Lawrence, Kan. – The ninth-ranked Nebraska volleyball team put together one of its best performances of the season in sweeping Kansas, 3-0 (25-15, 25-12, 25-18) Saturday afternoon
Nebraska (21-6, 14-4 Big 12) hit .433 as a team, its second-best offensive day of the season, as Kori Cooper Tara Mueller and Hannah Werth all finished in double figures. Cooper reached double figure in kills for the sixth time this season with a team-high 11 kills on .600 hitting and two blocks, while Werth and Mueller added 10 kills apiece as the duo combined to hit .425. Sydney Anderson dished out 44 assists and helped NU hit .370 or better in all three sets, as all five attacker finished with at least seven kills.
Mueller put together one of her best all-around matches of the season, hitting .474 and adding nine digs and a pair of service aces. She took over in the finale, as Nebraska used a 9-1 run to overcome a 14-12 deficit to completing its 15th sweep of the season.
Nebraska also clamped down defensively, holding Kansas (15-13, 7-11 Big 12) to just .089 hitting, including below .000 through the first two sets. Kayla Banwarth totaled a match-high 11 digs while NU held the Jayhawks without an ace. Nebraska turned on the pressure in the first set, closing the opener on an 11-2 run to claim a 25-15 victory. Nebraska hit .370 in the set, as Mueller and Werth totaled four kills apiece on just a combined 12 swings. The Huskers held KU in check, holding the Jayhawks to -.040 hitting in the opener. The Huskers jumped out early, building an early 9-6 lead as Mueller had three early kills for the Huskers. Kansas chipped away at the lead, getting to within 14-13, but the Huskers took over. A KU service error and a Mueller kill pushed the lead to three points and forced a Jayhawk timeout. NU continued to roll, as two kills and a solo stuff from Brooke Delano and a Mueller ace helped NU take a commanding 21-14 cushion and put the set out of reach.
The Huskers continued to roll in the second set, hitting .516 as a team in steamrolling to a 25-12 victory. NU’s middle attack did most of the damage, as Cooper and Delano combined for 10 of the Huskers’ 18 kills in the set. Cooper totaled seven kills on eight swings, while NU was able to run points of the serving of Anderson, Banwarth and Weth, getting runs of 8-1 and 7-0 to take a 2-0 lead into the intermission. The Huskers had three kills in the first 12 points, as Nebraska used an 8-1 spurt to take a 10-2 lead after a Delano kill. KU pulled to within 15-7 before strong serving from Anderson keyed a 7-0 spurt, as Cooper had two kills and block in the surge to help NU extend the margin to 22-7.
Mueller came up big in the finale with four kills on .571 hitting, a big solo block and keyed a decisive serving run in a 25-18 victory. Nebraska took an early 7-4 lead only to see the Jayhawks run off three straight points to knot the score at seven and eventually take an 11-10 lead. KU eventually built a 14-12 cushion, but Mueller took over for Nebraska during a 8-1 run. The junior had three kills and a block before a Mancuso back-row kill made it 17-15 and forced Kansas take timeout. Mueller came out of the timeout with an ace and ran off three more points, as Nebraska pushed the margin to 21-16 after an Anderson kill. The run was the difference, as Nebraska continued to side out to close out the match.
Allison Mayfield led Kansas with 10 kills while Karina Garlington added eight, as the two outside hitters combined for 18 of Kansas’ 26 kills.
The Huskers return to action on Wednesday, Nov. 25, as they travel to Kansas State. First serve is set for 7 p.m. and the match will be carried on selected Husker Sports Network stations and on the Internet at Huskers.com.