Huskers Top LSU in 5 Sets

No. 6 Nebraska used a dominant fifth set performance to pull out a come-from-behind win against LSU, winning 22-25, 25-16, 21-25, 25-15, 15-8 Friday night.

The Huskers (4-1) were nearly flawless in the finale, hitting .600 in the fifth set, as Lindsey Licht totaled four of her 15 kills and a pair of blocks in the decisive stanza.

Tara Mueller had three kills on six swings, while Brooke Delano capped a strong night with a pair of kills and a block, as NU pulled away down the stretch. Trailing 3-2, Licht and Delano combined for three straight kills to give the Huskers a two-point lead. The Tigers got to within 6-5, but kills from Hannah Werth and Delano gave the Huskers a three-point lead at the changeover. LSU pulled to within 10-7, but a Tiger service error began a run of four straight Husker points to put the match out of reach, capped by a block by Licht, Jordan Wilberger and Mueller.

Mueller led all players with 22 kills and added 15 digs, while Licht totaled season highs in both kills (15) and blocks (six), as the Huskers totaled 17.5 blocks and out-hit LSU, .265-.150. Delano nearly posted a double-double with a career-high nine blocks and nine kills, while Werth was the final Husker player in double figured in kills, as she posted 11 kills and 10 digs en route to her first career double-double.

Brittnee Cooper nearly carried LSU to victory, leading the Tigers with 20 kills on .581 hitting in a losing effort, as no other player finished in double figures in kills for LSU (2-2).

In the opening set, the Huskers got off to a quick start, but were unable to sustain the momentum, as LSU pulled out a 25-22 victory. The Tigers hit .323 in the set, compared to just .133 for the Huskers, as Mueller had four kills, while Delano had three kills on .500 hitting and a block. The Huskers got off to a quick start, winning four of the first five rallies of the match to take a 4-1 lead after a Tara Mueller ace. NU eventually pushed the margin to 7-3 after a Mueller kill, LSU would come back, winning four of the next five points to pull to within 8-7. Nebraska eventually took a 13-10 advantage, only to see the Tigers run off four straight points to take a 14-13 lead and force the Huskers to take a timeout. Nebraska forged back, tying the score twice more, but the Tigers took advantage of a Husker hitting error to take a 16-15 lead. Trailing 18-17, the Tigers won got two straight putaways to take a 20-17 lead on a DeGirolamo kill. Trailing 22-18, an LSU service miscue and a combined block from Lindsey Licht and Kori Cooper pulled the Huskers within two points and forced the Tigers to take a timeout. Nebraska was down 23-20 before a Werth kill off the block and a Delano solo stuff made it a one-point match and forced the Tigers to take a second timeout. The would be as close as the Huskers got, as Banwarth's subsequent serve was just wide before DeGirolamo's serve hit the net and eventually dropped for an ace to end the set. It marked the first ace NU had allowed since the fourth set of the match against Minnesota.

The second set was a reversal of fortune, as the Huskers dug themselves a 6-0 hole, only to storm back and even the match with an impressive 25-16 victory. Nebraska out-hit the Tigers, .302-.098 as Lindsey Licht paced the Big Red with five kills on .500 hitting, while Mueller also chipped in five kill. The Husker defense was the story, as NU totaled 21 digs, including nine from Kayla Banwarth, and out-blocked LSU, 4-1, including a pair of solo stuffs by Delano. After falling behind early, Nebraska came right back, as strong serving from Sydney Anderson, who finished with 51 assists and 14 digs, helped the Huskers run five straight to get back into the set before the Huskers tied the score at seven on a block by Werth and Kori Cooper. Trailing 10-9, Delano came up big, recording a kill and a solo stuff on Michele Williams before Mueller's solo block on Williams gave NU a two-point lead. LSU eventually pulled to within 14-13, but a Mueller tip and a two-hit violation pushed the margin to three points. Leading 16-14, a Cooper kill sent Kayla Banwarth to the service line, where the junior ran off seven straight points to put NU on the brink of evening the match. Moments later, Werth's kill sent the teams to the locker room tied at one apiece.

The third set was a back-and-forth throughout, but a late Tiger run proved costly in a 25-21 setback. Nebraska out-hit the Tigers, .158-.071, as Tara Mueller had six kills, while Licht totaled four kills on .400 hitting and two blocks. Brittnee Cooper had four kills and a block, but it strong serving for the Tigers, as LSU totaled three aces without an error in the set. Neither team lead by more than two points the first half of the set and NU used a 3-0 run to take a 16-14 lead after a Delano solo stuff that forced LSU to take a timeout. The Husker lead would be short lived, the Tigers used a 5-1 run of their own to regain the lead at 19-17 after a pair of hitting errors. Nebraska regrouped after a timeout, as an Anderson kill sparked a 3-1 run to tie the score at 20 apiece. Dabbs then took over, sparking a 3-0 run with a kill and a service ace before Marina Skender's kill put the Tigers up 23-20 and forced NU to take a timeout. The Huskers eventually fought off one set point, but another miscue proved costly as the Tigers took the third set.

Nebraska regrouped in the fourth set, holding the Tigers to .036 hitting in a 25-15 win. Werth, who was quiet the first part of the match, came up big with five kills, while fellow freshman Megan Pendergast totaled a pair of aces, as the Huskers racked up three aces in the set. LSU led 4-3 only to see the Huskers take control, using a 6-2 spurt with Pendergast keying the service run to take a 10-6 lead. The Tigers were within 11-7 only to see the Huskers run off three straight to double up the Tigers at 14-7. LSU made one last run, pulling to within 16-12 on a Lauren Waclawczyk service ace, but a service error and a Banwarth ace quickly pushed the margin back to six and ended the Tigers' hopes of ending the match in four sets.

The Huskers will wrap up tournament action Saturday afternoon, as they take on Tulane, a 3-0 winner over UL-Lafayette in tonight's first match, at 12:30 p.m. The match will be carried on selected Husker Sports Network stations, including B107.3 FM in Lincoln and Twister 93.3 FM in Omaha, and on Huskers.com. There will be no live video of tomorrow's match with the Green Wave.

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