Block Spurs No. 7 Huskers to Sweep at Michigan
ANN ARBOR, Mich. - Behind a season-high 14 blocks, the No. 7 Nebraska volleyball team wrapped up its four-day road trip to Michigan with a 3-0 (25-22, 25-18, 25-13) win over the Wolverines in front of 1,653 in attendance at Cliff Keen Arena on Sunday afternoon.
Nebraska improved to 18-4 overall and 11-1 in the Big Ten to remain tied with Penn State atop the Big Ten standings with eight matches remaining in the regular season. Having played five of their last seven matches on the road, the Huskers will now play four matches in a row at home, beginning with No. 17 Purdue on Friday at 7 p.m.
Mikaela Foecke led the way with 13 kills, nine digs and a career-high five blocks while hitting .379. Briana Holman had six kills on .545 hitting and posted a season-high 10 blocks, which tied her most in a Husker uniform. Annika Albrecht had seven kills and a match-high 14 digs. Jazz Sweet pounded five kills.
Kelly Hunter had 31 assists, seven digs, four kills and three blocks. She also served two aces, both of which came during a 13-0 Husker run to end the match in the third set. Lauren Stivrins chipped in three blocks. Nebraska's 14 blocks marked its most in a three-set match since Dec. 5, 2014 when Nebraska blocked Hofstra 19.5 times in a sweep.
The Huskers won the hitting battle, .290 to .046. NU had 10 more digs (48-38) than Michigan as Kenzie Maloney put up nine and Sydney Townsend had eight. The Huskers had six aces.
Carly Skjodt led Michigan with 11 kills but hit just .043 against the Huskers.
Set 1: The Huskers came back from a 3-0 deficit to begin the set and led 14-10 after Stivrins chipped in on a pair of blocks and Hunter dumped back-to-back kills, part of a 6-1 run. Foecke and Holman stuffed a Michigan shot to put the Huskers up 19-14 and force Michigan's second timeout. Michigan responded with a 7-2 run, including three ace serves, to tie the set at 21-21. At 22-22, the Wolverines hit into the net, and Holman tipped a kill for set point before posting another block with Foecke for the 25-22 win. The Huskers had six blocks in the set, and Foecke and Holman each had four. Nebraska hit .333 and held Michigan to .051.
Set 2: The Huskers jumped out to a 6-1 lead as Albrecht pounded a kill and served back-to-back aces to open the set. Foecke and Stivrins followed with kills, while Maloney served an ace. Trailing 12-5, Michigan strung together four straight points to close the gap to 12-9, as Skjodt was in on three of the four points. After a kill by Foecke, the Wolverines scored the next three to get within 13-12. Foecke terminated again to keep the Huskers in the lead, and Holman followed with a kill and a solo block before Foecke hammered another ball to the floor to increase the lead to 17-13. After Michigan trimmed the Huskers' lead to 17-15, Holman smashed back-to-back shots from the middle for a 19-15 lead. Sweet terminated and Stivrins and Hunter tallied NU's eighth block of the match for a 22-17 advantage. NU finished off the 25-18 win on a Stivrins kill.
Set 3: Nebraska went up 6-3 with a pair of blocks and strong defensive play in the back row. The Wolverines rallied to take a 12-11 lead with a 5-1 run. Michigan led 13-12 before Nebraska reeled off a 13-0 run to end the match. A kill by Foecke and a block by Sweet and Holman put the Huskers up 15-13 heading into the media timeout, and Foecke came out of it with another kill before Holman tallied her ninth block for a 17-13 advantage. The Huskers then won a review that Michigan hit long, and Holman and Sweet added yet another block before the Huskers won their third challenge of the day. Hunter then served two more aces around another kill by Foecke. Sweet tacked on a kill, and Head Coach John Cook subbed senior middle blocker and Michigan native Allie Havers into the match for the first time this season. The Huskers won 25-13 after their 13-0 run.
Up Next: The Huskers begin a four-game home stretch with a pair of matches at the Devaney Center next weekend. Nebraska will host Purdue on Friday at 7 p.m. and Indiana on Saturday at 7:30 p.m.