NCAA volleyball, Washington State vs. Nebraska, 12/2/17

UNL junior Swazy Dalyrymple carries an "easy" button for fans to push at the NCAA Tournament second-round match between Nebraska and Washington State on Saturday at the Devaney Sports Center. Nebraska finished the season undefeated at home.

KAYLA WOLF, Journal Star

Fans at Nebraska spoil its volleyball team, and the team does the same thing right back.

This year, the Nebraska fans never walked out of the building after a loss, with the Huskers going a perfect 17-0 in home matches. That’s Nebraska’s first perfect record at home since 2010.

The Huskers’ sweep of Washington State on Saturday was the final home match. There was a sellout crowd of 8,103, including about 250 who stood at the top of the arena in the standing-room-only section for the 1½ hour match.

Last year Nebraska averaged 8,210 fans per match, topping an NCAA attendance record that the Nebraska already held.

This year the home schedule included beating No. 11 UCLA on back-to-back nights in September, and rallying from an 0-2 deficit to beat No. 7 Wisconsin in five sets. The Huskers beat six ranked teams at home this season.

Nebraska senior setter Kelly Hunter said it’s special to go the whole season without losing a home match.

“We owe to the fans, and everyone who shows up every game, no matter what time we play or what day of the week it is, and they were awesome this year,” Hunter said. “It’s just always awesome to play, and go undefeated, at home.”

The Huskers won their 15th straight match overall and their 30th straight match at home, extending the longest active home winning streak in NCAA Division I.

In the final match of her college career at home, Hunter got to run off the court after a sweep.

“This has been a really special couple of years, being from Nebraska and playing here and playing in the Devaney, which is the greatest facility in all of women’s volleyball,” Hunter said.

The fans got to see a perfect home season, but wanted more. Before the Nebraska match began, the score of the Kentucky-Western Kentucky match flashed on the big screen. Western Kentucky had a 2-0 match lead. If Kentucky lost, Nebraska would get to host the regional. There was a buzz through the arena. But Kentucky rallied to win in five sets, and will host the regional.

Holman has big final home match: Senior middle blocker Briana Holman led the Huskers in both kills and blocks in her final home match. Her 12 kills came on just 19 attempts, and she also had five blocks. Holman led the Huskers in the first set with six kills on eight attempts.

For Holman, it was a great final match at home.

“It’s been a long journey to get to this point, and I’m just super-blessed for the opportunity to play at such an amazing university,” Holman said. “This means a lot to me, and having a good game my last game means everything to me, so I’m really happy.”

Densberger is serving spark: Nebraska has been rotating its serving subs with Hayley Densberger and Hunter Atherton for parts of the season, but NU coach John Cook went with Densberger to start the NCAA Tournament, and she came through. On Saturday, the freshman from Malcolm had two of the Huskers’ seven ace serves. She served during a 5-0 run early in the first set for a 12-6 lead, including an ace.

“(Hayley) had a hot serve, and she ran a lot of points this weekend. I mean a lot,” Cook said. “We probably scored more points in her rotation than any other rotation, except maybe for (Sydney Townsend). She earned it in practice, so we gave it a go. I loved how confident she was, and she made some digs and made some good sets out of system.”

Loaded Huskers: Washington State coach Jen Greeny said Nebraska had too many weapons for the Cougars to hang with Saturday.

“(Nebraska) played especially well tonight,” Greeny said. “Serving especially, I think it was tough for us to get anything going offensively, which made us pretty predictable. They play great defense, have a great block. Tough to beat a very good team like Nebraska with not-great passing.”

Reach the writer at 402-473-7435 or bwagner@journalstar.com. On Twitter @LJSSportsWagner.

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Sports reporter

Brent has worked at the Journal Star for 14 years. His beats include Nebraska volleyball, women's basketball and high school soccer and cross country.

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