Husker Balance is too much for No. 18 Texas

Jordan Larson's 13 kills led thee Huskers in double figures, as No. 1 Nebraska improved to 18-0 on the season with a 30-24, 30-20, 30-26 victory over No. 18 Texas Saturday evening at the NU Coliseum.

The freshman from Hooper, Neb., topped NU in kills for the eighth time this season, hitting .423 on 26 swings and had eight digs, as NU (18-0, 9-0 Big 12) took a two-match lead over Missouri and Texas in the Big 12 race.

All-Americans Sarah Pavan and Melissa Elmer also reached double figures in kills with 12 and 11 respectively. Pavan, who had eight of her kills in the opening game, also has six digs and three blocks, while Elmer hit .529 and had six blocks for NU, which out-blocked Texas, 10-4.

Nebraska out-hit Texas, .311-.123 in a matchup of two of the league's top offensive teams, while out-digging Texas, 53-45, as Christina Houghtelling and Dani Busboom totaled 13 and 10 digs, respectively. Busboom posted her second double-double of the year with 17 assists and 10 digs, as NU has held its last four opponents to combined .072 hitting.

Nebraska Head Coach John Cook was impressed by Nebraska's ability to battle throughout the match.

"I was really pleased with our effort tonight," Cook said. "We played high-level volleyball, we played scrappy volleyball. Houghtelling's not 100 percent, and she gutted it out and it was just a tremendous effort on our part."

"We're not going to play great every night, even though I'd expect us to," Cook said. "They know how to raise it when they need it...we obviously raised it tonight for Texas. What pleasing to see as a coach is that we made several adjustments tonight, and they did a great job of following our adjustments. We really felt like we got to coach tonight because everything that we asked them to do tonight they did it. I'm just really, really pleased with our mentality and our adjustments out there."

In the opener, Nebraska rallied around Pavan's eight kills on .462 hitting in a 30-24 win. Leading 11-10, Pavan recorded back-to-back kills to give NU a 13-10 lead. The Longhorns roared back, regaining the lead at 15-14 on a Jen Christian kill, but could not sustain, as Pavan's kill tied the game and sparked a 4-0 run, as Houghtelling and Stalls combined on a block to give NU an 18-15 lead. Texas got within two points on two occasions, the last being at 23-21, but a kill by Jennifer Saleaumua and a Longhorn attack error quickly pushed the lead back to four points, ending UT's hopes in game one.

While Pavan shined in game two, Elmer led the Huskers to a 30-20 victory in game two. NU hit. 412 as a team, while Elmer had seven kills on nine swings and three blocks, as UT hit just .026. The Huskers took control early, as Elmer had two kills and a block in helping the Huskers score the first five points. NU eventually pushed the lead to 9-3 before Texas fought back. The Longhorns closed to within 10-6, but NU came back with four straight points, taking a 14-6 lead on an Elmer kill. After Texas pulled within 16-10, two straight Elmer kills turned the lead into an eight-point lead, as the Huskers rolled to the 10-point victory.

Larson was the difference in the finale, drilling seven kills and adding three assists in the finale, as NU came from behind to pull out a 30-26 win. NU trailed early on, as Texas built a 12-9 lead and led 17-16 before NU ran off three straight points, capped by Saleaumua's service ace that made it 19-17. The visitors, who have lost 12 straight matches to NU since 1999, tied the game at 21, but NU answered with a 5-1 spurt that ended with a combined block by Elmer and Saleaumua on Brandy Magee that made it 26-22. NU led 28-24, but a Christian kill and a NU hitting error pulled UT within 28-26 before consecutive kills by Houghtelling and Larson closed out NU's 32nd straight win over a Big 12 foe.

Leticia Armstrong led Texas with 12 kills, as no other Longhorn (12-3, 7-2) reached double figures in kills.

The Huskers return to action on Wednesday, as they travel to Kansas State. First serve is set for 7 p.m.

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