LINCOLN, Neb. — In the first meeting between Santa Clara volleyball and Nebraska since their 2005 NCAA Tournament semifinal tilt, the No. 5 Cornhuskers defeated the Broncos 25-13, 21-25, 25-9, 25-15 at the Devaney Center to win the Ameritas Players Challenge. Santa Clara (4-3) went 2-1 in the tournament; the team defeated Wake Forest in four sets and swept Ohio on Friday.
The Broncos were the only team of the three to win a set off of Nebraska (4-1), who won 61 of 66 sets against unranked opposition in 2017.
Freshmen Michelle Shaffer and Liliana Light each earned their first collegiate all-tournament team selection for the Broncos. Shaffer hit .361 while leading the team with 28 kills, 37 digs and five aces between three matches. Light had 104 assists (9.45/set), 15 kills, 25 digs and 4.0 total blocks. She set Santa Clara to a .316 hitting percentage in Friday's sweep of the Bobcats.
Nebraska's Jazz Sweet led all players with 14 kills on .345 hitting as one of four Huskers to top a .333 attack percentage on Saturday. Mikaela Foecke had a 10-kill, 10-dig double-double, Nicklin Hames totaled 37 assists and Callie Schwarzenbach provided a big presence at the net with nine blocks. As a team, Nebraska outblocked the Broncos 12-7 and held a 10-2 edge in aces; four players had a least two aces for the home side.
Shaffer led the Broncos in kills for the fourth time in seven matches this season; she had eight on the day. Chloe Loreen racked up 14 digs to make it five 11-plus dig efforts in her last six matches. Light had 25 assists and Alexa Dreyer led the team with 6.0 total blocks.
The Big Red was in its best attacking form in the first and third sets; hitting .519 in the former and .435 in the latter. Nebraska combined for 27 kills on 50 attempts and only three attacking errors between the two stanzas. Foecke sparked an 8-0 first-frame stretch with three kills to give the tournament hosts a 16-6 lead and Sweet helped Nebraska jump in front 9-2 in the third set on the strength of two kills and two blocks.
Santa Clara trailed 15-11 in the second set, then stepped up at the net as five different Broncos contributed to three blocks to rattle off 10 of 11 points. That stretch forced the first Nebraska timeout of the tournament. The Broncos weathered a 3-0 Nebraska run that cut the lead to 21-19 on their way to winning the set.
The Cornhuskers built an 8-1 lead in the fourth set in part by blocking away three Bronco attacks in a five-point span. They led by at least five points the rest of the way. Lauren Stivrins produced two kills and had a match-clinching ace for the team's last three points.
The Broncos host the Santa Clara Invitational next week. Santa Clara faces Boise State on Thursday and UC Davis on Saturday; both matches are slated to start at 6 p.m.
- The Broncos are 0-7 all-time against the Cornhuskers.
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