Huskers Cruise Past Hornets

LINCOLN, Neb. - The Nebraska volleyball team opened the 2022 NCAA Tournament with a dominant sweep of Delaware State Thursday night at the Devaney Center. The No. 2 seed Huskers never trailed in the match and won each set by double digits.

In the 25-15, 25-9, 25-10 sweep, Nebraska limited Delaware State to a -.108 attack percentage, the second-lowest opponent attack percentage by a Husker opponent in the rally-scoring era, which dates back to 2001. Nebraska had 15 blocks, and Delaware State had 12 more errors (30) than kills (18). The Hornets' 18 kills were the third-fewest by a Husker opponent in the rally-scoring era.

While Nebraska's defense was strong - the Huskers had 56 digs to complement their 15 blocks - NU's offense also impressed. The Huskers hit .341 against the nation's No. 2 defense, and Nebraska was not blocked in the match, finishing with only five attacking errors, including just two over the final two sets.

Individually, Lindsay Krause had seven of her 10 kills in the third set, as she hit .500 and was the only player in the match to reach double-figure kills. Ally Batenhorst added eight kills and had two aces and two blocks. Kaitlyn Hord produced nine blocks, while Lexi Rodriguez led Nebraska with 19 digs, and she also served two aces. Kennedi Orr and Anni Evans each had 10 assists.

Alondra Maldonado led Delaware State with eight kills, while no other Hornet had more than three kills. All five Delaware State players who took more than six swings hit negative on the night.

Set 1: After a back-and-forth start to the set, the Huskers pulled away with a 6-1 run to go up 15-9. Krause and Hord had two blocks, and Hord had a kill before a Kubik ace. Delaware State cut it to 16-13, but Nebraska closed the set on a 9-2 run. Krause, Batenhorst, Allick and Mendelson had four kills in a row to push the lead to 20-13, and Maisie Boesiger ended the set on a three-point serving run, including an ace. Nebraska hit .250 and held Delaware State to .024. 

Set 2: NU got off to a 5-0 start with kills by Kubik, Batenhorst and Krause. But the Hornets answered with four straight to get within one. With Nebraska ahead 9-8, Allick and Mendelson blocked a DSU attack and started an emphatic 16-1 run to finish the set. The Huskers had runs of 5-0, 7-0 and 9-0 in the set. Nebraska hit .545 in set two, while Delaware State hit -.156. 

Set 3: The Huskers continued their dominance by sprinting to an 8-2 lead with Whitney Lauenstein and Hord recording a pair of blocks and Kubik tallying two kills. A kill by Krause helped the Huskers increase their lead to eight, 11-3, and after two DSU points, Nebraska scored seven points in a row via two Mendelson/Hord blocks and three kills by Krause. The Huskers finished off the sweep with a 25-10 win, outhitting the Hornets .290 to -.211 in the final set. 

Up Next: Nebraska will face Kansas at 7 p.m. on Friday at the Bob Devaney Sports Center in the second round. The Jayhawks defeated the Miami Hurricanes, 25-17, 25-18, 25-20, on Friday afternoon. The match will be streamed on ESPN+ and can be heard on the Huskers Radio Network, and the Huskers app. 

Nebraska Post-Match Notes

  • Nebraska officially made its 41st consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance tonight. The Huskers rank second in NCAA history in consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances and overall appearances (41).
  • With the win, Nebraska improved to 124-35 all-time in the NCAA Tournament. The Huskers rank second in NCAA history in postseason wins and winning percentage (.780).
  • Nebraska improved to 35-1 all-time in first-round NCAA Tournament matches. The Huskers have won their last 34 first-round matches dating back to 1984.
  • NU improved to 78-7 all-time in NCAA Tournament home matches, including a 23-2 record at the Devaney Center. The Huskers have won 17 consecutive home matches in the NCAA Tournament.
  • The Huskers won the first two sets tonight and are 92-1 in the NCAA Tournament when winning taking a 2-0 lead. Nebraska has won 90 consecutive postseason matches when winning the first two sets.
  • Nebraska's sweep of Delaware State marked its 29th sweep in 36 all-time first-round NCAA Tournament matches.
  • The Huskers improved to 57-1 all-time against unranked opponents in the NCAA Tournament. Overall, Nebraska has won 104 consecutive matches against unranked opponents dating back to 2017.
  • John Cook improved to 91-23 in his NCAA Tournament career. With his victory tonight, Cook tied John Dunning for the second-most postseason wins in NCAA history.
  • Cook is now 83-18 in the NCAA Tournament as Nebraska's head coach. His .822 postseason winning percentage at Nebraska is the top mark in NCAA history among any coach with at least 25 NCAA Tournament matches at one school.
  • Nebraska held Delaware State to a -.108 attack percentage. That marked the second-lowest attack percentage allowed by Nebraska in the rally-scoring era (since 2001). The only lower mark was -.132 by Louisiana-Monroe on Aug. 30, 2013.
  • Nebraska has held an opponent to a negative hitting percentage in an NCAA Tournament match six times under John Cook. The Huskers also held Campbell to a negative attack percentage in last year's first-round NCAA Tournament match.
  • Delaware had only 18 kills, which tied for the third-fewest kills by a Husker opponent in the rally-scoring era (since 2001).
  • Nebraska hit .341 in the match, the first time the Huskers had hit .300 in an NCAA Tournament match since a second-round round match against Texas State in the 2020 tournament, which was played in the spring of 2021.
  • The Huskers' .341 attack percentage marked the second-highest mark allowed by Delaware State this season. Nebraska was only the third team to hit above .220 against the Hornets, who entered the NCAA Tournament with the second-lowest opponent hitting percentage in the nation (behind Nebraska).
  • NU had a season-low five attack errors in the match. Over the final two sets, Nebraska had only two errors on 53 swings, while totaling 23 kills.
  • Nebraska had 15 blocks in the match, its second-highest total of the season.
  • The Huskers were not blocked in the match. The last time Nebraska was not blocked in a match was on Dec. 6, 2019, against Ball State in the first round of the 2019 NCAA Tournament.
  • NU had huge runs to close each set. Nebraska ended set one on a 9-2 run, set two on a 16-1 run and set three on a 14-5 run.
  • Nebraska had runs of 5-0, 7-0 and 9-0 in the second set. The Huskers took a timeout with a 9-8 lead and proceeded to win 16 of the final 17 rallies, using a 16-1 run to claim a 25-9 victory.
  • Lexi Rodriguez (19), Madi Kubik (10) and Kennedi Orr (10) each finished with double-digit digs, as Nebraska had 56 digs in the three sets.
  • Orr tied her career high with 10 digs and produced her first double-double of the season.
  • Lindsay Krause had 10 kills on 20 error-free swings. She had seven kills on 14 swings in the third set.
  • In her Nebraska NCAA Tournament debut, Kaitlyn Hord had nine blocks, tying her season high.
  • Nebraska freshmen Bekka Allick and Maggie Mendelson were impressive in their NCAA Tournament debuts, combining for eight kills on 16 swings with eight blocks. Allick had four kills and hit .429 with four blocks and Mendelson had four kills on .444 hitting with four blocks.
  • Ally Batenhorst had a career-high two aces in the victory, and she was also second on the team with eight kills.
  • All four Delaware State attackers who took more than six swings finished with more errors than kills.

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