Nebraska’s three-set win against Illinois on Saturday was the Madi Kubik match.
The junior outside hitter for the ninth-ranked Husker volleyball team continued her tear through the Big Ten Conference with 19 kills in a 25-21, 25-15, 25-19 win at the Devaney Sports Center.
That makes eight straight wins for the Huskers, the program’s longest winning streak in the past three seasons. It’s the longest winning streak since the Huskers won 13 consecutive matches during the 2018 national runner-up season.
Nebraska’s 8-0 start to the Big Ten season includes six sweeps and no five-setters. And that streak immediately followed a three-match losing streak and some “come to Jesus moments” for the Husker players.
While the Huskers will still need to prove themselves against a string of ranked teams like the ones that beat them earlier in the season, Nebraska has taken a big step forward the past month.
“I don’t know, I just feel like we’re getting better every week,” Kubik said. “I feel like every time we come into the gym, there’s improvement in some area. And everyone comes in with a focus and an intention that is really exciting, because I think it’s going to make us really, really good. I kind of just feel like we’re flowing."
Kubik’s 19 kills were 12 more than any other player in the match. She had just three errors for a season-best .457 hitting percentage. Lindsay Krause was next for the Huskers with seven kills. Lauren Stivrins had five.
Kubik feels like the entire team is playing better and with more trust in each other, and she’s just doing the same.
“I feel like I just keep saying it, (but) we’re establishing a level of trust that makes us feel. … I don’t know, I feel invincible,” Kubik said.
Time after time Kubik kept abusing the Illinois blockers with shots off their hands.
She’s got a few things in her “tool box” of shots, but tooling the block is probably the most effective.
“That’s something in our tool box of things that we do to get kills,” Kubik said. “We train that every single day. It’s just understanding the situation, and seeing what’s available.”
Kubik was also efficient on back-row attacks, which don’t usually produce such a high success rate.
Husker libero Lexi Rodriguez has a great view of most of Kubik’s kills from just a few feet behind her. She can sense the confidence Kubik is playing with.