A slow start ends with Werth leading A comeback in 3-1 win over KU.
Lincoln. — The No. 4 Nebraska volleyball team extended its all-time winning streak over the Kansas Jayhawks to 85 straight matches on Wednesday night at the NU Coliseum with a 3-1 win (21-25, 25-13, 25-18, 25-18).
After Kansas took the first set of the night, the Huskers responded by taking the lead in set two and never let the Jayhawks take the lead the rest of the night.
Hannah Werth led four Husker attackers in double figures, as the sophomore notched her fourth double-double of the season with 12 kills and 11 digs, while also adding a career-best five blocks, including four solo stuffs.
Middle blockers Brooke Delano and Allison McNeal produced an efficient night as they each hit .500 with a combined 21 kills and seven blocks.
Overall Nebraska out-hit the Jayhawks .252 to .138, while Nebraska more than doubled Kansas five blocks with 13.
Nebraska tried to set the tone right off the bat in set one with a solo stuff by Werth on Karina Garlington followed by a kill from McNeal, but Kansas quickly stole the momentum with a 8-2 run that forced a timeout from Head Coach John Cook. The break cooled down the Jayhawks and the Huskers chipped away at the lead, eventually tying the set at 12 apiece.
With the set tied, Nebraska failed to take control due to sloppy play at the net with four errors over the next 12 exchanges, which led to a 20-16 Kansas lead and a second timeout from Cook. The Jayhawks kept adding points after the break, eventually building a 22-17 lead, their largest lead of the set. Nebraska put up one last 3-0 run to get within two, but Kansas answered with three of the next four points to take set one, 25-20. In the 85 previous meetings between the two programs the Jayhawks had never won the first set of a match.
After committing nine attack errors in set one and only hitting .133, the Huskers found their focus in set two with only one error on their way to hitting .464. With Sydney Anderson and Lauren Cook each dishing out six assists, Delano led the way with four kills on five swings, while she also chipped in two blocks.
Unlike set one where Kansas ran points early, the Huskers held serve with a 6-1 run that aided in a 10-4 lead. After Kansas took three of the next four points, Nebraska strung together another four points to build a commanding 15-7 lead behind an ace from Kayla Banwarth and back-to-back Anderson assists to Delano.
Nebraska kept the pressure on down the stretch, as they took five of the final six points to win set two, 25-13, and tie the match at 1-1. During the final run, Werth and Morgan Broekhuis each contributed two kills and a block.
The Huskers stayed hot in set three with a 4-0 run out of the gate, started by a solo block from Werth and capped with an ace from Tara Mueller that forced an early timeout from Kansas Head Coach Ray Bechard. A kill from Tayler Tolefree got Kansas on the board, but the Jayhawks followed with three errors during the next six rallies, which resulted in a 9-2 Husker lead.
Following two Kansas points, Cook assisted on three straight kills, including one to Delano and two to Mueller, to extend the Huskers' lead to eight at 12-4. The lead would soon grow to 15-5 after Cook added two more assists to Werth and Lindsey Licht.
Kansas cut the lead to 17-10 following a Husker error, but Nebraska quickly pushed the lead to 10 after an assist from Anderson to Mueller and another solo block from Werth. Kansas would take eight of the next 13 points, but a McNeal kill gave the Huskers a 2-1 lead in the match, 25-18.
Just like the previous two sets, the Huskers took the lead early as they won four of the first five rallies behind kills from Werth, Delano and Licht as well as a combo block from Licht and Delano. With the Huskers up 11-6, Allison Mayfield put away a kill and then served three straight points to get the Jayhawks within one point and force a Husker timeout.
Nebraska put up three straight out of the break, capped by the second ace of the match by Banwarth to extend the Husker lead to 14-10 and force a Kansas timeout. The Jayhawks followed by again getting within one point at 15-16, but Nebraska ended Kansas' hopes of tying the match with back-to-back assists from Cook to Licht to push the lead back to three and force another Jayhawk timeout.
The Huskers kept up the pressure down the stretch with seven of the final 10 points to win set three, 25-18, as Banwarth ended the match with her third ace of the night. It was the first time since December of 2008 that the senior libero had produced three aces in a match.
Nebraska will now hit the road for two matches, before they are back at the NU Coliseum on Saturday, Oct. 2 for a 3:30 p.m. showdown with Texas. The Huskers' next two matches include a trip to Baylor on Saturday, Sept. 25 followed by a visit to Norman on Wednesday, Sept. 29 against the Oklahoma Sooners, with both matches set for 7 p.m. John Baylor and Lindsay Peterson will call all the action on the 25-station Husker Sports Network, including B107.3 FM in Lincoln and Twister 93.3 FM in Omaha. Fans outside the state will be able to catch the live audio feed for free on Huskers.com.
Source: University of Nebraska Athletic Dept.