Nebraska’s hot serve ‘dictated the whole game’ as Huskers smother Rutgers | Volleyball


The Nebraska volleyball team tied a season high with 10 ace serves in a dominating sweep (25-19, 25-9, 25-12) of Rutgers on Sunday in Piscataway, New Jersey.

Six players served at least one ace, led by Kenzie Knuckles with three. Anni Evans and Lexi Rodriguez each added two aces.

Madi Kubik led the Huskers with 11 kills. Lindsay Krause added nine kills and Lauren Stivrins had six. Setter Nicklin Hames finished with 30 assists, eight digs, three blocks, two kills and an ace.

No. 10 Nebraska has a six-game winning streak, which immediately followed a rare three-game losing streak.

In three of the Big Ten’s 10 weeks of the season, Nebraska leads the league 6-0 — one game ahead of Wisconsin, Purdue and Penn State.

Rodriguez, a freshman libero, led the Husker defense with 17 digs.

Rutgers (8-9, 0-6 Big Ten) struggled to manage Nebraska’s serves, so they weren’t able to get their offense going very often. Rutgers had just a .042 hit percentage — second-lowest for a Husker opponent this season — and didn’t have a player with more than five kills. His right side hitter and outside hitter each had a negative hitting percentage.

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“I thought our serve dictated the whole game,” Nebraska coach John Cook said on the Huskers Radio Network.

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In the first set, Nebraska struck seven times but still won the set convincingly with five aces serves. Nebraska finished with a .255 hit percentage.

The Huskers have won 11 straight games against Rutgers.

Nebraska middle tackle Kayla Caffey did not play due to illness, but was in attendance after receiving a negative COVID-19 test. Callie Schwarzenbach therefore returned to the starting lineup and had five kills on .444 hits.

Nebraska leads the Big Ten in serving in league play. In wins over Penn State and No. 13 Nebraska this weekend, Nebraska had 18 combined serves and their opponents just two.

“We feel good about our serve,” Cook said. “This weekend on the road, we really attacked with our serve. It really helps our block and our defense.

Krause, Papillion’s freshman right hitter, had a strong weekend with 20 combined kills in two games while hitting .291.

“We have to have someone who is really good in this place,” Cook said. “It’s been a really good weekend for her on the road.”

Nebraska has a quick turnaround for its next game, hosting Indiana (8-10, 2-4) on Wednesday.

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