Lindsey Licht totaled a match-high 15 kills, as No. 8 Nebraska extended its win streak to six matches with a 3-0 sweep of Kansas State (32-30, 26-24, 25-22) Wednesday evening at Ahearn Field House.
Licht was one of three Huskers to finish in double figures, as outside hitters Hannah Werth and Tara Mueller both picked up double-doubles in the victory. Licht led NU in kills for the eighth time this year, as her 15 kills were one off her season high. She has led the Huskers (22-6, 15-4 Big 12) in kills five times in over the last seven matches.
Werth totaled 13 kills, including nine in the opener, 13 digs and tied a career best with three blocks for her 11th double-double of the year, while Mueller finished with 12 kills, 11 digs and four assists for her seventh double-double of the season.
Nebraska had 57 kills and hit .197, while Kansas State (11-18, 5-14 Big 12) had just 34 kills on .131 hitting, but totaled 17 blocks to battle the Huskers to a pair of deuce sets. Nebraska out-dug KSU, 58-46 and did not allow an ace for the fourth straight contest.
The opener featured pretty much everything, as both teams had their opportunities before the Huskers finally prevailed with a 32-30 victory. NU, which fell behind 11-4 before regouping fought off five Wildcat set points while it took the Huskers three chances to earn a hard-fought win. Werth nearly picked up a double-double in the opener with nine kills on .444 hitting and nine digs in the set, while Mueller added six more as Nebraska totaled 25 kills compared to only 14 for Kansas State. Nebraska kept the Wildcats in the set with five service errors and nine attack errors, while KSU had only six combined errors in the set. Trailing 11-4, Mueller and Werth keyed the Husker run, as Nebraska rolled off an 8-1 spurt to tie the score at 12. Down 15-14, Nebraska finally took the lead, running off three straight points to take a 17-15 lead after two straight errors, but Kansas State would regroup, winning eight of the 10 points to take a 23-19 lead after a Husker error. The Huskers fought back, as Werth delivered two kills as part of a 4-0 spurt to tie the score at 23. After a JuliAnne Chisholm kill gave KSU its first chance to win the set, Werth came back with a kill to even the score. Both teams would have golden opportunities to win before a Delano kill gave Nebraska the lead for good at 31-30, and Werth closed out the set with her ninth kill
The second set was another battle, as Nebraska outlasted the Wildcats, 26-24, to take a 2-0 lead into the locker room. Mueller and Licht had five kills apiece in the set, as Nebraska out-hit KSU, .146-.091. KSU stayed in the set with strong blocking, recording 8.5 blocks to 4.0 for the Huskers. Neither team was able to string together points for most of the set, as it featured 15 ties and neither team led by more than three points. Nebraska got off to a quick start, building a 7-4 lead after kills from Mueller and Delano and led 10-8 before KSU ran off two points to tie the score at 10. The teams traded points for a good portion of the set, as KSU had a pair of two-point leads, the last 17-15. Nebraska trailed 23-22 before a Wildcat error and a Mueller kill gave the Huskers their first set point, but NU could not capitalize as Kathleen Ludwig and Alex Muff combined on a block to knot the score at 24. Nebraska then got a break as Lauren Mathewson served into the net before Mueller found the floor to end the set.
It was Nebraska’s veterans who carried the Huskers to a 25-22 victory in the finale. Kori Cooper totaled four kills on .667 hitting and a block, while Licht pounded home five kills to complete NU’s seventh straight sweep. The Huskers turned up the defense, holding KSU to .103 hitting. Licht got the Huskers going early, as she had three kills in a 4-0 run to help NU build an early 7-3 lead. The Wildcats responded with a run of their own, racing off five straight points to regain the lead at 8-7. With the score tied at 17, Nebraska finally took control, as three straight KSU errors gave the Huskers a three-point lead. The Wildcats made one last run, pulling to within 21-20 after a Chipman kill, but a Delano kill and a Wildcat error pushed the margin back to three points. KSU eventually pulled within 24-22, but Cooper’s seventh kill of the night ended the Husker sweep.
Chisholm led Kansas State with 10 kills, while Chipman had five kills and 10 blocks in a losing effort, as Nebraska has won 12 straight against the Wildcats dating back to 2004.
The Huskers wrap up the regular-season on Saturday,, Nov. 28, as Nebraska takes on Colorado at the NU Coliseum. First serve is set for 7 p.m. and the match will be carried on selected Husker Sports Network stations and on Huskers.com. Live video will also be available on HuskersNside. Saturday’s match will also be the final home match for senior Kori Cooper, who will be honored after the match.