Provo, Utah - The No. 7 Nebraska volleyball team opened the BYU Nike Invitational on Friday night with a hard-fought 3-1 win (21-25, 25-18, 25-17, 25-15) after host-school BYU took the first set of the match.
Playing back in her home state of Utah, Sydney Anderson tied her season best with 25 assists, while Morgan Broekhuis chipped in a career-best 13 kills on 29 swings (.310). Kayla Banwarth added a match-high 20 digs and Brooke Delano put up a match-high six blocks.
Nebraska started sloppy in the set one, as it gave BYU an early 10-6 lead due to five Husker errors, including three attack errors. Following a timeout by Head Coach John Cook, the Huskers would rally and battle back to tie the match at 15 apiece following a solo stuff of Christie Carpenter by Lindsey Licht. During the 9-5 run, Nebraska committed just one error.
The Cougars came clawing back with their own run to take a 20-18 lead behind two kills from Carpenter and a service ace by Kiana Rogers. Nebraska would get within one at 21-20 following a service error from Stephanie Snow, but it would be the closest the Huskers would get as the Cougars would finish on a 4-1 run to take the first set, 25-21.
The Huskers again gave BYU an early gift in set two with the Cougars' first five points coming off Nebraska errors, but BYU was just as careless with five early errors of its own, including three straight service errors. With the match tied a 6-6, Anderson notched in her first service ace of the season to give the Huskers a lead that they would hold the rest of the set.
The Huskers kept putting points away, eventually building a 17-11 lead behind two kills each from Broekhuis and Hannah Werth, as well as a kill and block from Tara Mueller. Mueller would later add another kill and an ace, while Jordan Wilberger and Broekhuis combined for a block to put Nebraska within three points of a second-set win at 22-16. Following a NU timeout, Broekhuis put away a kill and a block, before Delano netted her first kill of the set to tie the match at 1-1.
After BYU hit at a .375 clip in set one, the Nebraska defense stepped up its game in set two and held the Cougars to a .032 hitting percentage. While on offense, Nebraska cut its 14 first-set attack errors in half to seven in set two.
After a service ace from Anderson started set three, the two teams would trade points until Nebraska took the first two-point lead of the set at 8-6 following a kill by Licht. Nebraska would steadily keep a two-point lead until 11-9, when the Huskers put up a quick 5-2 run to gain some breathing room at 16-11, with Licht and Delano combining for a block and a kill each along with two Cougar service errors.
BYU would answer with four of the next six points to get back within three (18-15), but Nebraska would fire back with a 3-1 run of its own to build a five-point cushion at 21-16, with the last two points coming on kills from Broekhuis. Following a BYU timeout, a kill by Jessica Jardine would be the Cougars final point in the set, as a service error by Kathryn LeCheminant combined with three straight points with Banwarth serving, including an ace, would give Nebraska a 2-1 lead after a third-set win, 25-17.
Nebraska found its rhythm at the net in set three, as they hit .282, after hitting .167 in set one and .125 in set two. Anderson and Lauren Cook combined for 12 assists, as Broekhuis and Mueller each totaled four kills in the set, while Delano and Licht added three a piece.
The Huskers hit the gas to start set four, taking the first three points with kills from Wilberger and Mueller, as well as a block from Delano. After a block from LeChemiant got BYU on the board, Cook served three straight points with an ace and back-to-back kills from Werth to take and the lead, 7-1. The closest the Cougars would get was within five at 11-6, as the Huskers would assert their dominance in the fourth set by a score of 25-15 to take the match 3-1.
The Huskers stepped up the offense in set four with 14 kills on just 32 swings (.312). Anderson chipped in eight assists, as Werth produced four kills in the set, while five other Huskers put away two kills apiece.
The Huskers will return to Smith Fieldhouse tomorrow their final two matches of the BYU Nike Invitational against Cal Poly at 1 p.m. and Idaho State at 6 p.m., both time Central. Fans can listen to all of the action with John Baylor and Lindsay Peterson on the 25-station Husker Sports Network, including B107.3 FM in Lincoln and Twister 93.3 FM in Omaha. Fans outside the state will also be able to listen to a live audio feed for free on Huskers.com. Live stats of both matches will be available at BYUCougars.com and the link can also be found on Huskers.com.