Huskers Top Tigers, 3-0

By NU Athletic Communications
Tara Mueller had 14 kills in NU's sweep of Missouri
Tara Mueller had 14 kills in NU's sweep of Missouri
Photo by Scott Bruhn/Nebraska Communications

Columbia, Mo. Tara Mueller totaled 14 kills to lead a balanced offense, as the second-ranked Nebraska volleyball team improved to 17-0 with a 3-0 sweep (25-20, 25-21, 25-18) over Missouri in front of a crowd of 3,057 at the Hearnes Center and a national television audience Sunday afternoon.

Mueller, the sophomore outside hitter from Scottsdale, Ariz., totaled team-high 14 kills on .364 hitting and added seven digs to help the Huskers (17-0, 8-0 Big 12) remain one of three undefeated teams in college volleyball.

Sydney Anderson guided a solid Husker attack, dishing out 39 assists and adding four kills on eight swings to help the Huskers hit .316 on the afternoon. Jordan Larson totaled nine kills and 15 digs, while middle blockers Amanda Gates and Kori Cooper combined for 13 kills on .440 hitting. Cooper finished with seven kills on 14 swings, while Gates totaled six kills and a match-high five blocks.

Nebraska used a strong offensive performance in the first set, hitting .389 as a team in recording a 25-20 victory. Mueller led the charge, totaling six kills in nine swings, while Anderson, Gates and Lindsey Licht had three kills each in a balanced attack. The Huskers took an early 5-2 lead, only to see the Tigers come back and eventually extend their lead to 13-10. Nebraska then took control, using a 9-1 spurt to post a 20-15 lead.  The Huskers trailed 13-11 before running off three straight points, regaining the lead at 14-13 on an Anderson kill.  Jordan Larson’s kill gave the Huskers the lead for good at before a Cooper kill and a Larson ace made it 17-14 and forced the Tigers to take a timeout. Nebraska continued to attack, pushing the lead to 20-14 after a Mueller kill, as MU took its second timeout. Nebraska eventually took a 23-17, but two straight Julianna Klein kills pulled the Tigers to with 23-19 and forced Nebraska to take its first timeout. That would be as close as the Tigers would get, as Mueller’s sixth kill of the set stemmed the tide before Licht closed out the opener moments later.

Nebraska turned on the defense in the second set, holding Missouri to .065 hitting in posting a 25-21 victory to take a 2-0 lead into intermission. The Huskers totaled 21 digs in the set, including eight by Kayla Banwarth and seven by Jordan Larson, and three blocks, highlighted by solo stuffs by both Anderson and Larson. The teams traded points early on before Nebraska used a 3-1 surge to take a 12-9 lead after a Larson solo block. The Tigers roared back with four unanswered points, tying the score at 12-all on Klein’s ace before a Husker hitting misuce gave the Tigers a 13-12 lead. The lead would be short lived, as Nebraska used strong serving by Amanda Gates to run off five straight points, as Cooper capped the rally by tapping home an overpass to make it 16-14 lead. The run would continue moments later, as kills by Cooper and Mueller capped an 8-3 surge and gave the Huskers a 20-15 lead. Leading 23-18, Missouri got back into the set with three unanswered points to get within 23-21, but a Tiger hitting error and a Larson kill closed out the set.

The Huskers relied on its outside hitters in the finale, as Larson and Mueller combined for 10 kills without an error in a 25-18 victory. NU hit a match-high .400 in the finale, committing just two errors on 35 swings. Leading 9-8, a Larson kill and two swings by Mueller sparked a 5-1 spurt that made it 14-9 after a Banwarth kill. MU clawed back to within 15-11, but the Huskers won three of the next four rallies to take an 18-12 advantage after a Larson kill. Missouri chipped away, running off three unanswered points to cut a six-point deficit to 20-17, but a Mueller kill and a block by Licht and Gates quickly pushed the margin to give and ended Missouri’s final comeback bid.

Julianna Klein led Missouri (8-9, 2-5 Big 12) with a match-high 16 kills, while no other Tiger had more than six kills. The Huskers limited MU to a .165 hitting percentage and out-blocked MU, 7-3. Kayla Banwarth totaled a match-high 19 digs, as the Huskers totaled 52 digs in the match.

The Huskers return to action on Wednesday, Oct. 15, as they host the Baylor Bears at the NU Coliseum. First serve is set for 7 p.m. and the match will be carried on the Husker Sports Network, including B107.3 FM in Lincoln and Twister 93.3 FM in Omaha, and on the Internet at Huskers.com. In addition, the match will be televised live on NET Television (Ch. 12 and Ch. 112 in HD) and shown live nationally on CBS College Sports Network.

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