Nebraska tops Wisconsin in five-set thriller between undefeated teams (2024)

Last Updated 9:29 AM, October 23, 2023

Kaitlyn Schmidt |

Nebraska beats Wisconsin: Lexi Rodriguez reacts to top-2 volleyball showdown win


3:13 am, October 22, 2023

Nebraska beats Wisconsin in showdown for No. 1

Nebraska tops Wisconsin in five-set thriller between undefeated teams (2)

Nebraska coach John Cook tipped his red cowboy hat to salute the Huskers' top-2 victory as thousands of fans lingered in the sold-out Devaney Center to celebrate No. 2 Nebraska's 3-2 (25-22, 17-25, 20-25, 26-24, 15-13) win against No. 1 Wisconsin. The win halted the Badgers' streak at 10 in a row in the series.

GET CAUGHT UP: Complete stats from the Nebraska-Wisconsin match

Nebraska took the first set, but the Huskers lost their momentum and dropped the next two β€” hitting .016 during the second and third set combined. The Huskers continued to play from behind in the fourth, but kept the match in check and forced a fifth set with three consecutive kills by Harper Murray, Andi Jackson and Bekka Allick.

Three final bombs from Harper Murray decided the match. Murray notched a double-double with 14 kills and 15 digs, but was held to a .091 clip on the evening.

Outside hitter Merritt Beason attacked from the front and back line, killing 21 β€” one off from her career high β€” on 52 swings and digging up seven.

This match wouldn't be recapped properly without credit given to the Wisconsin block. The Badgers denied balls left and right specifically in the second frame, stuffing 12 β€” this was double than what they blocked the rest of the match (totaled 18 overall), and also double what Nebraska blocked the entire match (7).

With this win, the Huskers remain undefeated β€” 19-0 β€” and snapped Wisconsin's 18-match win streak. Nebraska will most likely take the Badgers' No. 1 spot in the AVCA rankings, which Wisconsin has held since Week 1.

you can’t script this

β€” Nebraska Huskers (@Huskers) October 22, 2023

2:48 am, October 22, 2023

😱 Nebraska tops No. 1 Badgers

In front of a record crowd of Husker faithful, the Nebraska Cornhuskers put No. 1 Wisconsin to bed on a net violation, 15-13.

β€” Nebraska Huskers (@Huskers) October 22, 2023

2:41 am, October 22, 2023


After a tightly contested fourth set, complete with six ties and three lead changes, a Bekka Allick slam propels the Huskers to a fifth set, 26-24.


β€” Nebraska Volleyball (@HuskerVB) October 22, 2023

The teams traded the lead at the beginning of the frame before Nebraska emerged 9-6 with five consecutive points β€” threestraight of those from Wisconsin attack errors. The Badgers worked to make up the deficit the rest of the set, finally knotting the score at 17-all, and went back-and-forth with Nebraska through the final rally.

The teams hit low this set, Nebraska going .100 and Wisconsin hitting .147.

Now it's a race to 15.

2:18 am, October 22, 2023

πŸ‘πŸΌ New Devaney attendance record

Tonight's standing-room only match marks the first time that Nebraska's Devaney Center has seen over 9,000 fans. With 9,198 packing the house, Nebraska's 314th consecutive home-sold out match shattered the previous record of8,656 fans.

The energy has been unreal since first serve.

9️⃣,1️⃣9️⃣8️⃣ in the house tonight.

A new Devaney Center record for @HuskerVB.

β€” Nebraska Huskers (@Huskers) October 22, 2023

The energy has been unreal since first serve.

9️⃣,1️⃣9️⃣8️⃣ in the house tonight.

A new Devaney Center record for @HuskerVB.

β€” Nebraska Huskers (@Huskers) October 22, 2023

2:13 am, October 22, 2023

⚠️ Live stats down

Standby, the live statistics are down in Lincoln.

*Live stats are currently down. Will update as more information comes through.

β€” Nebraska Volleyball (@HuskerVB) October 22, 2023

1:51 am, October 22, 2023

Set 3️⃣ is Wisconsin's

The Badgers rode their train of momentum and won Set 3 handily.

This 47-second rally describes the entire frame in itself β€” both teams are matched so evenly that they force each other out-of-system multiple times... This one went to Nebraska in a tool kill, notching the Huskers to 17-22.

Tensions began to rise as Wisconsin's Izzy Ashburn argued a double touch and was issued a yellow card following this play.

β€” Nebraska Volleyball (@HuskerVB) October 22, 2023

Nebraska garnered a rally following this point, squeezing their deficit to 20-23 before this right side block by CC Crawford and Ashburn put the set away for Wisconsin, 25-20.

1:35 am, October 22, 2023

Badger πŸ”™ row kill

Wisconsin's Sarah Franklin rockets the ball from the back line as the Badgers now dominate Set 3,21-13.

TAKEOFF @sarahfrankk13 πŸš€πŸš€πŸš€

β€” Wisconsin Volleyball (@BadgerVB) October 22, 2023

1:06 am, October 22, 2023

βš–οΈ Wisconsin evens the scales

The Badgers scored TWELVE crucial points off its defensive front line to top the Huskers in the second, 25-17.

Wisconsin has gone all-out in the block, with Carter Booth and Caroline Crawford contributing seven each this match and Anna Smrek and Devyn Robinson blocking five. With a 12-2 block advantage this set, the Badgers shot out to an early 7-point lead and kept the distance from the Huskers, claiming the set on a Nebraska service error.

Nebraska even out-killed the Badgers 12-7, but still hit -0.77 against Wisconsin's defensive onslaught.

Brought the brick wall on the plane with us πŸ€·β€β™€οΈ

Set 2
UW 20
Neb 12

β€” Wisconsin Volleyball (@BadgerVB) October 22, 2023

12:59 am, October 22, 2023

🚫 Badgers DENY

Devyn Robinson and Carter Booth opened up Set 2 with back-to-back denials to notch a much-needed Wisconsin lead. Currently, the Badgers lead Nebraska9-7.

Back to back blocks to start the 2nd 😏

β€” Wisconsin Volleyball (@BadgerVB) October 22, 2023

12:25 am, October 22, 2023

πŸ‘œ Big Red bags first set

A block assist by Bergen Reilly and Andi Jackson confirmed it: Nebraska holds a 1-0 advantage over the No. 1 Badgers.

SET 1 ENDS WITH A ROOFβ€ΌοΈπŸ @BergenReilly 🀝 @aandijackson

β€” Nebraska Volleyball (@HuskerVB) October 22, 2023

The Huskers shot out to a 9-4 lead and maintained about a five-point edge through the set. Though trailing early, Wisconsin remained alive to force three set points before falling 25-22.

The arms of Merritt Beason, Ally Batenhorst and Harper Murray β€” who tallied four kills apiece β€” forced the Badgers out of system often, causing Wisconsin to error five times on the attack and get out-hit, .125 to Nebraska's .214. Important to note: Wisconsin's season average is .315, and the lowest they've hit is .199 against ranked Florida.

Libero Lexi Rodriguez has already dug up eight balls, just one less than her nine-dig performance on Wednesday versus Northwestern. Watch this bump by Rodriguez land just inbounds to notch a Nebraska point:


That ball is IN. πŸ˜‰ @Alexis14Rod

β€” Nebraska Volleyball (@HuskerVB) October 22, 2023

Nebraska showed some weakness in the serve, erring thrice at the line.

Overall reaction: Nebraska looks much more calm under pressure than Wisconsin, converting long rallies and hustle plays. Wisconsin must organize themselves to avoid a defeat in front of a sold-out Husker crowd.

12:09 am, October 22, 2023

πŸ”₯ Huskers hot

Nebraska has set the tone this evening, holding the Badgers to -.059 hitting thus far. Freshman Andi Jackson slams an exclamation point here to spark a Husker rally. Nebraska currently leads the first,9-4.

BIG RIP, AJ! πŸ”₯ @aandijackson

β€” Nebraska Volleyball (@HuskerVB) October 22, 2023

11:51 pm, October 21, 2023

πŸ”„ Tonight's starters

Below are tonight's starters:

🌽 Nebraska

  • Bergen Reilly
  • Harper Murray
  • Bekka Allick
  • Merritt Beason
  • Laney Choboy
  • Andi Jackson
  • Lexi Rodriguez

🦑 Wisconsin

  • CC Crawford
  • Devyn Robinson
  • Izzy Ashburn
  • Temi Thomas-Ailara
  • Sarah Franklin
  • Carter Boorth
  • Julia Orzol

9:09 pm, October 21, 2023

🀩 Volleyball fans... Assemble

More than two hours before first serve, dozens of fans are already lined outside of the Devaney Center. It's almost that time...

nebraska is a volleyball school. 2 and half hours till doors open‼️

β€” Iron N Volleyball (@HuskerBlock) October 21, 2023

2:56 pm, October 20, 2023

πŸ“Ί How to watch Nebraska-Wisconsin

Nebraska tops Wisconsin in five-set thriller between undefeated teams (3)

Here's how to tune into the Nebraska-Wisconsin match:

  • πŸ—“οΈ When: Saturday, Oct. 21
  • πŸ“ Where: Lincoln, Neb.| Devaney Center
  • ⏰ Time: 8p.m. ET
  • πŸ“ΊTV: Big Ten Network
  • πŸ‘‰πŸΌClick here for live stats

2:56 pm, October 20, 2023

🍿 The Battle of the Unbeatens

These two teams have been in the top two of the ACVA rankings for five consecutive weeks and are the only teams β€” besides unranked Citadel β€” to remain undefeated this season. With respective 18-0 records, the Big Ten rivals have downed a combined 12 ranked programs and have absolutely dominated this season. This match is undoubtedlythe most important match of the season thus far; it'll likely determine the title favorite (timely with the second DI committee Top-10 rankings coming out next weekend). Here's how these juggernauts compare:


The programs dually rank in the top-10 nationally for hitting percentage, Wisconsin hitting .315 and Nebraska at .297. Wisconsin's Sarah Franklin is the reigning Big Ten Player of the Week from her 34-kill weekend that carried the Badgers over Rutgers and Maryland. The Michigan State transfer leads Wisconsin with 231 kills (3.85 K/S). Freshman Bergen Reilly controls the Nebraska offense, assisting 10.48 per set and picking up two consecutive Big Ten Setter of the Week honors. Her main targets are Florida transfer Merritt Beason and first-year Harper Murray, who have added almost 450 combined kills.


Saturday's match will be a showcase of the block; Wisconsin MBs Carter Booth and Caroline Crawford go head-to-head with Huskers Andi Jackson and Bekka Allick. Minnesota transfer Booth leads the conference in B/S and ranks in the top 10 in the nation with a 1.45 average, combining with Crawford for 164 blocks on the year. Booth has also proven herself as a utility player with 107 kills on the season and averaging a .454 clip. At Nebraska, Jackson has had a breakout freshman season, ranking third in the Big Ten in hitting .415 and totaling 68 blocks. Allick is dangerous at the net, tallying 72 total blocks.

In the back line, Nebraska libero Lexi Rodriguez just earned her second Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week honors by digging up an average of 4.86 digs per set between the Huskers' recent matches versus Penn State and Michigan State.

In sum...

The only clear leg up that Wisconsin has over the Huskers is the serve, which could be pivotal in this tightly contested match. The Badgers have aced 115 times so far, more than double the Huskers' 48 service aces.

The distinct makeups of these teams are also worth noting; Nebraska's starting rotation is comprised of four freshmen whereas Wisconsin's is made up of four transfers.

This will be the 16th time (of 30 matches) that the two meet while both ranked, and the third time that they've met while both in the top-5 of the AVCA rankings (the first time being No. 1 and No. 2, though).One team will exit the Devaney Sports Center with a stain on their record, while the other is guaranteed to don No. 1 in the rankings until A) they lose a match OR B) the two face off again in November. For two of the most ecstatic fanbases in college volleyball β€” buckle up, it's almost showtime.

Nebraska tops Wisconsin in five-set thriller between undefeated teams (2024)
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