No. 6 Huskers Sweep Tulane

Sixth-ranked Nebraska put together its most complete effort of the season, sweeping Tulane, 25-9, 25-18, 25-14, Saturday afternoon in the Tiger Classic.

The Huskers (5-1) hit a season-best .360, as Lindsey Licht drilled home a match-high 11 kills on .409 hitting and added five stuffs in NU's third victory in a 26-hour span. Gina Mancuso added eight kills, while Tara Mueller and Brooke Delano added seven apiece in a balanced performance. Sydney Anderson dished out 32 assists and added eight digs, as NU hit .290 or better in all three sets.

Nebraska's defense continued to shine, recording 11 blocks and holding the Green Wave (1-1) to -.036 hitting. Delano, who had nine stuffs in Friday's win over LSU, led NU with six blocks, while Kayla Banwarth's 14 digs keyed a Husker floor defense that out-dug Tulane, 45-37. It marked the first time NU held an opponent under .000 hitting since the first round of the 2007 NCAA Tournament.

Nebraska played one of its best sets of the season, rolling to a 25-9 victory over the Green Wave in the opening set. The Huskers hit .480 in the set and committed only one error, while the Green Wave was held to -.105 hitting with 10 errors. Nebraska used balance with four players recording three kills apiece in the set. Nebraska used strong serving from Anderson to race out to a 5-0 lead, as the junior kept the Green Wave off balance early, while Mueller added a pair of quick kills. Tulane fought back, getting to within 6-5, but a pair of Licht kills ignited an 8-1 Husker spurt as she totaled all three of her kills in the set during the run. While Licht powered the attack, the serving of Banwarth and Megan Pendergast helped Nebraska take a commanding 14-6 lead. After a Green Wave kill stemmed the tide, three straight miscues provided the Huskers with a double digit lead at 17-7, as NU ran off five points on the serve of Gina Mancuso to take a 20-7 lead and were never threatened again.

While NU was in control for the first set, the Huskers were unable to seize the momentum until late in a 25-19 victory in the second set. Licht came up big for the Huskers, drilling home six kills on .600 hitting, as the Huskers out-hit the Green Wave, .333-.054. After never trailing in the opener, the Huskers trailed for the first half of the set until taking their first lead at 16-15 on a Green Wave hitting error. With the score tied at 16, a Delano kill sparked a decisive 8-2 spurt that salted the set away. NU used a 4-1 run to take a 20-17 lead on an Anderson ace and forced the Green Wave to take a timeout. After a Husker serving error, a Wilberger kill began another 4-0 run that put NU up 24-18 on a Licht kill before her sixth kill of the set sent NU up 2-0 at the break.

Nebraska's defense took control in the finale, as the Huskers collected seven stuffs and held the Green Wave to -.054 hitting. Licht and Delano took over for the Huskers, as both were involved in four blocks, while adding two kills apiece. That was the key early on, as NU recorded three blocks in a four-point span to turn a one-point deficit into an early 6-3 lead. With Tulane within 10-8, a Mancuso kill sparked a 4-0 run, as NU pushed the lead to 14-8 on a Mueller kill. Tulane got within 16-11, but Nebraska wrapped up the match by winning of seven the next eight rallies to take a commanding 23-12 lead and complete their third sweep of the week.

Ksenija Vlaskovic and Visnja Djurdjevic led Tulane with seven kills apiece in the loss.

The Huskers return home for the Ameritas Players Challenge beginning Thursday evening against Virginia. The four-day event wraps up on Sunday, Sept. 13, against No. 9 UCLA and less than 1,000 tickets remain for the match at the Devaney Center. Remaining tickets for that match are $8 for adults and $5 for NU students with a valid N-Card.

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