McNeal Leads Husker Sweep of Baylor
Playing back in her home state, sophomore Allison McNeal had a career night as her eight blocks doubled her previous best of four. A native of Schulenburg, Texas, McNeal added seven kills on 11 swings to hit a match-high .636.
Lindsey Licht's 13 kills led three Huskers in double figures, as Hannah Werth and Brooke Delano each chipped in 10 kills apiece, while Werth notched her fifth double-double of the season with 16 digs.
The Bears entered the match with a conference best 18.69 digs per set, but the Huskers out-dug the Bears 68-65 with Tara Mueller charting a team-high 17 digs and Kayla Banwarth adding 15.
The Huskers and Bears matched each other point-for-point early in set one as they split the first nine points before a Husker error gave Baylor the lead 6-4. Nebraska quickly responded with four of the next five points, including two kills and block from McNeal, to take the lead 8-7. After a kill from Ashlie Christenson and an ace from Torri Campbell regained the lead for Baylor, the Huskers ran off five straight points, including consecutive kills from Werth, Delano and Mueller, to give Nebraska a 13-9 lead.
The Bears got back within three points following a block from Elizabeth Graham, but it would be the closest they would get the rest of the set as Nebraska took six of the next seven points to build a commanding 20-12 lead. With the Huskers at match point, 24-15, Baylor made one last effort with a 4-0 run, but it came too late as a kill from Delano secured set one for Nebraska, 25-19.
McNeal led the Husker defense in the first stanza as the sophomore's four blocks tied her career best, while Nebraska notched six blocks in the set to hold Baylor to .044 hitting. McNeal was also 3-3 on attacks.
Just like in set one, neither team was able to create separation early in set two until the Huskers took the first two-point lead of the set at 8-6 following back-to-back blocks from McNeal and Morgan Broekhuis. With the Huskers still up two at 9-7, Baylor got on a roll with four straight points to swing the two-point lead in the Bears' favor at 11-9 and force a Nebraska timeout.
The teams split the first four points out of the break before a block from Delano and Licht along with a Baylor error tied the set at 13 apiece. The Huskers followed with five of the next seven points to build a lead they would hold the rest of the set. The Bears would get within one point on five occasions, but Nebraska had an answer every time to end the threat. Cook set up Licht for a kill on consecutive rallies to end the set 25-22 and give Nebraska a 2-0 lead in the match.
Baylor came out swinging following the intermission with three of the first four points in set three to take a 3-1 lead. The Huskers responded by taking six of the next eight rallies, including three consecutive assists from Sydney Anderson to Delano and Werth, to give Nebraska a 7-5 lead. Following a kill from Campbell, Nebraska grew its lead to 10-6 after two Baylor errors and another block from McNeal.
Anderson and Cook continued to fee a slew of attackers and Nebraska built a solid 21-13 lead, when Allison King reeled off three straight kills to get Baylor within five and force a Nebraska timeout. A kill from Werth out of the break ended the Bears' run and pushed the lead back to six at 22-16.
Down 23-17 and facing a sweep, Baylor dug deep and ran off five straight to get within one point, but Werth again answered to put the Huskers at match point, 24-22 and force a Baylor timeout. Nebraska stayed composed out of the break and Licht secured the sweep her 13th kill of night.
Nebraska will now turn its focus towards the Oklahoma Sooners, as the two teams will meet on Wednesday night in Norman, Okla., at 7 p.m. Fans can listen to all of the action with John Baylor and Lindsay Peterson on the 25-station Husker Sports Network, including B107.3 FM in Lincoln and Twister 93.3 FM in Omaha. Fans outside the state will also be able to catch the live audio feed for free on Huskers.com.