Nebraska (8-1) 3, Illinois (2-7) 0 - 25-23, 25-23, 25-22
Lexi Sun finished with 17 kills. She was crafty, she was powerful. Stivrins hit .471 with 10 kills. These seniors were exactly enough to sweep Illinois on the road. Coach Cook said “they have to play well for us to be successful.”
There wasn’t much offense on the right side. Coach Cook started Riley Zuhn but tried Jazz Sweet in set two. Neither player provided much offense and finished with negative hitting percentages. This position will be an area of improvement for tomorrow night.
The team hit .282 overall and held the Illini under .200 for their hitting percentage. It was a strong performance for the #4 team in the country. Coach was please with the play late in each set, “We were able to play some good volleyball from 19 points on.” “It was a good win.”
Set 1: Stivrins started out with strategic tip for a kill and then a slide kill. Akana serving the ball deep was effective, 3-0. Kuper for Illinois served tough balls, one resulting in an ace. Illinois played a 5-1 offense. This is different than they played previously and changed what Nebraska scouted. Hames reached a milestone: 3,000 assists! Illinois’ block was very effective; Kubik hit it multiple times, 12-13. NU timeout at 12-15 after Stivrins also hit into the block. Densberger led the team on a serving run 3-0 which forced an Illini timeout, 16-15. NU went ahead late in the set with a sharp kills by Kubik, 20-19. Couple errors on hitting for NU, 20-21. Cook challenged a hitting error and won to reverse the score to 21-20. A big block by Hames (and slight side punch to Stivrins) 22-20. Timeout NU 22 all. Some aggressive play at the net made set point. A sun kill off the block ended the set, 25-23.
Set 2: Big swing by Cooney to start the set, Sun dug and Kubik got the kill. Hames, yes Hames got a kill on the over pass to make it 4-1. Teams exchange service errors to make it 7-3. Hames served an ace, 9-4. Zuhn struggled attacking in sets 1 and 2, no kills yet! Hames set Caffey from beyond the 10 foot line for a kill, impressive! Illini middles did damage with kills, Collins makes it 9-13. Sun had a couple of crafty kills to force a Illinois timeout, 16-9. Oh my! Hames has another attack kill this set, 18-10. Freshman Terry for Illinois was great on the outside, she had a kill to make it 13-20. Sweet came in and gained a block, 22-13. Caffey kill takes this set to set point, 24-14. After a green card challenge, the Stivrins hit is in, 25-15.
Set 3 - Stivrins slammed a couple balls to the floor, 2-1. When Illinois could pass well enough Collins gave them plenty of kills, 4-3. NU in rotation 1 (our worst rotation offensively) Sweet blocked then Kuckles aced, 6-6. Illini hitting much better this set. The longest rally of the match was won by Illinois, 10-13. Caffey makes a block, 12-13. Sweet block makes it 14 all. Terry, hitting .400 with a kill off the block, 15-17. Stivrins gets a block then Stivrins is blocked, 18-18. Illinois’ Kuper served long to make it 20 all. Big block by Sun and Stivrins, 21-20. Hit off the NU block, 21-22. Both teams were out of challenges at this point so these close plays went unchallenged. NU block, 23-21. Sun got a kill off the top of the block, 24-21. Caffey finishes it, 25-22.
Notable Volleyball Scores
#10 Penn State 1, #11 Purdue 3
#3 Kentucky 3, Louisiana State University 0
#7 Washington 3, #20 Oregon 0
#8 Florida 3 Arkansas 0
#12 UCLA 3 at Colorado 1
#14 Notre Dame 3, North Carolina State University 0
#15 BYU 3, San Francisco 0
#24 Marquette 2 at Butler 3
#25 Pepperdine 3, Gonzaga 0
The teams will meet again on Saturday at 6 p.m. Saturday’s match will be streamed online with a BTN+ subscription. Husker Sports Network will broadcast all the Husker action on HSN radio affiliates.