Huskers Honor Seniors with Sweep of Colorado

Christina Houghtelling's 14 kills led three players in double figures, as No. 1 Nebraska sent its three seniors out in style with an impressive 30-19, 30-26, 30-19 sweep of Colorado on Senior Night at the NU Coliseum.

Christina Houghtelling's outburst led a Husker onslaught, as Nebraska (28-0, 19-0 Big 12) hit .482, its highest single match effort in three seasons and the 16th-highest performance in school history. In all, four players hit over .500, led by senior Jennifer Saleaumua‘s nine kills on .615 hitting, as she also added a match-high 15 digs.

Jordan Larson and Sarah Pavan also added 13 kills apiece, while Tracy Stalls totaled seven kills on .500 hitting and a match-high five blocks.  Nebraska's setting duo of Dani Busboom and Maggie Griffin combined for 56 assists, as the Huskers hit better than .500 in two of the three games.

"Offensively, we were awesome," Nebraska Head Coach John Cook said. "Anytime we can hit .482 against a team like Colorado, that's great. We really used our athleticism tonight to our advantage."

While the Huskers totaled 59 assists, a season best for a three-game match, the final assist came following Senior Night ceremonies for Saleaumua and All-American Melissa Elmer when local sportscaster Kevin Sjuts proposed to senior setter Michelle Lynch, the third Husker honored on Wednesday. Lynch, who was forced to retire from the sport because of injuries before the season, accepted the proposal, sending the sellout crowd of 4,113 to their feet one final time.

"I don't think there was a dry eye in here," Cook said. "The Husker fans didn't quite know what to do with themselves and it caught the team entirely off guard."

The Huskers came out firing, hitting .526 en route to a 30-19 victory. Larson had six kills on seven swings while four other players had at least four kills in game on. Leading 19-17, Nebraska used strong serving by Saleaumua and the blocking of Stalls to put together an 8-0 run to make it 27-17. Saleaumua ran off seven straight points at the service line, while Stalls had three straight blocks in the run.

In game two, the Buffaloes hung tough before Nebraska pulled away late for a 30-26 victory. Houghtelling had five kills, as the Huskers out-hit CU, .359-.289. Nebraska trailed early on, as the Buffaloes built a 15-12 advantage.  The Huskers responded, using a 6-1 run to take an 18-16 lead on a Larson kill and eventually forged a 26-23 lead. CU made one final run, scoring three straight points to pull even at 26-all on an Amber Sutherland kill, but Elmer's kill sparked a 4-0 game-closing run, sending NU to the locker room with a 2-0 lead.

The Huskers ended any suspense early in game three, jumping to an 11-4 lead and never looking back in a 30-19 victory. Saleaumua and Hougtelling combined for 10 kills on 12 swings, as Nebraska hit .571 in the finale. CU pulled to within 20-13, but two kills by Houghtelling and a Pavan kill quickly pushed the lead to double figures, effectively ending CU's hopes of pushing the match to five games. Sutherland totaled seven of her 14 kills in the finale for the Buffaloes, who dropped to 14-11 on the year and 10-10 in the Big 12.

Nebraska will put its 42-match Big 12 winning streak on the line on Saturday night, as the Huskers travel to No. 11 Texas. First serve is set for 6:30 p.m. and will be carried on B107.3 FM in Lincoln and other Pinnacle Sports affiliates across the state. 

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