Lincoln, Neb.- The No. 4 Nebraska volleyball) team (17-1, 10-0) made history Saturday night, overcoming the No. 1 Illinois Fighting Illini in a 3-1 (24-26, 25-18, 25-19, 25-11) victory. With the win, the Huskers advance as the only undefeated team in Big Ten Conference play.
The last time a Husker team beat the No. 1 team in the country was on Sept. 6, 1990 when the No. 3 Huskers took down No. 1 UCLA in a 3-2 win.
Morgan Broekhuis led Nebraska on the night with 17 kills and a career-high-tying 11 digs for the fourth double-double of her career. She paced three other Huskers for double-digit kills as Gina Mancuso tallied 15, Brooke Delano had 11 and Hannah Werth tabbed 14. Mancuso also notched 14 digs for her 10th double-double in addition to Werth who had a team-high 17 digs for her fifth double-double of the year.
Hayley Thramer was on fire at the net for the Huskers, racking up a career-high 10 blocks. Lauren Cook had 54 assists in leading the NU to a .361 team hitting percentage for the match.
The Huskers out-blocked the Fighting Illini 11-5 for the match and out-dug Illinois by 20 (70-50). NU held Illinois to a .196 hitting percentage for the match. The Fighting Illini also committed 23 errors, compared to NU's 14.
In the first set NU came out to an early 6-3 lead on a kill by Broekhuis. The Fighting Illini would eventually tie that match at 14 and again at 15 apiece, but Nebraska went up 17-15 on an error by Illinois. NU saw Illinois come back to lead 21-19. Nebraska fought back to eventually tie the set at 24 on another error by Illinois, but the Huskers could not capitalize and lost the set 26-24.
Delano, Werth and Broekhuis had four kills in the first set for NU, and Mancuso and Thramer each had three. The Huskers hit .412 compared to Illinois' .429 for the set. Nebraska out-dug Illinois 12-10 and had three team blocks.
Nebraska went ahead 7-2 in the second set with an attack error by Illinois. The Huskers then posted five straight-points to go up 16-9. A kill by Werth made it 20-15, Nebraska and helped catapult NU to 23-17 lead. Nebraska did not look back and took the second set 25-18, tying the match at one set apiece.
Nebraska saw Broekhuis tally five kills in the second set, while Mancuso and Werth each had two. Lauren Cook tabbed seven assists and the Huskers notched five team blocks. While Nebraska had a hitting percentage of .098, Illinois had a hitting percentage of only .077.
NU jumped out to a 3-1 lead in the third set with a kill by Mancuso. Illinois came back to go up 7-6 on an error by the Huskers, but Nebraska tied it four different times before taking a 15-13 lead with an ace by Mancuso. Nebraska gained a definitive 20-14 advantage over Illinois and went on to take the third set 25-19, leading the match 2-1.
In the third set Mancuso had five kills as Delano, Broekhuis and Werth all had four. The Huskers hit a solid .400 for the set, while Illinois hit .179.
The Huskers' momentum carried them into the fourth set and did not let up as NU came out to a 5-1 lead. Nebraska went up 13-6 on a kill by Delano and forced Illinois to call a timeout. Seven-straight points led NU to a 22-9 advantage. Nebraska would only allow the Fighting Illini two more points as the Huskers sealed the 25-11 fourth-set win with a monstrous kill by Werth, giving Nebraska the 3-1 match victory.
In the fourth set Mancuso had five kills as Broekhuis and Werth each and four. Cook tallied 15 assists as Broekhuis and Lara Dykstra both had three digs. NU only committed one error and saw Illinois commit six. Nebraska hit an outstanding .696 for the set, as Illinois hit just .148.
Tonight's match can be seen on BTN tomorrow at 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Next weekend the Huskers travel to Columbus, Ohio to face the Ohio State Buckeyes on Friday, Oct. 28 and then head to University Park, Pa., for a showdown with the Penn State Nittany Lions on Saturday, Oct. 29.