The No. 2 Nebraska volleyball team moved to 2-0 on the season for the first time since 2016 with a dominant 25-12, 25-16, 25-19 sweep of UCLA in front of a crowd of 8,237 at the Devaney Center on Saturday night.
The Huskers used a stellar defensive effort for the second night in a row to finish the Husker Invitational with a 2-0 record. After holding Creighton to .067 hitting on Friday night, the Big Red limited the Bruins to a .114 hitting percentage on Saturday, including a 54-42 edge in digs. Freshman libero Kenzie Knuckles had 19 digs for a weekend total of 41 (6.83 digs per set) to lead the Huskers. She was named to the all-tournament team, as was Lauren Stivrins. The junior middle blocker had seven kills on .357 hitting for the Huskers against UCLA to cap a weekend in which she hit .433.
Lexi Sun had a team-high 12 kills and hit .321 to go with seven digs. Capri Davis pounded nine kills on .381 hitting, and Jazz Sweet contributed seven kills with a team-best .412 hitting percentage on the night.
NU served seven aces and only allowed three. Megan Miller had a career-high four aces. Nicklin Hamesset the Huskers to a .320 hitting percentage for the match with 32 assists. Callie Schwarzenbach and Madi Kubik each had four kills for the Big Red.
Baylor's Yossiana Pressley was the MVP of the tournament after averaging 6.33 kills per set. Other all-tournament team members included Shelley Stafford (Baylor), Hannah Lockin (Baylor), Brittany Witt (Creighton) and Mac May (UCLA).
Set 1: The Huskers went in front 8-3 behind two kills each from Kubik and Sweet. Stivrins added back-to-back kills for a 10-4 Husker lead, and Sun terminated a pair of kills around a Stivrins ace to make it 13-5. The Bruins clawed within 13-9 after a 4-0 run, but UCLA committed two errors and Sun connected on a shot down the line for a 16-9 Husker lead. Schwarzenbach got in on the action with a pair of kills, and the Huskers pushed the lead to 23-12 with Stivrins contributing two more kills, and Davis pounded a pair to finish off the set at 25-12. NU hit .324 and held UCLA to .056 hitting in the set. Seventeen of NU's 25 points came via kills, and six Huskers had at least two kills.
Set 2: Sun and Davis opened set two with kills, and Stivrins connected for a kill before Knuckles served an ace to make it 5-1. Miller added another ace for an 8-2 lead, forcing a UCLA timeout. The break did little to slow the Huskers, though, as Miller served another ace and a UCLA error put the Huskers ahead 10-2. The lead increased to double digits at 18-8 after Davis and Stivrins stuffed a Bruin attack. Sweet then terminated a long rally that included a pair of athletic digs by Knuckles, and Davis made it 20-9 with her sixth kill. Miller's third ace of the set increased the lead to 21-9. The Bruins scored the next four points to pull within 21-13, but Davis got sideout for the Big Red and UCLA hit wide to push the lead back to 10 at 23-13. Kubik placed a shot to the floor for set point, and NU won 25-16 to go up 2-0 in the match. The Huskers had four blocks in the second set to help limit UCLA to .103 hitting.
Set 3: NU had an 8-4 lead after Sun contributed a block, kill and ace, but UCLA rattled off four straight points to tie the score at 8-8. Sun restored the lead for the Big Red with another kill, and Kubik tacked on a kill to put NU up 13-9, forcing a UCLA timeout. The Bruins came out of it with two points in a row to cut the lead in half, but Sun posted back-to-back ills before Sweet added a third in a row to make it 16-11 Huskers. After UCLA cut it to 16-14, Sweet and Schwarzenbach posted kills and Miller served her fourth ace of the night before Hames dumped a kill for a 21-16 advantage. NU finished off the sweep, 25-19.