The No. 4 Nebraska volleyball team put on a dominating display in the season opener on Friday evening at the NU Coliseum as the Huskers swept the Saint Louis Billikens 3-0 (25-13, 25-17, 25-18).
The Huskers were led by Hannah Werth, whose striking offensive performance included 12 kills on 23 attacks and no errors for a hitting percentage of .522. Werth also contributed 10 digs for her first double-double of the season.
Gina Mancuso was not far behind Werth as she notched 10 kills on 22 swings and recorded six digs. Lauren Cook tallied 27 assists and led the team with 14 digs. Morgan Broekhuis tabbed nine kills on 20 attacks and recorded four total blocks.
The Huskers held Saint Louis to a .030 hitting percentage for the match. Nebraska recorded a .265 hitting percentage and had six total team blocks. NU out-dug SLU 44-43.
The Huskers came out firing in the first set, posting four-straight points to go up 7-1 on a kill by Werth. Broekhuis notched a solo block of her own to give NU an 11-2 lead, while Werth punched in another kill to put Nebraska up 14-3. Nebraska went on to take the first set 25-13, leading the match 1-0.
Werth and Mancuso’s firepower in the first set led the Huskers, as Mancuso had four kills and an ace and Werth notched five kills. Cook tabbed nine assists and four digs as Lara Dykstra also had four digs. The Huskers hit .407 as a team and tallied two team blocks.
The Billikens came out hot in the second set as Saint Louis went up 5-1. A kill by Broekhuis gave Nebraska a 9-8 lead, while NU went up 14-10 and forced the Billikens to call a timeout. Two huge kills by Werth put NU ahead 16-12, while Mancuso stretched the Huskers’ lead to 21-15. Nebraska closed out the Billikens 25-17 in the second set, leading the match 2-0.
In the second set, Mancuso, Broekhuis and Werth all notched four kills, while Cook orchestrated 10 assists. Nebraska out-dug Saint Louis 17-15, while both teams had two team blocks. Nebraska held Saint Louis to a .088 hitting percentage for the set.
Back-to-back kills by Werth in the third set put Nebraska ahead 9-2 before Saint Louis had to call a timeout. Nebraska took control of the set with a kill by Mancuso to give the Huskers a 15-8 lead. An error by Saint Louis would help Nebraska close out the Billikens 25-18, completing the sweep.
Werth and Broekhuis led the way in the third set with three kills each. Cook had eight assists, while the team recorded two total blocks and 16 digs. Saint Louis was held to a -.029.
The Huskers opened the match with a touching tribute to remember former Saint Louis Billiken Megan Boken, who passed away last Saturday. Instead of throwing volleyballs into the stands after starting lineups, the Huskers wrote a special message on each ball and met each Billiken at half court to give it to them.
Nebraska will now turn its attention to the defending National Champion and first-ranked UCLA Bruins as the two teams will square off tomorrow night at 6 p.m. at the NU Coliseum.