Huskers Top Loyola Marymount, 3-0

LINCOLN, Neb. - The No. 2 Nebraska volleyball team picked up its fourth sweep in a row to start the season with a 25-17, 25-16, 25-17 victory over Loyola Marymount in the first match of the Husker Invitational on Thursday at the Bob Devaney Sports Center.

A crowd of 8,099 saw the Huskers (4-0) hit .363 to turn aside the Lions (1-3). Nebraska played two setters for the first time this season with Nicklin Hames leading the way with 22 assists and Anni Evans contributing nine assists. 

Ally Batenhorst led a balanced attack with 10 kills, while Whitney Lauenstein had nine kills on .368 hitting and Madi Kubik had eight kills without an error for a .571 hitting percentage. Kaitlyn Hord added seven kills on .545 hitting, and Bekka Allick and Lindsay Krause chipped in five and four kills, respectively. 

The Huskers had five service aces, with Kenzie Knuckles providing three of them. Knuckles also had five digs, two assists and a kill on the night. Lexi Rodriguez had a team-best 14 digs. Kubik had nine to go with her eight kills, as the Huskers out-dug the Lions, 40-29. 

Kari Geissberger led LMU with 10 kills. The Huskers held the fast-paced LMU attack to a .185 hitting percentage. 

Set 1: The Huskers got off to a strong start with five kills on their first seven swings to take a 10-6 lead. A pair of kills by Hord and one by Kubik took the Huskers to a 15-8 advantage. A kill from the back row by Knuckles made it 18-9, but LMU cut it to 20-15 with three points in a row. But the Huskers answered with a 5-2 spurt to close out the set, 25-17. NU had 16 kills on 28 swings, hitting .429. LMU hit .167 in the opening set.

Set 2: LMU was in front for most of the early portion of set two, going up 9-7 by hitting .429 to that point. But a service error by the Lions kickstarted an 8-0 Husker run that put the Big Red up 15-9. Lauenstein had a pair of kills, and Batenhorst and Kubik each had one while Hames had one service ace during the run. Kills by Hord, Allick and Kubik made it 21-13 Huskers, and Kubik and Batenhorst tacked on two more to make it 23-15. The Huskers earned the 25-16 win, hitting .423. 

Set 3: The Lions got off to a 4-0 lead to start the set and maintained their four-point lead at 8-4. A service error and kill by Batenhorst cut the deficit in half, and Batenhorst brought the Huskers within one, 9-8, with her eighth kill. Lauenstein tied the score at 11-11 with her ninth kill, and the Lions committed attacking errors on back-to-back rallies for a 13-11 Husker lead. LMU evened the score at 14-14 before Krause tooled a block to put NU back on top, 15-14.. Batenhorst, Allick and Krause triple blocked a Lion attack to make it 16-14. Batenhorst and Hord put down back-to-back kills to make it 19-15, and Batenhorst rolled home her 10th kill before Knuckles' third ace of the match gave NU a 22-17 lead. Hord tipped home a kill for match point at 24-17, and a Kubik kill ended it at 25-17. 

Up Next: The Huskers are at home again on Saturday, hosting Ole Miss at 7 p.m. at the Devaney Center. On Friday night, Loyola Marymount and Ole Miss will meet at the Devaney Center at 6 p.m. Admission is free. 

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