Larson Leads Huskers to Sweep of Baylor

Freshman Jordan Larson's 14 kills led a balanced attack, as No 1 Nebraska posted a 30-21, 30-17, 30-18 victory over Baylor in front of a sellout crowd of 4,157 at the Nebraska Coliseum Saturday evening. The Huskers, 13-0 overall and 5-0 in the Big 12, hit .409 as a team, its highest percentage in a Big 12 match in over two years, as both Larson and Elmer hit above .500 in the sweep.

Jordan Larson, a freshman outside hitter from Hooper, Neb., hit a career-best .667 with 14 kills and no errors in 21 swings, the second-highest mark by any Husker this season. Larson, whose previous best was .480 against Penn State on Sept. 11, led the Huskers in kills for the sixth time this season, while also matching her season high with three aces.

Melissa Elmer set the tone early, recording eight of her 10 kills in the opener, as the two-time All-American hit .500 with one error in 18 attacks. Sarah Pavan and Christina Houghtelling added 11 and 10 kills, respectively, as the Huskers, who are third in the country in hitting percentage, went over .400 for the third time this year.

Nebraska Head Coach John Cook was pleased with the aggressive attitude the Huskers showed in posting their 20th straight home win. "We worked on it in the last two practices and they did a great job with it tonight," Nebraska Head Coach John Cook said. "Our goal tonight was to be aggressive in everything we did, and we hit .408, so you've got to be pleased with that." "I could tell in warm-ups they were on a mission to come out focused, so that's a great sign," Cook said. "I'm really pleased with how focused they were and the mentality they came out with."

The Huskers, who have also won all 20 matchups with Baylor in the series history, enjoyed one of its best serving nights of the season, finishing with six aces, including three by Larson, against just seven errors.

Behind the play of Elmer and Larson, the Huskers pulled away late for a 30-21 game one win. Elmer had eight kills on 11 swings, with several of her kills coming off Baylor overpasses, as the Huskers hit .390. With the score tied at 21, Larson's kill gave the Huskers the lead for good before the freshman stepped to the service line and ran off the final eight points, including a pair of aces, to close out game one. Larson also had five kills and hit .625 in the opener.

In game two, the Huskers continued to fire away, hitting .394 in rolling to a 30-17 victory. Once again, Larson led the Huskers, hitting .667 with six kills in nine swings, but Nebraska's serving also played a major role. The Huskers had three aces and applied pressure with tough serves through the game. Leading 11-8, Larson had two kills in a 5-0 run before Jennifer Saleaumua's service ace gave the Huskers an eight-point lead at 16-8. Baylor closed to within 18-12 before Larson's serving sparked a 5-0 run that put the game out of reach.

In the finale, the Huskers showed its tremendous balance, as seven players had at least two kills in a 30-18 victory. Pavan and Mancuso, who entered midway through game three, did most of the damage, combining for eight kills, as the Huskers hit .439 and committed one error. Baylor was within 10-8, but could not withstand a 10-2 Husker run that turned the margin to 20-10. Nicole LeBlanc led Baylor (9-7, 1-4 Big 12) with nine kills, as the Bears hit .133 in the loss. The Huskers will turn their attention to Wednesday's Big 12 showdown at No. 7 Missouri. The match, which will start at 6:30 p.m., will be televised in the Lincoln area on Ch. 13 on Time Warner Cable and on Ch. 802 on Cox Cable in Omaha thanks to the Pinnacle Sports Network. The Huskers and Tigers are tied for the Big 12 lead, as the only conference teams that are undefeated in league play.

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