Huskers wrangle the Horns to take control of the Big 12.
Lincoln. — The No. 3 Nebraska volleyball team snapped a four-match losing streak to the No. 13 Texas Longhorns on Saturday afternoon at the NU Coliseum 3-1 (25-20, 20-25, 25-19, 25-20) in front of a national TV audience on FSN. The Huskers are now 14-1 overall and remain the Big 12's only undefeated team in conference play at 6-0.
It felt like there was a little bit of pressure on Nebraska to win this match," Head Coach John Cook said. "I thought our kids did a nice job of holding their composure and fighting off Texas as they made those runs against us."
Nebraska's pair of 6-5 right side hitters in Lindsey Licht and Morgan Broekhuis paced the Huskers with 13 kills apiece, while Hannah Werth and Brooke Delano also reached double-figured with 11 kills each. Werth also added a match-high 18 digs to chart her sixth double-double of the season.
Lauren Cook fed the Husker attackers with a team-high 27 assists and Sydney Anderson was right behind her with 23 dishes. The Huskers' offense got stronger as the match went on, as they hit a match-high .417 in set four after failing to hit above .300 in the previous three sets.
"No lead ever felt safe tonight and I assume Texas feels the same way," Cook said. "Both teams are really good in transition, so if they dig a ball and get a rally they have a really good chance of winning it."
A combo block from Werth and Allison McNeal started the scoring in set one, but the teams then met each other point-for-point and neither team was able to build more than a one-point lead over the next 17 rallies. The Huskers eventually built a two-point cushion, 10-8, following a kill from Werth and an attack error by Sha'Dare McNeal.
With Nebraska still holding to a one-point lead at 12-11, the Huskers turned up the pressure with a 3-0 run behind a Texas error and back-to-back kills from Delano and Werth. The two teams then traded the next seven rallies before a service error from Juliann Faucette and a block from Licht and Delano extended the Husker lead to 20-15, forcing a timeout from Texas Head Coach Jerritt Elliott.
Delano added a kill following the break to extend the Husker lead to six, but the run was then stopped with a kill from Texas' McNeal. After the teams traded the next four rallies, Anderson set up Broekhuis for her second kill of the set to put the Huskers at set point, 24-18. Texas rallied with two straight to get within four, but a service error from Jennifer Doris ended the Longhorns' hopes of a comeback and the Huskers took set one, 25-20.
Even though the Longhorns hit at a higher clip in set one than the Huskers (.257-.231), Texas' downfall was its six service errors, while the Huskers suffered just one.
The Longhorns started strong in set two as they quickly built a three-point lead, 5-2, following a Nebraska error and two kills from Rachel Adams. Texas continued to hold a small advantage over the next 18 rallies, until a kill from Licht tied the set, 13-13, for the first time since 2-2. Texas once again held off the Huskers and the Longhorns put up four straight points to push their lead to 17-13 and force a Husker timeout.
The teams traded the next 10 rallies out of the break before the Huskers took their second timeout, still down four, 18-22. The Huskers were never able to claw back and the Longhorns evened the match a 1-1 with a second set win, 25-20.
Texas was on fire at the net in set two as they hit .412, while it also got its serve under control with only two errors.
The Huskers came out swinging following the match intermission with the first three points of the third set, including an ace from Cook to start the run. After Adams got Texas on the board with a kill, Nebraska got back in a groove with five straight points to take a commanding 8-1 lead, as Jordan Wilberger put up two blocks and Werth added an ace.
After the squads played it even over the next 10 rallies, the Longhorns committed errors on back-to-back plays to advance the Husker lead to 15-6, resulting in Texas' second timeout of the set. The timeout was just what Texas needed as it responded with a 5-1 run to cut the Husker lead to 16-11 and force a Husker timeout.
Just like the Longhorns, Nebraska used the timeout to catch its breath and took four of the next five rallies, including kills from Licht and Tara Mueller, to create a seven-point lead, 20-13. Texas would get no closer than five down the stretch, as Licht's seventh kill of the match secured set two for the Huskers, 25-19, and gave Nebraska a 2-1 lead in the match.
The teams split the first four rallies in set four before Nebraska took control 6-2 following a kill from Werth, a block from Wilberger, a kill from Licht and an ace from Werth on consecutive rallies, resulting it Texas' first timeout.
With Nebraska still up four (8-4), McNeal capped a 3-0 Texas run with an ace to cut the Husker lead to one, but Nebraska answered as Anderson assisted on back-to-back kills to Broekhuis and Delano. Nebraska eventually pushed the lead to five at 15-10 following two straight assists from Cook to Licht and Mueller, which resulted in Texas' final timeout of the set.
The Huskers continued to dominate out of the break and built a seven-point lead, 21-14, following two straight Texas errors from Amber Roberson and Faucette, before Texas found its composure and got within five, 17-22, resulting in a Nebraska timeout.
The senior pair of Mueller and Licht made sure though that they would not lose their final Big 12 match to the Longhorns at the Coliseum as the two, along with Broekhuis, added kills in the final five rallies to secure a 25-20 set win and the match.
After playing three straight south division opponents, including Baylor, Oklahoma and Texas, the Huskers will meet their first north division opponent in two weeks when they travel to Columbia, Mo., on Wednesday for a 7 p.m. match with the Tigers. The match will be carried by Metro Sports and will be shared with NET in Nebraska.
Fans can listen to all of the action with John Baylor and Lindsay Peterson 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 also be able to catch the live audio feed for free on Huskers.com.
Source: University of Nebraska Athletic Dept.