Huskers Earn 3-1 Road Win at No. 15 Michigan
ANN ARBOR, Mich. - The No. 6 Nebraska volleyball team recovered from a slow start to earn a 3-1 road victory at No. 15 Michigan in front of a sold-out crowd of 1,800 at Cliff Keen Arena on Saturday night.
Michigan had the early advantage after winning set one, 25-15. But the Huskers bounced back strong with a 25-20 win in set two and 28-26, 26-24 wins in sets three and four, respectively.
The Huskers (20-6, 11-5 Big Ten) won their fourth straight match and earned their fourth win against a top-15 opponent this season, getting 22 kills, eight digs and five blocks from All-American hitter Mikaela Foecke. The senior captain hit .465 on 43 swings with just two errors. Lexi Sun contributed 17 kills and eight digs, and Lauren Stivrins had 13 kills and five blocks along with two key ace serves. Jazz Sweet added six kills, and Callie Schwarzenbach had a team-high six blocks with a pair of kills.
Megan Miller had a career-high 23 digs for the Huskers, while Nicklin Hames had 52 assists and 18 digs for her 12th straight double-double. Kenzie Maloney added 17 digs.
Nebraska hit .213 for the match, holding a narrow advantage over the Wolverines, who hit .209. After Michigan hit .379 in set one, the Huskers held the Wolverines to .171 hitting over the final three sets. Nebraska had a decisive edge in blocks, 13-7.
Carly Skjodt led Michigan (19-8, 8-8 Big Ten) with 18 kills and 16 digs. Paige Jones added 17 kills and 14 digs.
Set 1: Michigan held an early 5-3 lead after three kills by Skjodt. A back-row blast and an ace by Foecke knotted the set at 7-7, but Michigan went back in front and maintained a 13-10 advantage with an ace. Foecke and Stivrins answered with kills to pull the Huskers back within 13-12, but a pair of miscues on the attack resulted in a 16-12 lead for the Wolverines. After a timeout, Stivrins and Sun connected on kills to slice the deficit in half, but Michigan got three kills from Jones and three aces by MacKenzi Welsh to go up 22-14 with a 6-0 run. The Wolverines finished off the 25-15 win, hitting .379 while the Huskers hit .118.
Set 2: Stivrins combined with Foecke for a block and put down her fifth kill to put the Huskers up 6-3. Nebraska led 10-7 when Michigan went on a 3-0 run to tie the set. Sweet put the Huskers back in front, and Foecke blocked a shot to make it 12-10. Miller served NU's second ace of the match, and Foecke tacked on a solo block for a 16-12 Husker lead. Michigan scored three straight points out of a timeout to get within 16-15, but Nebraska didn't let the Wolverines draw even. Foecke grabbed sideout for the Huskers, and Sun terminated twice around a block by Schwarzenbach and Sweet to make it 21-17 Big Red. Foecke and Stivrins added kills down the stretch, and a block by Hames and Stivrins gave NU the 25-20 win. The Huskers were much sharper in set two, hitting .345 and holding Michigan to .184.
Set 3: Nebraska fell behind 6-2 in set four, but a kill and block by Stivrins brought the Huskers back within two. Foecke and Sun added kills before a Michigan hitting error, and a kill by Sun and an ace by Stivrins made it 9-7 Huskers via a 7-1 run. But Michigan answered with a 7-2 run of its own to take a 14-11 lead, the Wolverines went up 16-12 after an NU service error and hitting error on back-to-back rallies. Foecke smashed three straight kills and stuffed an attack with Stivrins. After a Michigan timeout, Stivrins crushed an overpass that came off of a good serve by Miller, and Foecke terminated once again for an 18-16 lead. But Michigan turned to its All-American, Skjodt, for three straight kills to put Michigan back up 19-18. The teams traded sideouts until Sun connected on back-to-back kills for a 22-21 Husker lead. Michigan scored three in a row though to grab set point at 24-22. Capri Davis subbed in and earned sideout for the Huskers, then Sweet and Schwarzenbach tied the set at 24-24 with a block. Michigan grabbed two more set points, but the Huskers answered each time. Foecke earned the Huskers their first set point at 27-26 after her kill followed one by Sweet, and Foecke finished it off at 28-26 with her 15th kill of the night.
Set 4: Foecke picked up where she left off in set three, posting three kills to lift the Huskers to a 6-3 lead. Stivrins and Sun tacked on kills before an ace by Foecke and a block by Sun and Stivrins made it 10-4 Huskers. Nebraska needed a timeout after Michigan scored the next three points to get within 10-7, and the Wolverines went ahead 13-12 after their run became a 9-2 run. Sun and Sweet got the Huskers back on top, and Schwarzenbach and Foecke added kills as the Huskers regained a 17-14 lead with a 5-1 spurt. Michigan got back within one, but Foecke continued to blast away with two more kills, and Sun dropped two kills to the floor for a 21-17 advantage. Michigan would not go away, scoring a 5-0 run to go up 22-21. Stivrins earned an important sideout for the Huskers and served an ace to make it 23-22 Huskers. Sun tooled a Michigan block for match point at 24-22, but the Wolverines fought it off with a pair of kills by Jones. Sun's 17th kill made it 25-24 Huskers and gave Nebraska another chance at match point, and this time a block by Schwarzenbach and Sweet ended it at 26-24.
Up Next: Nebraska is off until next Friday when it travels to play at No. 12 Purdue and at Indiana on back-to-back nights. Those are the final two road non-conference matches of the season.