Huskers Deliver Night Sweep To Penn State Seniors
The 11th-ranked Nebraska volleyball team did business in a Senior Night sweep on Friday night, beating No.15 Penn State 3-0 (25-14, 25-23, 25 -23) at the Devaney Center. The Huskers’ victory in their home final in the regular season improves them to 20-6 (14-3 Big Ten) this season, while the Nittany Lions drop to 19-8 (12-5).
NU ended PSU’s four-game winning streak.
Madi Kubik led the Huskers with 12 kills and added three digs, two blocks and an ace.
Nicklin Hames The 18th double-double of the year, leading the team, had a record 38 assists and 14 digs, a high for the team, with four blocks, a high of the season.
Lexi Sun finished with eight kills, a block and an ace, and Kayla Cafe posted seven eliminations while hitting 0.636 without errors and two blocks. Lauren Stivrins totaled six kills, tied his season high with seven blocks and added an ace.
Whitney lauenstein came off the bench for a hard-hitting impact of five kills on .500 during the second and third sets. She added two blocks.
Lexi rodriguez and Keonilei Akana clashed with 13 digs for the night.
As a team, Nebraska only hit .186, but held Penn State at .088. The Huskers had the advantage in kills (42-30), assists (42-29), aces (4-1), recoveries (56-50) and blocks (10-7). PSU counted eight service errors.
Penn State was led by a record 14 kills from Jonni Parker, and Allie Holland had five blocks. The Huskers limited Kaitlyn Hord, the Big Ten’s leader in conference-only hitting percentage only, to just 0.125 for the game.
The Huskers capitalized on the PSU’s first three errors to lead 4-1 and extended it to 9-3 with the help of a block and ace from Stivrins and a Sun kill. The Nittany Lions were held without killing until Parker’s first at 10-5.
NU worked with a double-digit advantage by 19-9. A kill by Sun forced a PSU timeout to 20-11, and Kubik’s back-to-back kills eventually caused him to set the point at 24-13. PSU’s eighth attacking error of the set closed him at 25-14.
The Huskers dominated the set, keeping PSU at negative -.097 while also ranking at .242 themselves. Kubik had five kills and Sun had four more to lead NU, and Stivrins set the tone at the net with three saves as part of a Husker 4-2 blocking advantage. Rodriguez had seven of his 13 digs in the first set alone.
The Huskers hit 0.067 and PSU hit 0.022 in the second set, with each team committing nine attacking errors.
Down early, Nebraska tied at 3-3 on an ace Akana, but the Nittany Lions were up another three. Hames and Stivrins had two huge blocks to keep the PSU in check.
NU stayed the course before the Nittany Lions got a kill and block from Parker and another kill from Holland to go up 15-10 before the media timeout. Kubik responded with a kill and an ace to reduce it to three once more.
NU called for a 19-14 time-out and again at 22-15 after a 3-0 run for Nittany Lion. The Huskers came out of the break with renewed energy, turning the tide against Penn State. Lauenstein substituted and helped spark a 4-0 NU run. After a kill from Caffey, Stivrins and Lauenstein teamed up for a block, and a wandering swing from PSU plus a kill from Kubik reduced the deficit to 22-19.
Lauenstein added a kill, and the Husker Block then got to work. Stivrins and Kubik thwarted Parker at net, and Hames made a solo save against Pritchard. A Stivrins victory tied him at 23-23 and forced a time out for Penn State. Two offensive errors capped the Huskers’ final set at 10-1 – the last five served by Akana – and completed the comeback, 25-23.
Kubik had four kills, while Stivrins had four blocks and Hames added three in the set. NU has passed power supply 5-3.
Nebraska hit 0.275 in the last set with four kills on four shots from Caffey (1,000) and four more kills from Lauenstein (.429). Penn State finished with an efficiency of 0.324 behind six Parker kills (0.500). Game 3 included 15 draws and six lead changes.
PSU took a 9-5 advantage to open the set. NU hit back at a, 9-8, on a Caffey kill, Caffey / Lauenstein block and Nittany Lion attack error.
The Huskers finally tied him up when Kenzie Knuckles and Stivrins ended back-to-back, and Sun added another kill to put NU in the lead, 13-12.
The set tied seven more times until 19-19, and back-to-back kills from Stivrins and Sun put the Huskers in the lead, 20-19. PSU regained the lead one last time from a Parker kill at 21-20 but never regained the lead. Two late eliminations from Caffey helped him at 23-22, and Parker locked the set one last time at 23-23. A Lauenstein win brought him to set point, and Sun outscored the Nittany Lions to finish him at 25-23.
After the game, the Huskers hosted Senior Night festivities to honor Kayla caffey, Nicklin Hames, Callie schwarzenbach, Lauren Stivrins and Lexi Sun.
Noting tonight’s game
– Tonight marked NU’s 13th sweep of the year and ninth at home.
-The Devaney Center crowd of 8,347 spectators was the third largest single game attendance across the country this season, behind Nebraska in Creighton on September 8 (11,279) and Utah in Nebraska on September 11 (8 362).
– Tonight was NU’s ninth game with 10 or more blocks as a team.
-The Huskers’ sweep tonight was their first against Penn State since a 3-0 win on September 22, 2017.
-NU has won 11 of the last 12 meetings with Penn State. The Huskers lead 25-11 in the all-time series, including 16-6 in the John cook era and 12-5 in Big Ten games.
-NU has a 19-3 advantage over the Nittany Lions at Lincoln, including 7-1 at Devaney Center.
With their Saturday, Nov. 20 game against Rutgers called off, Nebraska now look to their final Big Ten game weekend. The Huskers will visit Wisconsin on Friday, November 26, with a first service scheduled for 4:30 p.m. in Madison, Wisconsin. The game will be televised on Big Ten Network, and John Baylor and Lauren Cook West will have the radio call on Huskers Radio Network.