The No. 2 Nebraska volleyball team went on the road and picked up a 27-25, 25-20, 25-16 sweep of No. 13 Kentucky on Sunday at Memorial Coliseum for their second top-20 road win this season in as many tries.
The Huskers (8-1) trailed most of the first set before rallying to win late, took over the second set midway through and dominated from start to finish in the third set.
Whitney Lauenstein had 11 kills and hit .370 to go with three blocks. Madi Kubik had nine kills and nine digs. Both Lauenstein and Kubik served a pair of aces. Lindsay Krause added nine kills on .304 hitting. Bekka Allick provided five kills on .625 hitting with a team-best six blocks.
Kennedi Orr paced the Husker attack with 20 assists. Anni Evans chipped in 16. Kaitlyn Hord had five kills and four blocks in her hometwon, and Maggie Mendelson added four kills and three blocks.
Kentucky (5-4) entered the match with the No. 2 hitting percentage in the nation (.326), but hit just .141 against the Huskers. NU out-blocked the Wildcats, 10-3.
Lexi Rodriguez had a match-high 15 digs.
Reagan Rutherford had nine kills to lead UK.
Set 1: Kentucky separated from an 8-8 tie with a pair of aces after a Husker service error to go up 11-8. Lauenstein and Hord blasted kills to pull back two points, and after Kentucky hit long on back-to-back rallies, the score was tied 13-13. A block by Allick and Mendelson tied the score at 15-15, and the score remained tied at 17-17 before Kentucky broke out to a 21-17 via a 4-0 run. The Wildcats led 22-18 when a service error was followed by Lauenstein’s second ace of the set to cut it to 22-20. After a service error, Kubik, Krause and Mendelson answered with kills to tie the score at 23-23. After a Kentucky timeout, Krause connected again from the left pin for set point, 24-23, Nebraska’s first lead since 2-1. But a service error was followed by a UK solo block and the Wildcats then had set point, 25-24. Mendelson tipped a kill to the floor to make it 25-25, and Krause hammered a kill through a block to make it 26-25 NU. Kentucky attacked wide to give the Huskers a 27-25 win. NU hit .273, while UK hit .173.
Set 2: The Huskers went up 7-4 after Allick was in on three blocks – one with Lauenstein, one with Kuibk and one with Mendelson. Kentucky tied the score at 9-9, but a UK service error and a kill by Kubik put NU back up 11-9. Two kills by Kubik and one by Allick put the Huskers up 15-13 at the media timeout. After the break, the Huskers made a service error and Kentucky followed with a kill and an ace to go up 16-15. Krause connected to side out, but Emma Grome answered for Kentucky. Then Lauenstein recorded a kill and teamed up with Hord for a block, and a Kentucky net violation had the Huskers up 19-17. After a Kentucky timeout, a setting error by the Wildcats preceded another kill by Kubik that made it 21-17 Huskers. Kenzie Knuckles haunted UK with a short serve as NU went up 22-17. Kills by Lauenstein and Allick gave NU set point at 24-18. Kentucky fought off two points to get within 24-20, but Lauenstein ended it with a kill on the right pin. Nebraska hit .278 in set two and held Kentucky to .081.
Set 3: Knuckles opened the scoring for the Huskers with a kill and then continued to baffle the Wildcats with a short serve, resulting in two bad sets, a solo block by Hord and a kill by Lauenstein to make it 5-1 Huskers. Kubik connected again, and Orr quick set Allick for a kill that made it 7-3 Big Red. Orr set Lauenstein for her ninth kill and an 8-3 lead, and Kubik and Allick stuffed a UK attack for a 9-3 advantage. The Huskers won a long rally when Kubik terminated for an 11-4 lead. Mendelson tallied another kill and Kubik served back-to-back aces as NU went up 14-5. Hord added a pair of blocks with Mendelson and Lauenstein, then smashed a kill for a 19-10 lead. Mendelson tacked on a kill, and Krause and Allick recorded Nebraska’s 10th block, making it 23-12. Krause killed again for match point, and the Huskers finished the sweep at 25-16 on a tip kill by Hord.
Up Next: Nebraska begins Big Ten play next weekend at home. The Huskers host Michigan State on Friday at 7 p.m. and No. 5 Ohio State on Saturday at 7 p.m.