VB vs LIU-AF 095VB vs LIU-AF 095

Huskers Sweep Sharks in NCAA Opener

LINCOLN, Neb. - The top-ranked Nebraska volleyball team moved on in the NCAA Tournament after a 25-13, 25-16, 25-22 sweep of Long Island on Friday night in front of a crowd of 8,599 at the Bob Devaney Sports Center. 

The Huskers (29-1) were balanced offensively with five players posting at least six kills. Merritt Beason led the way with a match-high 13 kills on .478 hitting. Harper Murray added nine kills in her NCAA Tournament debut while Ally Batenhorst had seven kills. Middles Andi Jackson and Maggie Mendelson had six kills apiece, with Mendelson tying her career high in kills and blocks (4).

Nebraska had 44 kills to LIU's 28, and the Huskers hit .280 compared to .151 by the Sharks. NU also had a 46-33 advantage in digs and had seven services aces. Camelia Melendez paced LIU with 12 kills while Rumur Rouille had a match-high seven blocks.

Set 1: Mendelson started the match off with a block with Beason and a kill, and two kills each by Batenhorst and Jackson - along with an ace by Beason - put the Huskers up 8-3. The Huskers kept their foot on the gas, going up 14-5 after two kills by Murray and one by Reilly as part of another 4-0 run. Reilly and Murray each served an ace, wihle Beason and Mendelson teamed up for a block, and the Huskers built the lead to 19-7. Rodriguez served the Huskers' fourth ace for a 21-8 lead, and Batenhorst, Jackson and Reilly posted kills down the stretch as the Huskers won 25-13. Nebraska held LIU to -.040 hitting in the first set. 

Set 2: LIU hung around in game two, trailing 9-7 after a kill by Camelia Melendez. Murray and Beason then combined for three kills in a row to help the Huskers go up 12-7, but the Sharks fought back to get within two, 15-13. Jackson and Murray had kills to lift the Big Red back to a five-point lead at 18-13, and Beason and Murray had kills while Reilly served two aces, and the Huskers led 23-15. Mendelson then posted two kills to close out the set, 25-16. 

Set 3: The Huskers fell into an 8-3 hole as Long Island clicked offensively. The Sharks led 11-5 before a kill by Murray and ace by Kennedi Orr. After an LIU kill, Mendelson had a kill and back-to-back blocks with Murray, and an LIU attacking error cut the deficit to one, 12-11. The Sharks held firm, however, building the lead back to three at 19-16. Jackson responded out of a timeout with a kill, and Beason terminated from the back row to make it 19-18. The teams traded points before Murray tooled a block to tie it 20-20. The teams then traded kills on the next four rallies, and a hitting error by LIU made it 23-22 Nebraska, the Huskers' first lead of the set. After a Long Island timeout, Beason earned match point with a kill, and the Huskers won 25-22. 

Up Next: Nebraska will face Missouri in the NCAA Second Round on Saturday at 7 p.m. on ESPN+. Missouri swept Delaware in the first match on Friday, 25-17, 25-22, 25-23. 

Nebraska Post-Match Notes

  • Nebraska officially made its 42nd NCAA Tournament appearance tonight. The Huskers rank second in NCAA history in NCAA Tournament appearances and consecutive appearances (42).
  • With the win, Nebraska improved to 126-36 all-time in the NCAA Tournament. The Huskers rank second in NCAA history in postseason wins and winning percentage (.778).
  • Nebraska improved to 36-1 all-time in first-round NCAA Tournament matches. The Huskers have won their last 35 first-round matches dating back to 1984.
  • Nebraska’s sweep of Long Island marked the Huskers’ 30th sweep in 37 all-time first-round NCAA Tournament matches.
  • NU improved to 80-7 all-time in home NCAA Tournament matches, joining Stanford as the only two programs in NCAA history with 80 postseason home victories.
  • Nebraska won its 19th consecutive home NCAA Tournament match (dating back to 2013). NU improved to 25-2 in postseason matches at the Bob Devaney Center.
  • The Huskers improved to 58-1 all-time against unranked opponents in the NCAA Tournament. Overall (regular season and postseason), Nebraska has won 125 consecutive matches against unranked opponents dating back to 2017.
  • Nebraska faced Long Island for the first time on Friday, making the Sharks the 77th different opponent the Huskers have defeated in the NCAA Tournament. LIU became the 64th different team John Cook has defeated during his Nebraska NCAA Tournament career.
  • John Cook improved to 85-19 in the NCAA Tournament as Nebraska’s head coach. He improved to 93-24 in his NCAA Tournament career. Cook ranks second all-time in career NCAA Tournament victories and NCAA Tournament wins at one school.
  • The Huskers won the first two sets against LIU and are 95-1 in the NCAA Tournament when taking a 2-0 lead. Nebraska has won 94 consecutive postseason matches when winning the first two sets.
  • Nebraska had seven services aces and just six service errors. Tonight marked just the second time this season that the Huskers had more aces than errors.
  • After an attack error on their first swing of the match, the Huskers had 10 kills on their next 11 swings.
  • LIU did not win its first point on serve until the 31st rally of the first set.
  • Maggie Mendelson had six kills and six blocks in the match, tying her career highs in both categories.
  • Merritt Beason had a match-high 13 kills on a match-best .478 attack percentage. After having one kill on three swings and hitting .000 in the first set, Beason had 12 kills on 20 swings and hit .550 over the final two sets.