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Huskers Rally to Top Hoosiers, 3-1

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. - The second-ranked Nebraska volleyball team won its 13th straight match to start the season with a 3-1 (23-25, 25-23, 25-15, 25-19) victory at Indiana in front of a sold-out Wilkinson Hall on Saturday night. 

The Huskers (13-0, 4-0 Big Ten) are off to their best start to a season since beginning 20-0 in 2008. On Saturday against the Hoosiers, the Big Red was led by Merritt Beason, who had a career-high 22 kills and hit .400 to go with 12 digs. 

Harper Murray added 17 kills and hit .368, while Lindsay Krause chipped in nine kills and hit .471. Andi Jackson added in eight kills, and Maggie Mendelson had four kills. 

Nebraska hit .338 and held Indiana (12-5, 2-2 Big Ten) to .168. After a slow start to the match, the Husker defense got rolling in the third and fourth sets, holding Indiana to .000 and .097 in the final two games. 

Nebraska had 65 kills to 43 for Indiana and outdug the Hoosiers, 53-39. Indiana had 11 blocks to just two for the Huskers. Nebraska struggled at the service line, committing 16 errors with just two aces. It was the most service errors by a Husker squad since 2015 (18 vs. Maryland). 

But the Huskers offset that with 22 more kills and a much higher efficiency. Bergen Reilly had 53 assists, one night after posting 54 in a 3-2 win at Purdue. Reilly also had five digs and three kills. Lexi Rodriguez finished with 18 digs, and Laney Choboy had eight. 

Avry Tatum and Savannah Kjolhede each had 10 kills for Indiana.

Set 1: Indiana held the upper hand early and never trailed in the set. The Hoosiers went ahead 8-5 with seven kills on 12 swings to start the match. The Hoosiers built the lead to five points, 17-12, as the Huskers struggled to get anything going offensively. A Jackson kill on the slide and a Murray kill trimmed the deficit to 17-14. However, the Hoosiers rebuilt the lead to five, 20-15, with three kills. Murray and Beason put down kills to get NU within 20-17, but a service error followed by an Indiana kill had the Hoosiers back up by five, 23-18. Kills by Mendelson and Ally Batenhorst made it 23-20, but a Hoosier block gave them set point at 24-20. Jackson and Murray (twice) recorded kills to cut it to 24-23, but the Hoosiers won the set 25-23 after a kill by Kaley Rammelsberg. 

Set 2: Nebraska got off to a better start in set two, scoring the first three points and building the lead to 8-4. But a 4-0 Indiana run tied the score at 8-8. Kills by Jackson and Murray restored an 11-8 Husker advantage. A kill by Mendelson put the Huskers up 15-13 at the media break, but the Hoosiers came out of the timeout with a pair of kills to tie the score at 15-15. The Hoosiers went up 17-16 after their sixth block of the night, but Jackson answered for the Big Red and Indiana hit the antenna to make it 18-17 Huskers. Beason terminated a kill, and the Huskers won a challenge that an Indiana kill was actually out to go up 21-19. However, two Indiana kills and an ace by Camryn Haworth put the Hoosiers up 23-22. After another successful challenge, a kill by Beason tied the score at 23-23, and Indiana was ruled to have hit the antenna on its next attack after yet another successful challenge for set point for the Huskers, 24-23. A back-row kill by Murray finished off a 25-23 Husker win.   

Set 3: Beason had five early kills to lift the Huskers to a 7-2 lead. Krause added a kill and a block with Jackson -NU's first block of the match - to make it 10-4, and Beason and Murray collected three more kills to double up the Hoosiers, 14-7, after a 4-0 run served by Choboy. Aces by Reilly and Beason and kills by Murray and Beason pushed the Husker lead to 22-12, and NU closed out a 25-15 win with kills by Krause and Reilly down the stretch. Nebraska hit .333 in set three and finally slowed down the Hoosiers, holding them to .000 in the set. 

Set 4: Krause had three kills around one each by Beason and Jackson to help the Huskers to an 8-5 lead. But Nebraska committed three more service errors to allow Indiana to hang around. An Indiana hitting error followed by a Krause kill made it 14-10 Huskers. Krause added two more kills around one by Murray as the Huskers increased their lead to 19-12. Jackson and Reilly combined for a block to make it 20-14, and Beason's 21st kill put NU up 22-15. The Huskers finished off the match with a 25-19 win, hitting .519 in the final set and holding Indiana to .097.

Up Next: Nebraska heads to the state of Michigan next week for back-to-back matches. The Huskers will face Michigan State on Friday at 6 p.m. (CT). NU will then turn around to play at Michigan on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. (CT) on BTN.