SAN DIEGO – The No. 2 Nebraska volleyball team pulled off a thrilling 3-2 (22-25, 25-19, 22-25, 25-22, 15-11) comeback win at No. 25 San Diego on Saturday night at Jenny Craig Pavilion at the SDSU/USD Invitational.
The Huskers trailed the match 2-1 and were down 22-21 in set four to the Toreros, but scored the final four points of the fourth set and then never trailed in set five, capping the victory with a 15-11 final set. Nebraska improved to 4-0 on the season and returns home to host the Ameritas Players Challenge next weekend.
Lexi Sun tied her career high with 21 kills and had 12 digs and four blocks while hitting .318. Lauren Stivrins added 14 kills on .393 hitting with eight blocks. Madi Kubik contributed 11 kills and 16 digs, and Jazz Sweet had nine kills and four blocks.
Set 1: San Diego held an 8-6 lead despite committing four early service errors. The Toreros led 11-8 with eight kills on .500 hitting, but a kill by Schwarzenbach started a 6-0 Husker run, highlighted by back-to-back blocks by Sweet and Stivrins. A back-row kill by Sun and an ace by Knuckles gave the Huskers the 14-11 advantage. After USD ended the run, Stivrins and Kubik combined for another block, and a USD error made it 16-12 Big Red. But the Toreros put together a 3-0 run to tie the set at 17-17. Sun’s fourth kill put the Huskers up 18-17, but the Toreros scored five of the next six points to go up 22-19. San Diego earned set point at 24-20. Kubik notched back-to-back kills, but the Toreros held on for the 25-22 win. USD out-hit NU .237 to .097 in the set.
Set 2: The Toreros committed five errors early on to give the Huskers a 6-2 lead. A kill by Kubik and another USD error made it 8-3 Huskers. Schwarzenbach and Sweet teamed up for a block, and Sun terminated from the back row for a 16-10 Husker lead. But USD cut NU’s lead to three, 19-16, forcing a Husker timeout. Kubik then crushed a kill from the back row to restore a four-point lead, and USD hit wide to make it 21-16 Huskers. After San Diego used a timeout, Sun hammered down an overpass to make it 22-16, and a kills by Sweet and Sun gave NU set point at 24-16. After USD scored the next three points, Hames dumped a kill to end the set at 25-19 and tie the match at 1-1.
Set 3: A couple of highlight-reel plays gave the Huskers some energy early in set three. Stivrins kicked a ball to a teammate to keep a rally alive, which Sweet terminated to tie the set at 2-2. Then a sprawling dig by Miller resulted in a block by Hames and Stivrins that put the Huskers up 3-2. But San Diego regained an 11-9 lead on an ace by Thana Fayad. Stivrins and Kubik strung together back-to-back kills, and USD hit long for a 12-11 Husker lead. Stivrins tipped a kill and then teamed with Sun for a stuff block to keep NU in front, 14-13. With the score tied 16-16, Zuhn posted her third kill of the set to make it 17-16, but the Toreros scored the next two to go ahead 18-17. The Toreros went ahead 21-19 after a Husker passing error led to a USD kill, and the lead increased to 24-20 after a Husker attacking error and a kill by Roxie Wiblin. Sun posted a pair of kills to slice the deficit in half, 24-22, but the Toreros finished it off at 25-22 on a kill by Frohling. NU hit .316 in set three but allowed San Diego to hit .325.
Set 4: San Diego scored the first two points of the set and led early on, but Sun terminated a long rally and USD committed an attacking error to give NU its first lead at 7-6. With Hayley Densberger still serving the run, Schwarzenbach and Sun posted back-to-back blocks to put the Big Red up 9-6 and force a San Diego timeout. Sweet tipped a kill off a block to make it 11-9 after San Diego had pulled within one, but the Toreros tied the set at 11-11 after two Husker breakdowns. The teams traded sideouts for 10 rallies before San Diego went up 17-16 on a kill by Wiblin. Sun answered with a kill for the Huskers and then served NU’s second ace of the night for an 18-17 lead. After an NU service error, Schwarzenbach produced a kill to make it 19-18, but another service error tied the set again at 19-19. USD went up 20-19 after NU hit long, but the Toreros did the same on the next rally to make it 20-20. Stivrins notched her 10th kill to put NU back in front, but Frohling answered for USD and the Toreros went up 22-21 after NU was in the net. After a timeout, Sun posted back-to-back kills to put the Big Red back on top, 23-22. Stivrins and Hames then combined for a stuff block for set point at 24-22. Sun clinched the set for the Huskers on the next rally with her 19th kill. NU finished the set on a 4-0 run that Kubik served.
Set 5: Sweet opened the set with a kill to the far corner, and a kill by Stivrins and an ace by Kubik made it 3-1 Huskers. Stivrins put down her 12th kill for a 4-2 lead, but USD answered with two kills to tie the set at 4-4. NU went back ahead after a USD hitting error and Schwarzenbach kill made it 6-4. The Toreros tied the score again before Sweet pounded her eighth kill of the match to give NU a 7-6 lead. Sweet and Schwarzenbach then made it 8-6 with a stuff block. The Toreros committed a bad set, and Kubik tapped a kill to the floor for a 10-7 Husker advantage. USD sided out after a timeout, but Sweet posted a big kill to keep NU up by three, 11-8. Stivrins connected on the slide for a 12-9 lead, and Sun posted her 20th kill to increase the lead to four at 13-9. The Toreros recorded a kill out of a timeout, but Stivrins smashed her 14th kill for match point at 14-10. Sun sealed the match for the Huskers at 15-11 with her career-high-tying 21st kill. The Huskers hit .440 in the final set.
Up Next: Nebraska hosts the Ameritas Players Challenge next weekend at the Devaney Center. The Huskers will play High Point on Friday at Noon and Denver at 7:30 p.m. Then on Saturday, the Huskers will finish the weekend against Loyola Marymount at 1 p.m.