No. 6 Nebraska returns to winning ways with a win over Iowa

Madi Kubik had 14 kills to lead the Nebraska volleyball team to a 25-14, 25-17, 25-14 win over Iowa on Friday in Coralville, Iowa.

Ally Batenhorst added 11 kills for the Huskers, and Lindsay Krause had 10 kills with a .471 batting average.

No. 6 Nebraska defeated Iowa for the sixth straight season, including twice in the last eight days.

The bigger news came shortly after Nebraska’s game ended, as unranked Maryland ended an upset four-set win over No. 6 Ohio State to add some drama to the race for the Big Ten title. As Friday’s games began, Ohio State tied for first place in the Big Ten with Wisconsin, and the Buckeyes have beaten their closest rivals in three of their last four home games.

But just like that, the Big Ten title is still up for grabs with three games to go. The Badgers are in first place with a 16-1 league record, with Nebraska and Ohio State tied for second place 15-2.

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The Huskers now control their own destiny to capture at least part of the Big Ten title by winning their remaining three games against Purdue, Wisconsin and Minnesota.

Regarding Nebraska, coach John Cook may have to make another lineup decision after giving setter Kennedi Orr another chance to start Friday. Orr played well and helped Nebraska finish with a .330 batting average.

Nebraska remained in the two-setter rotation, but with Nicklin Hames and Orr instead of Hames and Anni Evans.

Orr played at the end of Nebraska’s loss to Ohio State on Sunday. But Friday was her biggest action in more than a month.

“[Orr]played well,” Cook said on the Huskers Radio Network. “We hit (0.330) tonight. Kennedi played a great defense tonight. She plays a really good defense. She should build some confidence. She got Lindsay Krause up and running tonight.”

Hames finished with 15 assists and Orr had 11. Nebraska had 17 more kills than Iowa, 44-27.

Lexi Rodriguez had a match high of 20 digs to help Nebraska hold Iowa to .093.

Nebraska began the season with Orr as the starting setter, but at times it was inconsistent with their hiring.

But on Friday, Orr had some great sets that converted hitters for kills.

“With Kennedi, the ball comes out quicker,” Cook said. “That’s why we tried to go 5-1 (offensive) earlier in the year. Kennedi has great hands and creates a different pace.”

Orr’s fast pace has the potential to help Nebraska’s batsmen hit faster and harder, Cook said.

“Hopefully we build on that and Kennedi just keeps going up like a rocket,” he said.

Nebraska’s middle blockers still haven’t had great offensive nights, but Cook said part of that is Nebraska not being great on serve. Bekka Allick had three kills on seven attempts and Kailtyn Hord had one kill on seven attempts.

Amiya Jones had eight kills for Iowa (8-20, 2-15 Big Ten).

Nebraska (23-3, 15-2)…25 25 25

Iowa (8-20, 2-15)……… 14 17 14

NU (Kills Aces Blocks): Kubik 13-0-0, Batenhorst 11-0-1, Krause 10-0-1, Lauenstein 5-2-3, Allick 3-0-2, Knuckles 1-1-0 , Hord 1-0-4, Hames 0-1-1, Rodriguez 0-1-0. Overall: 14-5-12,

UI: Jones 8-1-3, Urquhart 5-0-1, Vanderweide 4-0-0, Onabanjo 3-0-1, McSweeney 3-0-1, Schmidt 3-0-1, Tessier 1-0-1 , Hinkle 0-1-0. Overall: 27-2-9.

Excavations: NU 54 (Rodriguez 19, Kubik 9, Orr 8, Hames 6, Knuckles 5, Batenhorst 3, Allick 2, Krause 1, Hord 1), UI 31 (Tessier 10, Hinkle 6, Urquhart 5, Dennis 4, Onabanjo 3 , Ortega 3). Typesetting templates: NU 41 (Hames 16, Orr 11, Rodriguez 7, Allick 4, Krause 1, Knuckles 1, Boesiger 1), UI 20 (Tessier 9, Ortega 7, Hinkle 3, Jones 1).

Reach the author at 402-473-7435 or [email protected] On Twitter @LJSSportsWagner.

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