It wasn’t easy but the Nebraska volleyball team advanced to its NCAA-record 38th regional appearance with a 3-1 victory over Kansas Friday night at the Devaney Center.
The No. 2 seed Huskers won the first two sets in relatively easy fashion (25-14 and 25-18) before Kansas took set three by a score of 25-19. The fourth set featured 13 ties and eight lead changes with the score within two points for the final 26 rallies, but Nebraska got back-to-back kills from Bekka Allick and Lindsay Krause to pull out a 26-24 victory to seal the match.
With the win, Nebraska (26-5) advanced to an NCAA Regional for the 11th consecutive season and for the 28th time in the past 29 seasons. Kansas saw its season end with a 19-11 record, as the Huskers improved to 88-0-1 all-time against the Jayhawks.
Nebraska hit .232 in the match while limiting Kansas to a .152 attack percentage. The Huskers finished with 13 more kills (58-45) and 11 more digs (71-60) than the Jayhawks, while KU out-blocked Nebraska 13-11. Kansas also had four services aces, while Nebraska had one ace.
Four Huskers finished in double-figure kills led by Krause’s 13 kills on .357 hitting. Madi Kubik and Ally Batenhorst each had 10 kills and produced double-doubles. Allick had nine kills on a .562 attack percentage, Kaitlyn Horn led NU with seven blocks and Kubik led Nebraska with 16 digs. Nicklin Hames returned to the lineup and had 25 assists, while Anni Evans finished with 20 assists.
Rhian Swanson – who did not play in the first set – led Kansas with a match-high 14 kills. Kennedy Farris produced a match-high 17 digs and Rachel Langs had a match-high nine blocks.
Set 1: Back-to-back blocks by Allick – one with Batenhorst and one with Lauenstein – put the Huskers on top, 5-2. Hord and Krause had a block before Kubik terminated a kill and then teamed up with Hord for a block and a 13-8 lead. After a service error, the Huskers rattled off four points in a row to go up 17-9. Batenhorst had two kills in that stretch. The Jayhawks came back with three points to cut it to 17-12, but the Big Red responded with kills by Lauenstein and Batenhorst and benefited from three Kansas errors to go back up 22-13. Krause and Kubik recorded consecutive kills, and the Huskers won the opening set, 25-14.
Set 2: Kansas led 11-10 when Hord and Batenhorst posted kills to put NU back in front. After a kill by KU’s Rachel Langs tied the set at 13-13, the Huskers reeled off five kills in a row to go up 18-13. Allick and Kubik each had two, and Batenhorst had one. Nebraska led 20-16 before kills by Hord and Batenhorst added to the advantage. Allick closed out the set with two kills for a 25-18 win. Nebraska hit .395 in the second set.
Set 3: The Jayhawks used a 4-0 run to take an 8-5 lead, and the Jayhawks led by as many as five at 17-12. Nebraska strung together a three-point run with kills by Batenhorst and Kubik to get within 17-15, but Kansas answered with three kills and a block to go up by six, 21-15. Kansas closed out the third set, 25-19.
Set 4: With the score tied 6-6, Hord put together two blocks (with Krause and Lauenstein) and a kill to spark the Big Red to a 9-6 lead. The Huskers remained ahead at 13-10 after a Batenhorst kill, but Kansas went on a 5-1 run to take a 15-14 advantage. The Jayhawks had three kills, a block and an ace to put them back in front. Allick and Krause quickly responded for the Huskers with back-to-back kills, but Langs answered with a kill and a block for the Jayhawks to make it 17-16. NU went back in front, 18-17, after kills by Krause and Kubik, but once again Kansas had an answer as Swanson terminated and a Husker hitting error made it 19-18 Jayhawks. Hord stepped up for the Huskers yet again with a kill and a block with Batenhorst, as the Huskers went back ahead 20-19. But Kansas came right back with back-to-back kills to go back up, 21-20. The Jayhawks served long to tie the score at 23-23, and a Krause kill earned NU match point at 24-23. Kansas got a block to tie the score at 24-24, but Allick tipped a kill to the floor for a 25-24 match point. Krause finished off the match with her 13th kill for a 26-24 win.
Up Next: The Huskers move on to the NCAA regional semifinals next Thursday. Nebraska’s opponent and location will not be known until Saturday night. If the No. 1 seed in the region, Louisville, advances to the NCAA regional semifinals, it will host the regional next Thursday and Saturday. Should Louisville get upset by No. 8 seed Purdue on Saturday night, the Huskers would then host the regional at the Devaney Center.
Nebraska Post-Match Notes
- With the win, Nebraska improved to 88-0-1 all-time against Kansas.
- Nebraska advanced to an NCAA Regional for the 38th time in program history and for the 28th time in the past 29 seasons. The Huskers’ 38 trips to an NCAA Regional are the most in NCAA history.
- The Huskers have advanced to 11 consecutive NCAA Regionals, the second-longest active streak in the country.
- With the win, Nebraska improved to 125-35 all-time in the NCAA Tournament. The Huskers rank second in NCAA history in postseason wins and winning percentage (.781).
- Nebraska improved to 28-2 all-time in second-round NCAA Tournament matches.
- NU improved to 79-7 all-time in NCAA Tournament home matches, including a 24-2 record at the Devaney Center. The Huskers have won 18 consecutive home matches in the NCAA Tournament.
- The Huskers won the first two sets tonight and are 95-1 in the NCAA Tournament when winning taking a 2-0 lead. Nebraska has won 94 consecutive postseason matches when winning the first two sets.
- The Huskers improved to 58-1 all-time against unranked opponents in the NCAA Tournament. Overall, Nebraska has won 105 consecutive matches against unranked opponents dating back to 2017.
- John Cook improved to 92-23 in his NCAA Tournament career.
- Cook is now 84-18 in the NCAA Tournament as Nebraska’s head coach. His .824 postseason winning percentage at Nebraska is the top mark in NCAA history among any coach with at least 25 NCAA Tournament matches at one school.
- Nebraska held Kansas to only two kills and an -.250 attack percentage in the first set, the first time the Jayhawks hit negative in a set this season. Entering the match, the lowest attack percentage for Kansas in its first 110 sets of the season was .000 against Texas Tech.
- Kansas had 17 kills in set three after totaling only 14 kills in the first two sets combined.
- In set two, Bekka Allick (5-0-9), Ally Batenhorst (3-0-5), Lindsay Krause (3-0-4) and Kaitlyn Hord (3-0-6) combined for 14 kills and 0 errors on 24 swings, posting a .583 attack percentage.
- Lindsay Krause was blocked in the third set on her 32nd swing of the NCAA Tournament. It marked her first error of the postseason, as she began the NCAA Tournament with 15 kills on 31 error-free swings.
- Krause led Nebraska with 13 kills against Kansas on .357 hitting. Through the first two NCAA Tournament matches, Krause has 23 kills on a .417 attack percentage.
- Allick had nine kills on 16 error-free swings against Kansas. Through the first two NCAA Tournament matches, Allick had 13 kills on 23 swings with one error to post a .522 attack percentage.
- Batenhorst produced a double-double with 10 kills and 10 digs. Her 10 digs were one shy of her career high.
- Kubik also had a double-double with 10 kills and 16 digs. Her 16 digs were a season high and were one shy of her career high.
- Hord had seven blocks against Kansas, and she has 16 blocks through the first two NCAA Tournament matches.
- Lexi Rodriguez had 14 digs against Kansas, and she has 33 digs through the first two NCAA Tournament matches, averaging 4.7 digs per set.
- Whitney Lauenstein tied her career high with seven digs against Kansas.
- Nicklin Hames (25) and Anni Evans (20) each had 20 assists in the match. That marked just the second time this season that two Nebraska setters had 20 assists in a match, as Hames and Evans also had 20 assists each in the five-set win at Creighton on Sept. 7.