Courtesy of Nebraska Athletics
The 10th-seeded Nebraska volleyball team opened the NCAA Tournament with a 3-0 sweep of Campbell Friday night at the Devaney Center, using a strong defensive effort in a 25-14, 25-14, 25-17 victory.
The Huskers held Campbell to a -.022 attack percentage, marking the first time Nebraska has held an opponent to negative hitting in the NCAA Tournament since 2010. NU recorded 10 blocks and tallied 41 digs in limiting its second opponent this season to a negative hitting percentage. With the win, Nebraska (22-7) advanced to a second-round matchup with Florida State on Saturday at 7 p.m. The Seminoles swept Kansas State in Friday’s other first-round matchup at the Devaney Center.
Lexi Rodriguez led Nebraska’s floor defense with 10 digs in her postseason debut. Rodriguez broke Nebraska’s freshman digs record in the win, eclipsing Kenzie Knuckles’ mark of 444 set in 2019. Lauren Stivrins added a match-high six blocks for the Big Red. Stivrins also paced the Husker offense with nine kills on 17 swings, hitting .412 on the night. Kayla Caffey and Madi Kubik added seven kills apiece, and Caffey added three stops at the net.
Lindsay Krause put down five kills on only nine swings to hit .444 in her tournament debut. Nicklin Hames led an offense that saw 10 Huskers finish with multiple kills, and she finished with 37 assists, seven digs, three blocks, three aces and two kills.
While Nebraska held Campbell to a negative attack percentage, the Huskers hit .272 and attacked a .300 or higher clip in each of the first two sets. The Huskers doubled the Camels in blocks (10-5) and out-dug Campbell 41-36. Nebraska also served up six aces to the Camels’ one.
Campbell ended its season with a 21-10 record. Melody Paige, Hailey Wilson and Lailah Green all had a team-leading four kills apiece. Claranne Fechter added a match-high 16 digs for the Camels.
With the help of two short runs, the Huskers got out to an 8-2 advantage before the first timeout. A 5-0 burst with kills from Caffey, Ally Batenhorst and Hames, a Hames ace and a Campbell rotational error extended it to 16-6. NU reached its largest lead at 20-8 after a Caffey kill, a Camel attack error and a Kubik/Stivrins block, then matched it again at 22-10 on Stivrins’ fourth kill of the set. The Huskers finished it off on a Krause swing for a 25-14 win.
NU hit .300 in the set and held Campbell to -.069. Stivrins had four kills on six swings, hitting .500.
Caffey had three kills and a block to help set the tone early in set two as Nebraska seized an early lead. Up three, the Huskers got kills from Caffey and Kubik to boost it to 14-8.
NU built to a 10-point advantage on a Stivrins kill, a Camel attack error and a solo stop by Caffey — her third block of the night — to go up 22-12. Kills by the freshman duo of Ally Batenhorst and Krause bookended a closing 3-0 run as the Huskers won it, 25-14.
Caffey paced NU with four kills and added two blocks, while Krause had three kills on four swings with two more blocks.
An early 6-1 run got the Huskers out to a 9-3 start. With Nebraska up six, Callie Schwarzenbach subbed in and terminated two rallies later to push the lead to 12-4 before a Camel timeout. Campbell later cut it to a four-point margin at 16-12, but a Kubik kill and back-to-back Stivrins blocks — the first with Hames and the second a solo stop — put NU back in control at 19-12. The Huskers won five of the next six points to earn their first match point at 24-13 but Campbell fought off four match points before a Lexi Sun kill sent Nebraska into the second round.
Nebraska advances to a NCAA second-round matchup with Florida State on Saturday, Dec. 4. First serve is set for 7 p.m. at the Devaney Center, and the match will be streamed live on ESPN+ with Larry Punteney and Kathi Wieskamp on the call. John Baylor and Lauren Cook West will have the radio call on Huskers Radio Network.
Nebraska Post-Match Notes
- Nebraska officially made its 40th consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance tonight. The Huskers rank second in NCAA history in consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances and overall appearances (40).
- With the win, Nebraska improved to 119-34 all-time in the NCAA Tournament. The Huskers rank second in NCAA history in postseason wins and winning percentage (.778).
- Nebraska improved to 34-1 all-time in first-round NCAA Tournament matches. The Huskers have won their last 33 first-round matches dating back to 1984.
- NU improved to 76-7 all-time in NCAA Tournament home matches, including a 21-2 record at the Devaney Center. The Huskers have won 15 consecutive home matches in the NCAA Tournament.
- NU took a 2-0 lead on Campbell. The Huskers improved to 90-1 in the NCAA Tournament when winning the first two sets. Nebraska has won 88 consecutive postseason matches when taking a 2-0 lead.
- Nebraska’s sweep of Campbell marked its 28th sweep in 35 all-time first-round NCAA Tournament matches.
- The Huskers improved to 55-1 all-time against unranked opponents in the NCAA Tournament. Overall, Nebraska has won 84 consecutive matches against unranked opponents dating back to 2017.
- John Cook improved to 86-22 in his NCAA Tournament career. He ranks third in NCAA history in career postseason victories and second among active coaches.
- Cook is now 78-17 in the NCAA Tournament as Nebraska’s head coach. His .821 postseason winning percentage at Nebraska is the top mark in NCAA history among any coach with at least 20 NCAA Tournament matches at one school.
- Nebraska held Campbell to a -.022 attack percentage, the second time this season – and first time since the season opener against Colgate – that the Huskers held their opponent to a negative hitting percentage.
- Campbell’s -.022 attack percentage was the fourth-lowest opponent hitting percentage against Nebraska in an NCAA Tournament match under John Cook. Tonight marked only fifth time in Cook’s 22 seasons that the Huskers held an opponent to negative hitting in an NCAA Tournament match and the first time since a 2010 second-round match against Auburn (-.011).
- Nebraska recorded 10 blocks against Campbell, its 11th match with double-digit blocks this season.
- A total of 10 Huskers had multiple kills in the match.
- Lauren Stivrins had six blocks in tonight’s match. With her six blocks, Stivrins increased her career total to 543 blocks, moving past Tonia Tauke (538) and into ninth place on Nebraska’s all-time list.
- Nicklin Hames had 37 assists against Campbell, giving her 1,010 assists this season. Hames topped 1,000 assists for the third time in her career, as she became the fifth Husker with three 1,000-assist seasons, joining Fiona Nepo, Greichaly Cepero, Lauren Cook and Kelly Hunter.
- With her 37 assists, Hames has 544 assists in her NCAA Tournament career. In tonight’s match, Hames passed Christy Johnson (535) for fourth place on Nebraska’s career postseason assists chart.
- Lexi Rodriguez had a team-high 10 digs against Campbell, setting a Nebraska freshman record with 452 digs this season. Rodriguez broke the previous freshman record of 444 digs by teammate Kenzie Knuckles in 2019.
- Rodriguez also moved into the top 10 of Nebraska’s single-season digs list in tonight’s match. Her 452 digs this season are tied for 10th in school history.