- The No. 5 Nebraska volleyball team (24-2, 15-1 Big 12) swept its fifth straight opponent on Saturday night at the Coors Event Centers with a 3-0 win (25-21, 25-20, 25-17) over the Colorado Buffaloes (6-17, 3-14 Big 12). The win marked the first time since the 2004 and 2005 seasons that the Huskers have won in Boulder in consecutive seasons following a sweep in last year's regular-season finale.
"We were too inconsistent in the first two sets," Head Coach John Cook said. "But it's a Big 12 road win and we'll take it. Time to get ready for Oklahoma."
Lindsay Licht led the Huskers on the night in her final trip to her home state with 13 kills on .417 hitting. A native of Aurora, Colo., Licht put away eight kills in the first set. Brooke Delano joined Licht in double figures with 11 kills while Lauren Cook put up 19 assists and Sydney Anderson added 18 to help the Huskers hit .321 on the night.
Kayla Banwarth anchored the Husker defense with a match-high 17 digs and Hannah Werth notched 12. Licht, Delano, Allison McNeal and Tara Mueller all registered two blocks assists to hold the Buffaloes to .239 hitting.
The Buffs jumped out to a 5-0 lead before Licht got the Huskers on the board with a kill from Cook. The teams then swapped the next four rallies and the Huskers followed with two straight to cut the CU lead to two, 7-5. With Colorado still up two, 11-9, Licht put away a kill and Jordan Wilberger followed with a block to tie the set for the first time. The Husker could not take the lead though as Alyssa Valentine assisted on consecutive kills to Richi Bigelow and Anicia Santos to put the Buffs back up by two, 13-11.
Nebraska then came alive with a 6-1 run to take the lead at 17-14, with Mueller hammering down three kills during the run. Following a CU timeout the Buffs took four of the next six rallies to cut the Husker lead to one, 19-18, but NU answered with back-to-back kills from Wilberger and Licht to give the Huskers a bit of breathing room at 21-18. Cook hooked up with Licht three times down the stretch and CU committed an error to complete NU's comeback, 25-21.
The second set was much closer early as there were six ties prior to Colorado taking a two-point lead at 9-7. It didn't last long as Morgan Broekhuis notched a kill and Banwarth then served five straight points to put Nebraska up 12-9. The duo of Werth and Broekhuis powered the run with the two combining for five kills.
Colorado continued to fight on its home court as a 4-0 run quickly erased the Husker lead and put the Buffs up one, 13-12, resulting in a Husker timeout. The Huskers stayed calm and chipped away at the Buffs' lead to eventually take a 16-15 advantage following a kill from Licht. Colorado was out of comebacks and the Huskers end the set on a 9-5 run to take a 2-0 lead in the match.
After the teams traded the first four rallies of the third set the Huskers ran off five straight, including an ace from Banwarth, to take a 7-2 lead. Just like in the first two sets the Buffs stayed close with wins on six of the next eight rallies to get within one at 9-8. Colorado failed to overtake the Huskers as Nebraska responded with a 5-1 run to take at 14-9 lead, with McNeal totaling a kill and two blocks during the run.
Colorado took the next two rallies to cut the Husker lead to three, 14-11, but could get no closer as Nebraska won six of the next eight rallies to take a 20-12 lead. The Buffs were unable to make a comeback as the teams split the final 10 rallies, resulting in a 25-17 Husker win.
The Huskers will play just once next week as they will have a bye on Saturday. Nebraska will be at home on Wednesday night for a 7 p.m. match with the Oklahoma Sooners. The match will be shown across the state on NET and nationally on CBS College Sports, while it will also be available for free on Huskers.com. Fans can also listen to all of the action with John Baylor and Dianne Mendenhall on the 25-station Husker Sports Network, including B107.3 FM in Lincoln and Twister 93.3 FM in Omaha. Fans outside the network can find the audio stream for free on Huskers.com.