Huskers Top No. 10 Spartans in East Lansing, 3-1
EAST LANSING, Mich. - The seventh-ranked Nebraska volleyball team earned a key road victory at No. 10 Michigan State, 3-1 (25-16, 19-25, 25-17, 25-14) on Friday night in front of a crowd of 4,121 at Jenison Field House.
Mikaela Foecke posted a match-high 14 kills on .394 hitting to lead the Huskers (17-4, 10-1 Big Ten) to their fourth win in four tries against a top-10 opponent this season. Nebraska handed Michigan State (15-5, 8-3 Big Ten) its first home loss of the season.
The Huskers outblocked the Spartans 10-7, which helped the Huskers to a .262 to .144 hitting advantage. The Huskers also won the serve game with two more aces (8-6) and five fewer errors.
Jazz Sweet had 11 kills, and Annika Albrecht had nine kills and 13 digs. Lauren Stivrins and Briana Holman combined for 11 kills and nine blocks. Kelly Hunter provided 37 assists, 13 digs, four kills and three aces. Sydney Townsend also served three aces. Both Hunter and Townsend tied their career highs.
Kenzie Maloney had a team-best 16 digs, as NU won the digs battle, 61-53.
Autumn Bailey and Brooke Kranda each had nine kills for the Spartans, who had their second-lowest hitting percentage of the season. In fact, two of the Spartans' lowest three percentages of the season have come against the Huskers.
Set 1: The Huskers took their first lead at 5-4 after a scramble on both sides of the net resulted in a kill by Albrecht, and NU would never trail again. A solo block by Holman and a kill by Sweet added to the lead at 7-4. The Spartans tied the set 7-7 before an Albrecht kill. Later, a block by Hunter and Stivrins, followed by a tip kill by Foecke, lifted the Big Red to a 13-10 lead. The Huskers went ahead 22-13 after a 7-1 spurt that included two kills by Sweet and one by Stivrins, as well as two blocks by Sweet - one with Holman and one with Stivrins. NU had four blocks in the set and won 25-16, outhitting the Spartans .379 to .118.
Set 2: Michigan State led 5-2 before Foecke posted a pair of kills around a block with Holman to tie the set. Maloney's service run continued with an ace, and Foecke tallied another kill before a Michigan State attacking error made it 8-5. Similar to the first set, the Spartans answered the Nebraska run with three straight points to tie the set at 8-8. Michigan State committed a service error, and Hunter followed that with back-to-back aces for an 11-8 Husker advantage. Michigan State responded and evened the set at 13-13, and the Spartans claimed a 15-14 lead on an ace. Michigan State went on to score the next two points for a 4-0 run and a 17-14 lead. Stivrins won a joust at the net to get the Huskers sideout, but the Spartans extended the lead to 22-17. The Spartans finished off the 25-19 win to even the match.
Set 3: The Huskers trailed 4-1 and could only cut the deficit to one before the Spartans increased their lead to four, 9-5. Stivrins smashed a kill and combined with Hunter for a block, and Townsend served an ace before an MSU hitting error tied the set at 9-9. Nebraska took an 11-10 lead, its first of the set, after a kill by Albrecht and solo block by Foecke on consecutive rallies. After MSU tied it at 11-11, Foecke and Hunter posted back-to-back kills. At 13-12, Foecke pounded another kill and teamed up with Holman for a block to spark a 7-0 Husker run that put them ahead 20-12. Holman had two more kills in the run while Foecke had one, and Hunter highlighted her service run with her third ace of the night. After trailing 9-5, the Huskers reeled off a 15-3 run to take control. A block by Albrecht and Stivrins made it 23-16 Nebraska, and Sweet earned set point before Townsend capped off the 25-17 win with an ace. NU hit .250 and held the Spartans to .054 while once again notching four blocks in a set.
Set 4: The teams traded sideouts for the first 12 rallies until Michigan State hit wide to give NU a 7-6 edge. A third ace by Townsend made it 8-6 Huskers and forced a Spartan timeout. Foecke's 13th kill of the night put the Huskers ahead 12-8. Nebraska continued to excel on the attack with kills by Hunter, Holman and Foecke - as well as a solo stuff by Holman. The 5-0 continued as Michigan State hit wide, making the score 17-9 Huskers. The lefty Sweet pounded three more kills - including one that she punched over with her right hand - and the Huskers cruised to a final score of 25-14. The Huskers hit a blistering .367 in the final set.
Up Next: Nebraska takes on Michigan on Sunday at Cliff Keen Arena in Ann Arbor. That match begins at Noon (CT) and will be televised on ESPNU and broadcast on Husker Sports Network affiliates, including 107.3 FM in Lincoln and AM590 in Omaha.