Huskers Tame Bears, 3-0

Christina Houghtelling and Sarah Pavan combined for 26 kills, as No. 1 Nebraska moved closer to a Big 12 regular-season title with a 30-18, 30-19, 30-21 sweep of Baylor Wednesday evening at the Ferrell Center.

Pavan finished with a match-high 14 kills on 21 swings, hitting a career-high .667 without recording an error for the second time in three matches. The sophomore All-American also chipped in three service aces and four blocks in the sweep, as NU won its 40th straight Big 12 match dating back to the 2003 season.

Houghtelling was just as superb, totaling 12 kills on .526 hitting. She hit over .500 for the third time this season, and she also totaled eight digs on the night. NU setters Dani Busboom and Maggie Griffin combined for 47 assists to power NU's .422 hitting percentage. The Huskers' average tied for their second-highest total of the year. In all, five players hit over .400, including Dani Mancuso, who had five kills on six swings.

Nebraska improved to 26-0 overall and 17-0 in the Big 12 while moving within one victory of clinching at least a share of the Big 12 Conference title. Texas, which is 15-2 in the league after sweeping of Texas Tech on Wednesday, trails the Huskers by two matches with three matches remaining on the schedule.

All-American Melissa Elmer totaled five blocks and nine kills on .444 hitting to help NU hold Baylor (14-15, 5-12 Big 12) to just .110 hitting. The Huskers tied their season low of eight blocks, which was set in the first meeting of the year against the Bears.

In game one, the Huskers got off to a great start, hitting .472 and rolling to a 30-18 victory. Elmer, Jordan Larson and Houghtelling had four kills each to pace a balanced attack. The Huskers fell behind early, as Baylor took a 7-4 lead after a Kelly Spriggs kill. NU responded with five straight points, including a pair of aces by Pavan to take a 9-7 lead. The Bears cut the Husker lead to 10-9, but kills by Elmer and Tracy Stalls gave NU a three-point lead and forced a Bear timeout. The Huskers continued the 7-2 run after the timeout, taking a 17-11 lead after a Larson kill. The hosts eventually closed to 22-17 on an Emily Huston service ace, but two straight kills by Houghtelling triggered an 8-1 run to end game one.

Nebraska continued its offensive onslaught in game two, hitting .472 and committing two hitting errors in a 30-19 victory. Pavan had eight kills on 12 swings, while Houghtelling was a perfect 6-for-6 hitting. Nebraska took control early, racing out to an early 8-3 lead and led 14-8 before the Bears scored three straight points to pull within 14-11 after a Melanie Hamerly kill. The Huskers then regained the momentum, scoring four unanswered points to take an 18-11 lead after consecutive kills by Pavan forced a Bear timeout.

Nebraska closed out the match in the finale, holding BU to .091 hitting in a 30-21 victory, as the Huskers played several of their reserves late in the game. The Bears were within 11-9 before a kill by Larson and two kills by Elmer triggered a spurt of four unanswered points, as NU took a 15-9 lead and forced a BU timeout. The Huskers eventually pushed the lead to 18-10 on an Elmer kill and led by at least six points the rest of the way.

Desiree Guillard-Young led Baylor with nine kills and four blocks in a losing effort.

The Huskers return home on Saturday, Nov. 19, to take on Kansas State to begin a two-match homestand. First serve is at 7 p.m. and the match will be carried on selected Pinnacle Sports Network stations, including B107.3 FM. Saturday's match is also Toys for Tots Night. Fans are encouraged to bring a new, unwrapped toy or monetary donation to the match for needy kids in the Lincoln community.

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