The second-ranked Nebraska volleyball team began the 2019 season with a 3-1 (25-19, 24-26, 25-17, 25-21) victory over No. 18 Creighton at the Husker Invitational on Friday night in front of a standing-room only crowd of 8,450 at the Devaney Center.
Lexi Sun posted a team-high 13 kills, and Capri Davis added 10 kills off the bench for the Huskers. Nebraska (1-0) held Creighton to a .067 hitting percentage while hitting .181 on the night. NU had eight blocks, five of which came from Callie Schwarzenbach.
Lauren Stivrins had nine kills on 15 swings, hitting .500 on the night. Jazz Sweet terminated seven times, and Madi Kubik had five kills. Kenzie Knuckles had a match-high 22 digs in her first match as a Husker. Nicklin Hames had 35 assists and 15 digs to go with four service aces. Megan Miller added 14 digs.
Keeley Davis led Creighton with 13 kills. Jaela Zimmerman added 12 kills and 10 digs.
Set 1: The Huskers bolted to a 12-5 lead with a 6-0 run after Creighton had cut it to 6-5. Kubik had three kills in a span of four rallies to force a Creighton timeout. Sweet had three early kills for the Big Red as well. Creighton rallied with a 4-0 run to pull within 13-10 and force a Husker timeout. The Huskers responded with a 4-0 spurt, which began with back-to-back kills by Sun. Sun found the floor again following a long rally to increase the lead to 18-13. Hames served three consecutive aces, interrupted briefly by a Bluejay timeout, and the Huskers built the lead to 21-13. Davis came off the bench to get a kill for the Huskers for a 23-18 lead. Stivrins earned set point for the Big Red with her second kill of the night, and the Huskers claimed the 25-19 win on another Davis kill. The Huskers hit .243 but held Creighton to just .032 hitting in the set.
Set 2: Sun had two kills and an ace to get the Huskers off to a 6-2 advantage. The Bluejays battled back to take a 10-9 lead on back-to-back kills by Keeley Davis. Creighton led 14-12 when a Bluejay hitting error and Davis kill tied the set at 14-14. Megan Ballenger answered with two kills for Creighton to restore a 16-14 lead. Davis answered again and Creighton misfired twice to give Nebraska a 17-16 edge. Stivrins and Hames stuffed a Bluejay attack to push the NU lead to two at 19-17. The teams traded sideouts for nine consecutive rallies until Creighton stuffed a Husker attack to tie the set at 23-23. Creighton committed a service error after a Husker timeout, giving the Big Red set point at 24-23. But Zimmernan found the floor to knot the score at 24-24, and she followed that with an ace for set point for Creighton. Davis hit long to give Creighton the 26-24 win.
Set 3: The Husker defense got involved early in set three with back-to-back blocks by Schwarzenbach, one with Sweet and one with Davis. Davis posted a kill and combined with Stivrins for a block, and the Huskers built a 10-3 lead on a 4-0 Miller serving run. Stivrins posted three kills in a short stretch of time to put the Huskers up 12-5, and Sun, added two kills and a block to make it 16-8. Three straight Creighton kills sliced a 19-10 Husker lead to 19-13, but the Huskers responded with three points of their own, two of which came on kills by Stivrins and Sun. The Huskers finished off the 25-17 win, holding Creighton to -.065 hitting in the frame.
Set 4: With the Huskers trailing 5-4, Sweet, Davis and Hames posted consecutive kills to put the Huskers up 7-5. Stivrins and Sun produced kills to make it 10-7, but the Jays scored four of the next five to tie the score at 11-11. Davis put the Huskers up 14-12 with her ninth kill. Davis recorded a solo block to keep the lead at two, and Stivrins smashed a kill to make it 17-14. The Bluejays scored the next three points, however, to tie the score at 17-17. With the score tied 21-21, Sweet terminated and Creighton hit into the net for a 23-21 lead. Davis tooled a block for match point at 24-21, and the match ended on a Creighton hitting error.