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Kubik leads balanced attack as Huskers continue torrid start to Big Ten play
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Kubik leads balanced attack as Huskers continue torrid start to Big Ten play

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Madi Kubik had 13 kills to lead the ninth-ranked Nebraska volleyball team to a 25-21, 25-22, 26-24 win against Iowa on Wednesday in Coralville, Iowa.

There was a crowd of 2,107 at Xtream Arena, including many Husker fans who made the trip from Nebraska, or supporters of Kubik, a West Des Moines native.

With its fourth straight sweep, Nebraska held on to first place in the Big Ten standings at 9-0.

Iowa (2-17) lost its 11th straight match.

Kubik led a balanced attack. Lauren Stivrins added 11 kills, Lindsay Krause had eight, Kayla Caffey seven and Ally Batenhorst five.

Stivrins had a Stivrins-like match by putting down 11 kills on just 15 attempts for a .667 hitting percentage.

Caffey had a match-high five blocks in her return to the starting lineup after missing three matches due to illness.

Nebraska topped the Hawkeyes in kills (46-43), blocks (8-3) and ace serves (8-3).

Nebraska had a .266 hitting percentage, while Iowa hit .215. Courtney Buzzerio led the Hawkeyes with 14 kills.

The final set brought the most suspense. It was tied at 24 before Nebraska won the final two points to complete the sweep. First, Iowa had a setting error. Then on match point, freshman libero Lexi Rodriguez served an ace.

“We’re glad to win that last (set), even though we had some opportunities to put that away,” Nebraska coach John Cook said afterward on the Huskers Radio Network. “But we found a way at the end.”

Krause had a strong start to the match with four kills on her first six attempts.

In the second set, Iowa led 9-4. But then Nebraska took the lead, and control, with a 12-1 run for a 16-10 lead.

In the third set, senior outside hitter Lexi Sun entered the match for the first time and played the entire set. She didn’t have a kill on six attempts, but had two blocks. Sun isn’t currently a starter as she was the previous three seasons, but has appeared as a substitute in seven of the nine league matches.

Rodriguez had a strong all-around match with 17 digs, two aces and three set assists.

“She missed a couple of digs tonight, but what she does is she sets great, she passes great,” Cook said. “I thought she was our best server tonight. … She was really thumping it tonight, and we ran a lot of points with her serve.”

Now the schedule really ramps up for NU, with its next three matches against No. 7 Purdue (on Saturday), No. 3 Wisconsin and No. 12 Minnesota.

-- Brent C. Wagner

Kubik is heating up and now the Huskers are riding an 8-match win streak after sweep of Illini

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Husker volleyball/women's basketball 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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