24-24. Pepperdine then hit an attack into the net for a Husker set point, 25-24, and the Waves hit out once again to help the Huskers escape, 26-24. Both teams struggled offensively with NU holding a .091 to .000 hitting advantage. The Waves had six blocks to just one for the Big Red, but the Huskers doubled up Pepperdine in kills, 14-7.
Set 2: Pepperdine claimed a 3-1 lead before Kubik, Allick and Lauenstein registered three kills in a row, and a block by Lauenstein and Allick made it 5-4 Huskers. Krause pasted two kills and Hord tacked on one to give the Huskers an 11-8 cushion. Pepperdine committed a pair of attacking errors, and Allick hammered a kill on the slide before an ace by Kubik and two more Pepperdine errors made it 18-11 Huskers. Allick and Orr blocked a Pepperdine attack for a 19-11 lead and a 5-0 run. Lauenstein put down two more kills for set point at 24-16, and the Huskers won 25-19 to go up 2-0. NU hit .175 in set two and limited the Waves to .030.
Set 3: The Waves staked a 7-4 lead early on after a 4-0 run keyed by three straight unforced Husker errors. But Allick posted back-to-back blocks, one with Kubik and one with Orr, to cut it to 7-6. However, Pepperdine responded with a 3-0 spurt to go ahead 12-8. Hord stepped up with back-to-back blocks for the Big Red, and she added a kill to cut it to 14-13. The Waves then committed four straight errors and the Huskers held a 17-14 lead after a 7-1 run. Pepperdine made it interesting late, pulling within 24-22. But after a timeout, Hord and Orr ended a long rally with a block to end the match, 25-22.
Up Next: The Huskers are at home on Thursday vs. Loyola Marymount at 6 p.m. That match time was changed from 7 p.m. to 6 p.m. earlier this week.