Huskers Thrash Tigers in NCAA Opener
Lincoln, Neb. - The second-seeded Nebraska volleyball opened the NCAA Tournament with a dominating sweep against overmatched Jackson State on Thursday night in front of 4,192 fans at the NU Coliseum. In winning their NCAA opener for the 28th consecutive season, the Huskers had a run of at least seven straight points in every set and trailed for a total of seven rallies in the 25-10, 25-16, 25-13 win.
With the victory, Nebraska (25-4) advances to Friday's second-round match at 7 p.m. (Central) against former conference rival Kansas State, who swept Wichita State in Thursday's first match. Jackson State ended its season with a 29-10 record.
Gina Mancuso and Brooke Delano paced a balanced Nebraska attack with 10 kills each, combining for 20 kills on only 36 swings. Morgan Broekhuis added nine kills on 13 error-free swings, while Hannah Werth recorded seven kills and 11 digs. Nebraska hit .438 in the match, hitting .500 or better in sets one and three.
Defensively, the Huskers limited Jackson State to an .022 attack percentage. Nebraska totaled six blocks, as Jackson State committed 21 errors on the night. The Huskers also tallied 38 digs, with Lauren Cook tying Werth for match-high honors with 11. Cook also added 35 assists. Nebraska was also strong at the service line, recording five aces, including two from Broekhuis.
Christine Edwards led Jackson State with a match-high 15 kills. She was one of only four Tigers to record a kill in the match, and she took 49 of Jackson State's 90 total swings.
Nebraska cruised to a first-set victory over an error-prone Jackson State team. After trailing by one early, the Huskers scored eight straight points to take a 10-3 lead. The final six points of Nebraska's run came courtesy of Tiger hitting errors, including a pair of Husker blocks. After trading points, Nebraska used another 8-0 run to take a 21-7 lead. Mancuso had three kills for NU during the run, while Werth showed off her new jump serve by serving seven straight points. Jackson State recorded its 10th point in the 32nd rally of the set before the Huskers scored the final three points, taking the set on a Broekhuis kill. Nebraska hit .500 in the set with 12 kills on just 20 swings, while Jackson State had six kills, nine errors and hit -.107. Mancuso paced Nebraska with five kills in the set.
Jackson State held three early leads in set two, including its only multi-point advantage of the match. Trailing 6-3, a Werth kill snapped a streak of three straight Tiger points and ignited a 7-0 run that gave Nebraska a 10-6 advantage. A Husker blocker in the net and a Nebraska service error were Jackson State's only points in a 13-point stretch that turned their three-point lead into a six-point deficit. A Paige Williams' kill then sparked a quick 3-1 Jackson State run that trimmed the lead to 15-11, and the Tigers pulled as close as three before Nebraska answered. The Huskers won eight of the final 10 rallies - including five straight at one point - to close out a 25-16 victory on a Mancuso kill. Werth had five kills in the set, while Delano added four. Nebraska's hitting percentage dropped to .343 in the set, while Jackson State's climbed to .133, but the Huskers recorded seven more kills and one fewer error than the Tigers.
After earning a lead in each of the first two sets, Jackson State trailed for all of set three. Cook served seven straight points to open the set, and Nebraska never looked back. Three Huskers had a kill during the run, including three from Mancuso. Nebraska continued to cruise, as three straight Husker blocks capped a 5-0 run that put Nebraska on top 15-3 and forced a Jackson State timeout. NU led by at least 10 the rest of the way, and Delano closed out the match with her 10th kill. The Huskers hit a match-high .520 in the final set, putting down 15 kills on 25 swings, with only two errors. Jackson State had eight kills and seven errors in the finale.