LINCOLN, Neb. - The No. 1 Nebraska volleyball team won its 24th match in a row with a 3-1 (28-26, 24-26, 25-11, 25-20) win over Northwestern in front of 8,637 fans at the Bob Devaney Sports Center on Wednesday night.
Nebraska improved to 24-0 (15-0 Big Ten), its best start to a season since 2005 (28-0). Northwestern dropped to 11-14 (5-10 Big Ten).
The Huskers hit .278 and held the Wildcats to .143, including .087 over the final three sets. Nebraska had 13 blocks on the night, including seven by Bekka Allick, six by Andi Jackson and five by Bergen Reilly.
Merritt Beason and Harper Murray each had 13 kills to lead the Big Red. Allick tied her season high with 11 kills and hit .562, and Ally Batenhorst also had double-digit kills with 10. Jackson chipped in eight kills on .600 hitting.
Reilly finished with 45 assists and 12 digs for her third straight double-double. Lexi Rodriguez had 11 digs, while Beason had 10.
Laney Choboy served two of Nebraska's four aces in the match.
Set 1: The Huskers held a 5-3 lead before Northwestern scored a 6-2 run to go up 9-7. The Wildcats led 12-10 when a kill by Murray and Wildcat attacking error tied the score at 12-12. A kill by Jackson put the Big Red back on top, 15-14, but Northwestern scored four straight points to go up 20-17. The Wildcats led 22-19, but a kill by Allick and Northwestern hitting error got Nebraska within 22-21. Beason then smashed back-to-back kills to put the Huskers up 23-22. A Northwestern kill tied the score at 23-23, but Beason stepped up with another kill for set point, 24-23. Northwestern answered again, but Batenhorst posted a kill for another set point, 25-24. Once again, the Wildcats fought it off with a kill, and a Husker hitting error gave Northwestern set point, 26-25. Beason terminated from the back row to make it 26-26, and Allick and Murray teamed up for a block and another Husker set point, 27-26. This time, Murray finished off the set with a kill for a 28-26 win.
Set 2: The Huskers jumped out to a 10-4 lead with two kills by Allick and two by Beason. But Northwestern rallied from down 13-7 with five straight points to get within one, 13-12. After a Murray kill, the Wildcats got a kill and a block to tie the score at 14-14. Beason and Allick combined for a block and a 15-14 lead, but the Wildcats scored five of the next six points to go up 19-16. A service error by Northwestern was followed by two Wildcat hitting errors to tie the score at 19-19. Murray tallied two kills around two Northwestern hitting errors for a 23-20 Husker lead. But the Wildcats answered with two kills, an ace and a block to claim set point at 24-23. Murray terminated for the Huskers to tie the score at 24-24, but Northwestern went back up 25-24 with a kill and won the set, 26-24, with a block.
Set 3: Murray had two kills, Allick had a solo block, and Reilly served an ace for a 4-0 Husker start. Back-to-back kills by Batenhorst and Jackson kept Nebraska up by four, 9-5, and an ace by Choboy helped the Huskers build the lead to 12-6. After Northwestern cut it to 12-8, Murray had a kill and Allick posted back-to-back blocks for a 16-8 lead. Allick added a kill and Batenhorst put down three straight kills as the Huskers increased their lead to 23-10. Allick tacked on one more kill, and Beason and Jackson combined for a block and a 25-11 win. The Huskers held the Wildcats to -.074 hitting in the set.
Set 4: The Huskers fell behind 8-3 before rallying with a 6-0 run to take a 9-8 lead. Batenhorst and Beason had kills, and then Jackson and Reilly combined for three blocks in a row before an ace by Choboy. Kills by Jackson and Allick put Nebraska ahead 11-9, and Nebraska went up 16-12 after kills by Murray, Allick and Batenhorst and an ace by Rodriguez. The Wildcats got within two, 17-15, after two Husker hitting errors, but blocks by Jackson and Reilly and Jackson and Murray made it 19-15. Beason and Allick pounded kills for a 23-16 lead, and Beason earned match point for the Huskers at 24-17 with a kill. Allick hammered back an overpass to complete the win, 25-20.
Up Next: The Huskers host Illinois on Sunday at 2 p.m. on Sunday at the Bob Devaney Sports Center.