Mueller Leads No. 2 Nebraska Over Tulane

9/6/2008

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SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. - Tara Mueller tied a career high with 15 kills, leading second-ranked Nebraska to a 3-0 sweep of Tulane (25-17. 25-15, 25-20) Saturday night.

Mueller tied a career high for the second time this season and led NU in kills for the second straight match, as the Huskers improved to 6-0 on the season. Mueller was one of three Huskers named to the all-tournament team, joining Sydney Anderson and Jordan Larson.

Nebraska Coach John Cook said that Mueller took advantage of the opportunities by her teammates, especially as Larson peppered the Green Wave with her serve. Mueller finished the weekend with 33 kills, 15 digs and seven blocks in the three sweeps.

"Tara had a great weekend," Cook said. Tonight, Jordan ran off points in bunches with her serve, and Tara was getting kills in the front row off of Larson's serve and really took advantage of it."

Anderson helped the Huskers out-hit the Green Wave (2-4), .280-.108, as she dished out 29 assists and added two blocks and a pair of service aces. Larson nearly posted her second straight double-double with a team-best 12 digs and seven kills.

Nebraska used strong serving throughout the match, raking up seven aces, including three by senior Rachel Schwartz - all in a three-point stretch - and two apiece from Anderson and Kayla Banwarth.

Cook was pleased with how the Huskers performed after an emotional win over No. 14 Cal Poly last night.

"I thought we were efficient and sharp," Cook said. "Tulane played a great match against us, and we could have had a letdown today finishing up this tournament, but we were very sharp and efficient. That was good to see, especially on the road."

Nebraska used a strong offensive performance in the opening set, rolling to a 25-17 victory. The Huskers hit .378 as a team with Mueller firing six kills on .455 hitting, while Lindsey Licht added five kills on eight swings and a stuff block. The Huskers used the serving of Larson and the arm of Mueller to spark a run of six unanswered points that turned a two-point lead into a 13-5 cushion. Larson ran off five straight points at the service line, while Mueller capped the run with three straight kills. Trailing 18-12, the Green Wave fought back and pulled within 19-15, but kills from Larson and Mueller and a Tulane hitting error quickly pushed the Husker lead back to seven, and put the set out of reach.

In the second set, the story was the Huskers' serve, as Nebraska totaled five aces in a 25-15 victory. Schwartz keyed the effort with three consecutive aces, matching her career high. The Huskers were down 9-6 before running off five of the next six points, regaining the lead at 11-10 as Licht and Amanda Gates combined on a stuff block. The Huskers then took control with a 6-1 spurt, as three straight aces from the senior made it a 19-13 lead. Tulane closed to within 19-14, but could not get closer, as kills by Mueller and Larson started a set-ending 6-0 spurt to send the Huskers to the locker room up 2-0.

The Huskers were tested in the finale before pulling away late in a 25-20 victory. Larson and Mueller came up big offensively for the Big Red with five kills apiece, while Larson had two key stuffs down the stretch. The Huskers trailed 15-13 at the media timeout and were down 17-15 before running off four straight points to take a two-point lead at 19-17 after a Mueller kill. NU led 21-20 before a Green Wave service error and a stuff of Wells by Cooper and Larson put NU ahead 23-20 and forced the Green Wave to take a timeout. Moments later, Larson capped the sweep with her fifth kill of the set.

Bridget Wells led Tulane with 12 kills, while Nebraska limited Sara Radosevic to just eight kills on .077 hitting.

The Huskers return to action to action next Friday, Sept. 12, as they host No. 24 LSU at the Bob Devaney Sports Center as part of the Ameritas Players Challenge. First serve is set for 6 p.m. and the match will follow the St. John's/New Mexico contest which is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. Nearly 12,000 advance tickets have been sold for the contest, which is the Huskers' only Devaney Center appearance of the year.

Article courtesy of Nebraska athletics.

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