Evanston, Ill.- The No. 2 Nebraska volleyball team (24-4, 17-3) could not overcome the Northwestern Wildcats on Saturday night, dropping the match 3-1 (20-25, 25-9, 21-25, 23-25).
Four Huskers totaled double-doubles on the night as Lauren Cook notched 38 assists and 15 digs, Gina Mancuso had 13 kills and 17 digs, Morgan Broekhuis recorded 12 kills and 10 digs and Hannah Werth had 15 kills and 14 digs.
Nebraska notched a total of 76 digs on the night, compared to Northwestern's 78. The Huskers out-blocked the Wildcats 11-8, while posting a hitting percentage of .186. The Wildcats hit .099.
Northwestern came out ready to play in the first set, taking an early 7-4 lead. A kill and block by Werth tied the set at 7-7, but the set was tied four more times before Northwestern went up 15-14 and forced Nebraska to use a timeout. Wilberger tied the set at 15 with a kill, while Werth used another kill to put NU ahead 19-18 and force Northwestern to use a timeout. The Wildcat's used a six-point run to go up 24-19 on Nebraska and closed out the Huskers with a 25-20 first set win.
Werth led Nebraska in the first set with four kills and six digs, while Mancuso had three kills and five digs of her own. Cook tabbed nine assists, but Nebraska hit just .089 in the first set. Northwestern hit .119, while both teams had a total of three blocks.
The Huskers went up 3-0 in the second set, and used a kill by Wilberger to take a 6-1 lead. Four consecutive points put Nebraska ahead 11-3, as NU then took a 13-4 lead and forced the Wildcats to use another timeout. An error by Northwestern gave the Huskers a 10 point lead at 15-5, while a kill from Broekhuis gave NU a 19-8 advantage. The Huskers used four-straight points to take the second set 25-9 and tie the match at 1-1.
In a dominant second set Werth led the team with five kills and two digs. Broekhuis had two kills and three digs, while Mancuso notched two kills on five digs. Cook tallied seven assists in the second set as the Huskers hit .219. NU out-dug the Wildcats 20-15 and out-blocked them 4-1, while the Wildcats -.205.
Broekhuis tied the third set early at 4-4 on a kill, while Werth gave Nebraska a 7-6 lead. An error by Northwestern put NU up 13-9 and forced the Wildcats to use a timeout. Northwestern tied the set at 15 and carried that momentum to go up 18-16. A service ace by the Wildcats put them ahead 21-17 and while a block from Nebraska made it 21-19, Northwestern, it would not be enough. The Wildcats went on to take the third set 25-21, leading the match 2-1.
Mancuso had five kills and three digs in the third set, while Broekhuis and Werth both had three kills and three digs each. Cook notched 13 assists as the Huskers hit .184. Nebraska had 15 total digs and three team blocks. Northwestern hit .220 in the third set, while notching 17 team digs and three team blocks.
The Wildcats came out fighting in the fourth set, tying it at 5-5 on a service ace. Werth then tied the set at 7-7 on a kill, but the Wildcats did not back down and took a 10-8 lead as they forced Nebraska to use a timeout. A kill from Broekhuis tied the set at 12-12, as the Huskers and Wildcats would tie seven more times before Northwestern took a 21-19 lead. Back-to-back errors by Northwestern put NU within one at 22-21. Nebraska tied it up at 23-23, but Northwestern would not let go and took the fourth set 25-23 and the match 3-1.
Broekhuis had five kills in the fourth set, while Mancuso and Werth both had three. Cook tabbed nine assists and eight digs, while Lara Dykstra had five digs. The Huskers hit .268 in the fourth set, while Northwestern hit .220. Nebraska and Northwestern both had 22 team digs and one team block.
The Huskers will now wait until tomorrow at 5 p.m. when the 2011 NCAA Tournament field is announced live on ESPNU. If the Huskers are selected as one of the 16 host sites for the first and second rounds tickets will go on sale Monday morning at 8 a.m. on Huskers.com, by calling the NU Ticket Office at 800-8-BIGRED or in person at the NU Athletic Ticket Office.