LINCOLN—(NU Athletics Oct. 21)—The 1 vs. 2 battle between Wisconsin and Nebraska lived up to the hype with the second-ranked Huskers coming out on top against the top-ranked Badgers in five sets – 25-22, 17-25, 20-25, 26-24, 15-13 – on Saturday night at the Bob Devaney Sports Center.
The Huskers (19-0, 10-0 Big Ten) finally beat the Badgers (18-1, 9-1 Big Ten) for the first time since 2017, snapping a streak of 10 straight losses. Nebraska also beat the No. 1-ranked team for the first time since 2017.
The attendance for the match was 9,198, a new Devaney Center record crowd since the arena was reconfigured for volleyball in 2013.
Merritt Beason had 21 kills to lead the Huskers to victory, while Harper Murray finished with 14 kills and 15 digs, and Ally Batenhorst had 13 kills.
Nebraska hit .130 in the match and committed 44 attacking errors. Wisconsin hit .223, but the Huskers had 16 more kills (69-53). Nebraska also served three aces and was not aced by Wisconsin.
Wisconsin had 18 blocks, while Nebraska had seven. Andi Jackson had four to lead the Big Red, and she added eight kills. Bekka Allick added two blocks and seven kills. The Huskers outdug the Badgers, 74-65. Lexi Rodriguez had 17, as did setter Bergen Reilly, who also provided 50 assists and four kills. Laney Choboy had 11 digs and led all players with 23 serve attempts. It was Choboy at the line for the final three points of the match – all Murray kills.
Sarah Franklin had 17 kills to pace Wisconsin.
Set 1: The Huskers went on 6-0 run to take a 9-4 lead. Beason had two kills and Rodriguez had a rare libero kill, while Reilly had a solo block. A Batenhorst kill made it 15-11 Huskers, and Batenhorst and Murray had back-to-back kills to push the lead to 17-12. After Jackson put down a kill for an 18-13 advantage, Wisconsin put together back-to-back kills to get within 18-15. After a timeout, Reilly dumped a kill for sideout, and back-to-back kills by Murray and Beason pushed the lead back to five, 21-16. Wisconsin pulled within 22-20 after a pair of Husker hitting errors, but Batenhorst terminated back-to-back kills for set point, 24-20. The Huskers misfired on two swings to allow the Badgers within 24-22, but a block by Jackson and Reilly ended it, 25-22.
Set 2: Wisconsin claimed an 8-5 lead after a kill and back-to-back blocks. The Badgers turned up their block, posting eight early in the set to go up 13-8. Wisconsin later used a 5-0 run to go up 19-10, and the Badgers finished the set on top, 25-17, with 12 blocks in the set as the Huskers hit -.077.
Set 3: Wisconsin took control early, building an 11-5 lead. The Badgers led by as many as eight, 21-13, but the Huskers chipped away to get within 22-18 after kills by Beason and Batenhorst. A service error gave Wisconsin a 23-18 lead, but a block by Jackson and Beason and ace by Murray made it 23-20. However, the Badgers closed out a 25-20 win to take a 2-1 lead.
Set 4: NU rallied from 6-4 down to go up 9-6 with a 5-0 run served by Choboy. Batenhorst and Jackson had kills, and Reilly had a block. After Wisconsin sided out, Jackson connected again to make it 10-7, and the Huskers led 15-13. NU held a 17-16 lead, but Wisconsin reeled off a 5-2 run to go ahead 21-18. Reilly dumped a kill and Wisconsin committed an error to make it 21-20, and Kennedi Orr served an ace to tie the score at 21-21. The Badgers regained a 23-21 lead, but a kill by Beason and Badger hitting error tied the score at 23-23. The Badgers earned match point with a kill, but Murray answered with a kill to make it 24-24. Jackson was credited with a kill for a 25-24 lead, and Allick put down an overpass for a 26-24 Husker win.
Set 5: Wisconsin was up 6-4 before kills by Beason and Murray tied it 6-6. However, the Badgers reclaimed an 8-6 lead as the teams switched sides. Wisconsin led 10-8 when Beason put down her 20th kill to cut it to 10-9, but Anna Smrek answered with a kill for Wisconsin. After a timeout, Beason fired again to cut it to 11-10. The Huskers committed a service error, but the Badgers followed up with a net violation before Murray rolled a kill to tie the score at 12-12. After a Wisconsin timeout, Murray connected again for a 13-12 NU lead, its first in set five. Murray came up big again on the next rally with her 13th kill for match point, 14-12. Franklin recorded a kill on the next rally to cut it to 14-13, but the Huskers won the final point after a would-be Wisconsin kill was overturned by a net violation on the Badgers.
Up Next: Nebraska will host Maryland next Friday at 7 p.m. at the Bob Devaney Sports Center.