Aug. 26, 2012
OMAHA, Neb. - Behind stellar play from its four All-Americans, the No. 4 Nebraska Cornhuskers defeated the Notre Dame volleyball team, 3-0 (25-19, 25-21, 25-13), in front of a near-sellout crowd of 7,386 at the CenturyLink Center in Omaha, Neb., on Sunday afternoon.
Returning four All-Americans from a year ago, the Huskers, who defeated No. 1 UCLA in five sets on Saturday night, controlled most of the contest as they hit .365 for the match, pounding out 49 kills.
First team All-American Gina Mancuso led the way with 15 kills, while honorable mention All-American Hannah Werth had 11 kills, 13 digs and five block assists. Honorable mention All-American Lauren Cook had 35 assists, 12 digs, three kills and two block assists. The Huskers' fourth All-American, Morgan Broekhuis, an honorable mention selection, had nine kills, six digs, four service aces and two block assists.
Leading the way for the Irish was sophomore Toni Alugbue, who had a team-high 12 kills while hitting at a .310 clip. Fellow sophomore Jeni Houser (10) was the only other Irish player with double-digit kills. Setters Sammie Brown and Maggie Brindock had 16 assists each.
Notre Dame did record a season-high seven blocks, but allowed the Huskers 11 blocks.
The Irish open the home portion of their schedule next weekend as they welcome in UAB, Buffalo and Eastern Kentucky into Purcell Pavilion for the Shamrock Invitational that runs from Friday through Sunday. Notre Dame plays its first match at 7 p.m. ET on Friday against UAB.
Notre Dame came out energized by the rowdy Nebraska crowd and battled the Huskers throughout the opening set. A pair of Houser kills knotted the score at 11, but Nebraska went on a 6-1 run that put the Irish behind the eight ball for the rest of the set. Notre Dame cut the lead to 21-18 behind the serving of Kathleen Severyn, but Nebraska closed out the set (25-19) with a pair of kills from Mancuso. McHugh, Alugbue and Houser each had four kills in the opening set. Six kills from Mancuso paced the Huskers as Nebraska hit .300 to just .182 for the Irish in the opening frame.
The Huskers led from the get-go in set two, jumping out to a quick 3-0 lead and keeping a lead that hovered between three and six points throughout much of the set. The Irish managed to trim the lead to 22-20 after back-to-back-to-back blocks from Irish defenders, but a key service error gave Nebraska the ball at 23-20. After the teams traded points, a service ace by Hannah Werth gave the Huskers a 2-0 lead heading into the break.
Nebraska closed out the match with a dominating third set in which it hit .365. With the score tied at five, the Huskers reeled off nine straight points on the strength of three consecutive service aces from Broekhuis to cruise to the 25-13 win.