The No. 3 Nebraska volleyball team opened up Big Ten Conference play with a 25-15, 25-19, 25-23 sweep of Michigan State in front of 8,282 fans on Friday night at the Bob Devaney Sports Center.
With the Nebraska victory, head coach John Cook celebrated his 800th career win. He became the 19th coach in NCAA Division I Volleyball history to reach 800 career wins and sixth active coach to do so.
The Huskers (9-1, 1-0 B1G) trailed just twice in the match, falling behind early in the first and third sets. It marked their eighth sweep on the season, and their 13th straight win over the Spartans.
Nebraska hit .224 and held Michigan State to .170. The Huskers had advantages in kills (43-27), assists (39-25), digs (43-37) and committed five fewer service errors than MSU. The Spartans out-blocked the Huskers, 9-6.
Madi Kubik paced Nebraska with 14 kills, her seventh double-digit effort on the season. Lindsay Krause notched six kills on .429 hitting. Bekka Allick, Kaitlyn Hord and Maggie Mendelson also tallied six kills and added two blocks apiece. Hord hit .455 for the Big Red, while Allick hit .308.
Whitney Lauenstein recorded five kills with a pair of blocks to round out the Nebraska attack.
Anni Evans led the Husker attack with 18 assists. Kennedi Orr added 14 assists and eight digs. Lexi Rodriguez was all over the court with 13 digs and six assists.
Evie Doezema led Michigan State (9-3, 0-1 B1G) with eight kills.
Set 1: Nebraska went up 10-4 early in set one with six kills on nine swings. Kubik had three to get the Huskers off on the right foot. The Huskers went up by eight, 16-8, after kills by Hord and Lauenstein. After MSU cut it to 16-10, Kubik and Allick posted kills to gain a 19-11 advantage for the Big Red. The Huskers finished off a 25-15 win, hitting .379 while Michigan State hit .167.
Set 2: Kubik, Lauenstein, Allick and Mendelson all put down kills to help the Huskers to an 8-3 lead. The Spartans took a timeout after Nebraska went up by six, 12-6, via kills by Mendelson, Krause and Hord and a block by Hord and Lauenstein. The Spartans pulled within 16-13 before a service error, a kill by Lauenstein and a kill by Krause boosted the Huskers back to a 20-14 advantage. Michigan State would not go away though. The Spartans scored three in a row to cut it to 20-17. But the Huskers held off the comeback attempt, as kills by Kubik and Allick restored a 23-18 lead. Allick terminated another kill for set point, and she teamed up with Mendelson for the winning block, 25-18.
Set 3: Allick and Kubik each had kills and teamed up for a block as Nebraska claimed a 6-2 lead. But the Spartans put together a 5-3 spurt to pull within 9-7. Kubik posted three straight kills to make it 14-10, and she added another before Krause connected on her sixth kill for a 16-11 lead. Hord and Mendelson blocked a Spartan attack, increasing NU’s lead to 19-12. The Huskers led 22-16 when Michigan State ripped off a 6-0 run to tie the score at 22-22. Evans subbed in to set from the front row and assisted Allick for a kill. She then assisted Mendelson for a kill and match point at 24-22, and the Huskers won 25-23 on Kubik’s 14th kill.
Up Next: The Huskers host No. 7 Ohio State on Saturday at 7 p.m. at the Devaney Center.