A more relaxed Huskers squad cruises to a sweep of Western Michigan.
Lincoln. — The No. 7 Nebraska volleyball team made quick work of the Western Michigan Broncos in front of a sold-out crowd at the NU Coliseum on Friday night (25-17, 25-17, 25-11) to post its second win of the 2010 Ameritas Players Challenge.
Lauren Cook piloted the Nebraska attack with 26 assists, while Lindsey Licht and Brooke Delano each notched double-digit kills with 13 and 12, respectively. Delano also added a team-high five blocks, while Kayla Banwarth led all players with 19 digs.
As a team, Nebraska was firing on all cylinders offensively as they hit a season-high .391, as four players hit over .500, including two over .600.
"We were a bit more relaxed tonight," Head Coach John Cook said. "We took a deep breath and played like we are capable of playing tonight."
Western Michigan opened the first set with a kill from Jessica Brown, before back-to-back kills from Licht an error from Brown resulted in a 3-1 Huskers lead. The two teams played even volleyball over the next 12 points, when a second straight kill from Delano extend the Husker lead to three points for the first time in the set at 10-7. Nebraska later added a 4-0 run behind kills from four different Huskers to push the lead to 15-8.
The Huskers then let the Broncos back within three points due to three straight NU errors, but Nebraska quickly righted the ship with a 6-0 run and took a commanding lead of 21-12. During the stretch, Sydney Anderson netted an ace and assisted on kills by Licht and Morgan Broekhuis. The Broncos were unable to answer and the Huskers finished strong, taking set one, 25-17.
Delano shined in the set with five kills on eight swings, while she was also one of four Huskers to stuff a Bronco attack.
Gina Mancuso led the Husker charge in set two, as the Papillion-LaVista grad scored five of the Huskers' first 12 points. Following her third kill of the match, Mancuso put up two straight solo stuffs of Ashley Turnage and Emily Harris. Later, Mancuso chipped in her second kill of the set and then pinpointed an ace on the following play to put the Huskers up 12-5.
The Broncos would fight back to get within five at 17-12, but Mancuso came calling once again with a kill and Delano followed with an ace to push the Nebraska lead to seven and force a Western Michigan timeout. The Broncos responded with two points out of the break, but just like before, Mancuso answered for Nebraska with her fourth kill of the set. Anderson followed with her second ace of the match, while Broekhuis and Allison McNeal combined for a block to expand the Husker lead to 22-14. The two teams split the next six points and the Huskers took a 2-0 lead in the match.
Mancuso hit .429 in the set, with four kills on seven swings, while Licht and McNeal each chipped in three kills. The duo of Anderson and Cook routinely set up the Husker attack with seven assists apiece.
Nebraska continued to roll in set three, opening with an 11-0 run behind the play of Licht. The 6-5 lefty totaled three kills and two blocks, including one solo stuff. Along with an ace, Cook added four assists and Delano totaled two blocks.
The Broncos would get on the board with a block and kill from Brown, before Delano answered with a kill. Western Michigan then reeled off three straight points to get within seven at 13-6, but Licht ended the run with another kill. The Huskers would continue to put away points down the stretch, eventually building a 22-9 lead following a combo-block from Delano and Licht, as well as kills from Licht and Tara Mueller.
After the Broncos hit double-digits at 22-10, Nebraska took three of the next four points to finish the sweep.
Nebraska will conclude the Ameritas Players Challenge tomorrow night at the Devaney Center with a match against undefeated Illinois at 7 p.m.
Source: University of Nebraska Athletic Dept.