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Three takes from Nebraska's dominating sweep of Rutgers

No. 10 Nebraska volleyball (12-3, 6-0) traveled to Rutgers (8-9, 0-6) after beating No. 13 Penn State 3-1 on Friday for a Sunday matinee. The Huskers controlled the match on their way to a 25-19, 25-9 and 25-12 victory over the Scarlet Knights.

NU is now 6-0 in the Big Ten with four sweeps.

Here are three takes from Nebraska's impressive victory over Rutgers:

Madi Kubik with six consecutive double-digit kill performances

Left-side hitter Madi Kubik has emerged during Big Ten play. With her 11 kills against Rutgers, she has double-digit kills against all six of NU's conference opponents.

On Friday versus Penn State, Kubik had 19 kills, 12 digs and hit .235.

She has become a back-row attack threat and had back-to-back kills from behind the line in the third set against the Scarlet Knights. Kubik also had nine digs and two blocks.

She had four errors and hit .280 on Sunday. Kubik, who has been high-error in the past, has 85 kills against the Big Ten but with 29 hitting errors.

The next step for her is to make it a habit of making smart decisions with the ball but she has improved this season.

Getting more experience

Middle blocker Kayla Caffey, who has started in all six conference matches, didn't play on Sunday. Head coach John Cook said on Huskers Radio Network after the match that Caffey has been feeling "under the weather" all week. He said she tested negative for COVID-19.

With Caffey out, Callie Schwarzenbach started with Lauren Stivrins at middle blocker. Schwarzenbach had five kills, hit .444 and had three blocks. Stivrins added six kills and hit .214 with three errors.

Because Nebraska was leading by so much, Lexi Sun and Whitney Lauenstein also played.

Sun checked in when the Huskers led 17-5 in the second set and started the third set. She had two kills, one error on seven swings and hit .143. She also had one dig and one block.

Lauenstein checked in with the Huskers up 18-7 and had two kills with one error and hit .200. She added a block shared with Stivrins.

For all the Nebraska players that have played very little in Big Ten conference games, it was good for them to get some experience. Schwarzenbach and Sun are both veterans but Lauenstein is a freshman and had valuable experience against a Big Ten opponent.

Serving could take Nebraska far

Against Rutgers, the Huskers had 10 service aces, which is 3.33 per set. They had a whopping five aces in the first set behind three from defensive specialist Kenzie Knuckles.

Six Huskers earned an ace in the match. Anni Evans and libero Lexi Rodriguez each had two. Rodriguez added a team-high 17 digs.

Cook said that Nebraska's serving "dictated the whole match." Rutgers struggled to get a good first pass and was out-of-system often, contributing to their .042 hitting percentage.

The Huskers have 82 aces on the season and had a season-high 10 aces twice.

Serving tough has a huge impact on the number of free balls sent over the net, if the opponent is in system and can limit good sets and consequently, easy kills. It also provides points (aces) and helps with blocking defense.

Being a great serving team has a lot of benefits and is a huge advantage.

If Nebraska can continue putting a lot of pressure on their opponents from the service line this season, it will help them tremendously in the Big Ten play.