Mikaela Foecke’s 20 kills help Huskers hold off Boilermakers, extend home winning streak

LINCOLN — Nebraska survived a powerful attack from No. 22 Purdue to extend its nation-leading home winning streak to 24 straight matches.

Mikaela Foecke had 20 kills on .364 hitting to lead No. 7 Nebraska to a 25-22, 21-25, 26-24, 25-23 win on Friday night at the Devaney Center.

Senior Briana Holman added 15 kills, while Annika Albrecht and Jazz Sweet each had 10 for the Huskers, which have now won five straight over the Boilermakers.

Purdue’s offense was red-hot all night. The Boilermakers hit .328 led by 20 kills apiece from Danielle Cuttion and Sherridan Atkinson.

Game 1: Nebraska had trouble slowing Purdue’s attack in the opener, but found enough of its own offense to hold on for a 25-22 win.

The Boilermakers out-hit NU .290 to .237 and notched five blocks in the match’s first 20 rallies.

Still, Nebraska never trailed after scoring three straight to take an early 5-2 lead. The Huskers would not lead by more than three but retook the lead after Purdue tied it 18-18. Foecke answered on a roll shot, one of her seven kills in Game 1, and Jazz Sweet followed with a kill in transition.

The Boilermakers would cut it to one point three more times, pulling within 22-21 on a dump by setter Ashley Evans, but NU held on when Sweet put down a long back-set by Hunter and Stivrins came up with a block on set point.

Danielle Cuttino led Purdue with five kills in Game 1.

Game 2: Purdue continued to ride the hot hands of its pin hitters in Game 2. Both Cuttino and 6-foot-5 opposite hitter Sherridan Atkinson had six kills in the set for the Boilermakers, who never trailed after a 5-1 run to go in front 11-9.

The Huskers would get as close as 15-14 on a kill by Sweet, but Purdue answered with the next four points capped by back-to-back kills by freshman outside hitter Caitlyn Newton.

Atkinson would add two kills late in the set, and the Huskers hurt themselves with a pair of serving errors. A cross-court kill by Annika Albrecht saved Purdue’s second set point, but Newton tooled the block on the next rally to give Purdue the set and tie the match 1-1 at the intermission.

Purdue hit .382 in Game 2 and didn’t let Nebraska score more than two consecutive points with the Boilermakers holding an 81 percent sideout rate.

Briana Holman’s five kills in the set led the Huskers, who hit .212.

Game 3: Nebraska survived a high-wire finish to take a 2-1 lead by pulling out the third set 26-24.

Holman’s fourth kill of the set tied it 12-12, but then Atkinson took over with two straight kills and a block of Sweet to put the Boilermakers up 15-12.

But Nebraska would rally. Sweet’s kill started a 3-1 run to cut the lead to 16-15. The Huskers then pulled in front with a 4-1 run capped by Albrecht’s ace to give NU a 19-18 lead.

The Huskers led 21-19 after Newton fired wide before Purdue took the next three points, grabbing a 22-21 lead when Cuttino and Atkinson combined to block Foecke.

Nebraska edged in front 24-23 when officials ruled a swing by Azariah Stahl went wide of the antenna, and Sweet followed with an out-of-system kill from a set by Holman.

Purdue saved NU’s set point with a Stahl kill, but Albrecht put down a kill on the next rally, and on Nebraska’s second try for the set, Purdue setter Ashley Evans was pulled into the net on a tight pass.

Holman had six kills in Game 3 to lead NU, which out-hit Purdue .279-.250. Atkinson had six kills in the set for the Boilermakers.

Game 4: The finale was just as much of a nailbiter. The Huskers appeared in control up 19-14 after an Albrecht kill, but the Boilermakers weren’t done. Cuttino scored from the back row out of system to start a 6-2 run. Jena Otec’s ace landed on the endline to pull Purdue within 21-20, forcing a Husker timeout.

Hunter’s second touch dump put Nebraska up 22-20, but Stahl got a kill and a big solo block of Holman to knot it 22-22.

Then, came the night’s most-pivotal review. Officials gave Purdue a point when Foecke’s swing went long, but NU coach John Cook’s challenge was rewarded when review revealed the shot grazed the Boilermakers’ block to put Nebraska up 23-22.

Sweet scored in transition to give the Huskers two match points, and after an Atkinson kill, Foecke’s 20th kill of the night came on a soft roll shot that went off the Purdue block.

The Huskers will host Indiana Saturday at 7:30 p.m.

No. 22 Purdue (17-6, 7-5 Big Ten)………22 25 24

At No. 7 Nebraska (18-4, 11-1)………….25 21 26

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