Lincoln, Neb. - The fourth-ranked Nebraska volleyball team proved to be too much for defending National Champion and No. 1 UCLA on Saturday night as the Huskers beat the Bruins 3-2 (25-20, 25-23, 23-25, 19-25, 15-13) in front of 4,186 roaring fans at the NU Coliseum.
The Huskers are now 10-5 when facing UCLA, as NU avenged a 3-2 loss to the Bruins from the 2009 season. Tonight's win was the third time Nebraska has defeated a No. 1 UCLA team. The Huskers last beat a No. 1 Team last year, taking down Illinois 3-1 on Oct. 22, 2011.
Freshman Meghan Haggerty put on an impressive display on the night as she recorded a team-high 17 kills on 25 swings for a .600 hitting percentage. She also notched three blocks. Seniors Gina Mancuso and Hannah Werth put the team on their shoulders with 15 and 12 kills, respectively. Werth tallied 17 digs for her second-straight double-double of the season. With that dig total, she has surpassed the 1,000 career dig mark, becoming the 11th Husker to reach that milestone
Lauren Cook guided the Husker offense with 56 assists, tabbing two aces and also leading the team in digs with 22. Lara Dykstra notched 20 digs, while Hayley Thramer also posted six blocks on the night.
The Huskers out-dug the Bruins 85-76 and recorded 10 total team blocks to UCLA's 15. The Huskers hit .207 for the match, while UCLA hit. 227.
Nebraska came out ready to play in the first set, taking an early 4-0 lead on an attack error by UCLA. Another error put NU up 10-5 and forced the Bruins to use a timeout. UCLA cut it to 17-16 after the Huskers committed a service error, but Nebraska would build a small lead to earn a 21-19 advantage behind a kill from Haggerty. Nebraska closed out UCLA 25-20 to take the first set.
Haggerty led Nebraska in set one with four kills, while Mancuso and Thramer both recorded three kills of their own. Cook had eight assists, while the team had 14 digs. Nebraska held UCLA to a .029 hitting percentage, but were out-blocked 5-2.
UCLA came back in the second set, fighting with the Huskers for every point. Mancuso helped the Huskers take away the momentum from the Bruins with a kill to make it 11-9, UCLA. The Bruins would build a small lead at 13-19, but Nebraska would not back down. The Huskers posted eight consecutive points to take a 20-19 lead, behind four kills from Mancuso and two from Broekhuis. A kill by UCLA tied it at 23-23, but Nebraska took down the Bruins 25-23 in the second set.
Mancuso recorded six kills in the second set, while both Werth and Dykstra had four digs. Cook notched 14 assists as the Huskers hit .310 and UCLA hit .333.
With everything going the Huskers' way in the first two sets, UCLA kicked it into another gear in set three, coming out hot and posting a 8-4 lead over NU. Nebraska could not gain any momentum, trailing 20-15 as the Huskers were forced to take a timeout. With a kill by Mancuso to make it 21-20 UCLA, Nebraska began to slowly inch back, eventually tying the set at 23. UCLA would spoil the Husker sweep, taking the third set 25-23.
Mancuso had four kills in the set, while Cook recorded 13 assists and six digs. Nebraska was out-hit .256-.179 in the set, but out-dug the Bruins 21-18.
The two teams exchanged leads early in the fourth set, with UCLA eventually taking a 10-6 lead on an attack error by NU. A block by Thramer would make it 17-14, UCLA, while Nebraska used a double-stuff block by Thramer and Haggerty to take away from the Bruins' 19-16 lead. UCLA would end up scoring three-straight points to take the fourth set 25-19 and send the match to a fifth set.
Broekhuis and Haggerty both tabbed four kills in the set, while Cook had 10 assists and five digs. Nebraska hit just .908, as UCLA hit .263.
UCLA would open the fifth and final set with four consecutive points before a kill by Mancuso would give Nebraska their first point of the set. Werth punched in a kill to make it 7-5, UCLA, but Nebraska could not capitalize and gave the Bruins an 11-8 advantage. A three-point run resulted in the Huskers tying the set at 11-11, but UCLA would then go up 13-11. Nebraska tied it at 13 on a kill by Broekhuis and NU would not look back, taking the set 15-13 and sealing the victory.
Broekhuis led Nebraska in the fifth set, with two decisive kills to give Nebraska the win and totaling five in the set. Cook recorded 11 assists and Nebraska hit .333, as the Bruins hit .250. Nebraska out-dug UCLA 13-10 and out-blocked the Bruins 2-1.
The Huskers will close their busy opening weekend with a match-up with the Notre Dame Fighting Irish tomorrow at the CenturyLink Center in Omaha. The match is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. and can be seen live on NET and on BTN.com with a subscription.