EAST LANSING, Mich. – The No. 3 Nebraska volleyball team swept Michigan State 25-18, 25-23, 25-9 on Thursday night at the Breslin Center.
The Huskers extended their Big Ten record to 5-0 and moved to 13-1 this season. The Spartans dropped to 10-6 and 1-4 in the Big Ten.
Bekka Allick had eight kills and three blocks and hit .636 to pace the Huskers to a .358 hitting percentage as a team. Madi Kubik posted eight kills, and Whitney Lauenstein also had eight kills to go with four blocks and a .462 hitting percentage.
Kaitlyn Hord connected for six kills on .500 hitting with a match-high six blocks. Combined with Allick, the Husker middle blockers had 14 kills on 21 swings with two errors (.571) and nine blocks.
Lindsay Krause chipped in five kills, and Maggie Mendelson added four kills on five swings (.800) with a pair of blocks. Anni Evans set 15 assists, while Kennedi Orr put up 13. Lexi Rodriguez had a team-high 11 digs.
Nebraska had advantages in kills (40-26), digs (32-29) and blocks (9-4). Service aces were even at 5-5, while the Huskers committed two more service errors than Michigan State (7-5). Kenzie Knuckles had two aces for the Big Red.
While the Huskers hit better than .300 for the seventh time in 14 matches, their nation’s top-ranked defense performed admirably once again, holding the Spartans to .031 for the match.
Aliyah Moore had seven kills to lead the Spartans.
Set 1: The set was tied at 4-4 when a Lauenstein kill and solo block by Allick started a 4-0 Husker run to make it 8-4. Allick contributed a pair of kills and Mendelson and Krause added a pair to make it 13-7 Huskers and force a Michigan State timeout. Another kill by Krause gave NU a seven-point lead, 16-9, and the Huskers led by seven at 20-13 after kills by Allick and Kubik. But Michigan State got a kill by Moore and back-to-back aces by Jayhlin Swain to pull within 20-16. After a timeout, Kubik and Krause answered with kills to restore a 22-16 lead, and Allick and Hord produced two more for set point at 24-17. A Michigan State service error gave NU a 25-18 win. The Huskers hit .565 in the set, a season best. Michigan State hit .094.
Set 2: The Huskers went up 10-6 after back-to-back kills by Krause and Hord. But a Husker service error was followed by Michigan State’s fifth ace of the match, and the Spartans rallied to tie the set at 11-11. But NU regained a 15-12 lead at the media timeout after three Spartans errors and a block by Hord and Lauenstein. The Spartans came out with two kills and a block to tie the score at 15-15, but Kubik terminated for a sideout. Another kill by the senior All-American, followed by another from Krause and a Spartan hitting error made it 19-16 Huskers. The Huskers hung on to a one-point lead at 20-19 when Hord smashed a kill from the middle, and Lauenstein terminated a bump set from Rodriguez for a 22-19 lead. Then Lauenstein hammered down an overpass to make it 23-19, and the Spartans took a timeout. Michigan State answered with three straight points to get within 23-22, and NU used a timeout. Lauenstein earned set point for the Big Red, and the Huskers clinched the 25-23 win on Lauenstein’s seventh kill of the match.
Set 3: Knuckles opened set three with back-to-back aces, and Hord and Kubik stuffed a Michigan State attack to make it 3-0. Allick had a block with Lauenstein and a kill, and Lauenstein served an ace as the Huskers went up 8-3. After a kill and solo block by Allick, the Huskers led 11-4 and Michigan State needed a timeout. It did not slow the Huskers, as Allick and Mendelson added kills before Mendelson and Hord posted a block for a 15-5 lead. Maisie Boesiger served her first career ace, and Ally Batenhorst tacked on a kill before Hord and Mendelson teamed up for another block to make it 18-5. The Huskers cruised to a 25-9 win to finish off the sweep. NU outhit MSU .333 to -.207 in the third and final set.
Up Next: The Huskers face No. 24 Michigan on Saturday at 6 p.m. (CT) at the Crisler Center in Ann Arbor, Mich. The match will be broadcast on KBBN 95.3 FM with coverage on the Huskers Radio Network beginning at 5:30.