The Nebraska volleyball team begins the 2012 season with a busy weekend, hosting Saint Louis and UCLA at the NU Coliseum on Friday and Saturday, and traveling to the CenturyLink Center in Omaha for a match up with Notre Dame on Sunday.
The weekend's action kicks off on Friday as the Huskers take on Saint Louis at 7 p.m. On Saturday, Nebraska and defending NCAA Champion UCLA will meet at 6 p.m.
The Huskers hold a 1-0 record over Saint Louis, last meeting in 1975. The last time the Huskers faced the Billikens, Nebraska won in two sets (15-8, 15-7).
Nebraska and UCLA met for the first time in 1979, when the Huskers lost in two sets to the Bruins. The two teams have met a total of 14 times, with Nebraska leading the series at 9-5. The Huskers most recently faced the Bruins on Sept. 13, 2009 at the Devaney Center, with NU losing in five sets (25-18, 17-25, 22-25, 26-24, 7-15).
Nebraska's match with Saint Louis will be available on BTN.com, where fans can view the match with a subscription. Nebraska will take on UCLA live on the Big Ten Network, while Nebraska's showdown with Notre Dame will air live on NET.
Fans can listen to all of the action with John Baylor and Diane Mendenhall on the 25-station Husker Sports Network, including B107.3 FM in Lincoln and The Wolf 93.3 FM in Omaha. Fans outside the state will also be able to catch the live audio feed for free on Huskers.com.
Live stats for all matches will be available on Huskers.com.
Scouting the Saint Louis Billikens
- Saint Louis is coming off a 15-13 record in 2011.
- The Billikens return five starters from a year ago, including senior setter Cassie Clarke, senior middle blocker Carly Marcum, junior defensive specialist/libero Grace Bonoma and senior Andrea Bolt, all of whom played in all 105 sets in 2011.
- The Billikens finished 10-5 in the Atlantic-10 Conference in 201, posting a third-place finish.
- Clarke transferred to Saint Louis from Arkansas prior to the 2011 season and averaged 9.41 assists, 2.39 digs and 0.51 blocks per set while also contributing 84 kills and 23 service aces.
- Bolt averaged 2.02 digs per set and chipped in 29 service aces in 2011, while Bonoma led the Billikens in digs (289) and digs per set (2.75) and collected 24 aces.
Scouting the UCLA Bruins
- UCLA is coming off a 30-6 record and an NCAA Championship in 2011
- The Bruins return All-American Rachael Kidder in 2012 after she started all 34 matches and led the Bruins with 4.70 kills per set and 5.24 points per set as a junior.
- UCLA also returns Bjoana Todorovic as she led the team with 39 aces, while averaging 2.28 digs and 0.73 kills per set in 2011.
- Mariana Aquino returns as a junior who led the team with 1.12 blocks per set in 2011, including a holding a .326 hitting percentage and averaging 1.67 kills per set.
- The Bruins were picked as the preseason Pac-12 favorite, earning 10 first-place votes.
- UCLA comes into the contest with the Huskers ranked No. 1 in the AVCA Preseason Coaches Poll.
- Michael Sealy is in just his third year as head coach, holding a two-year record of 52-15.
Scouting the Notre Dame Fighting Irish
- Notre Dame is coming off a 17-13 record in 2011, including an 8-6 mark in the BIG EAST Conference.
- The Fighting Irish finished second in the BIG EAST Tournament in 2011.
- Notre Dame returns four starters from the 2011 season, including Jeni Houser who averaged 3.05 kills per set, 0.75 digs per set and 364.5 total points as a freshman.
- Andrea McHugh returns for the Fighting Irish after averaging 2.58 kills per set, 3.18 digs per set and 346.0 total points in 2011.
- Notre Dame was selected to finish third in the annual BIG EAST preseason poll. In addition, Houser earned a spot on the All-BIG EAST preseason team.
- Debbie Brown returns for her 21st season at the helm of the Fighting Irish, holding a 463-183 record at the school.
Noting the Nebraska Cornhuskers
The information below provides a quick glimpse of a few statistics and brief notes heading into this weekend.
- The Huskers return first-team AVCA All-American Gina Mancuso and AVCA Honorable Mention All-Americans Lauren Cook, Hannah Werth and Morgan Broekhuis to the 2012 roster.
- Nebraska begins the 2012 season as the second-winningest program in Division I history with 1,140 wins and trails only UCLA (1,158) on the all-time list.
- NU was ranked No. 4 in the AVCA Preseason Coaches Poll, receiving 1,128 points
- The defending Big Ten Champion Huskers were picked as the favorite to win the Big Ten title in 2012, while Lauren Cook, Hannah Werth and Gina Mancuso were picked as All-Big Ten selections.
- Nebraska will carry a streak of 164 consecutive sellouts at the NU Coliseum into the 2012 season, the longest sellout streak across all NCAA women's athletics. The Huskers averaged 4,522 fans per home contest last season.
• Nebraska has 10 players on its 2012 roster who were Volleyball Magazine Fab 50 selections, representing the top-50 players in that year's recruiting class. Five of the Huskers' last seven recruiting classes have ranked in the top five nationally, including the 2009 class that was ranked second by Prepvolleyball.com
- Nebraska continued its string of All-America success in 2011, as Gina Mancuso was named an AVCA All-American. Mancuso upped Nebraska's NCAA-leading totals to 35 players and 71 certificates. Nebraska has had at least one All-American every season since 1983, a total of 30 straight seasons, including 36 All-America awards in Cook's 12 years at Nebraska.
AVCA All-America Certificates
No. School Awards
1. Nebraska 71
2. Stanford 65
3. Penn State 54
4. Hawaii 52
5. UCLA 42
- Head Coach John Cook returns a loaded team in 2012 that lost only one starter from 2011 and returns eight letterwinners. His team finished 25-5 last season, while Cook has won over 91 percent (361-34) of his matches in 12 seasons as the Huskers' leader.
The Last Time Nebraska...
- Won a match 3-0: vs. Jackson State , Dec. 1, 2011
- Won a match 3-1: vs. Wisconsin, Nov. 19, 2011
- Won a match 3-2: at Minnesota, Oct. 15, 2011
- Lost a match 0-3: at Purdue, Nov. 12, 2011
- Lost a match 1-3: at Northwestern, Nov. 26, 2011
- Lost a match 2-3: vs. Kansas State, Dec. 2, 2011
- Had 100 kills in a match: vs. Texas Tech, Oct. 26, 1996
- Had 200 attacks in a match: vs. Iowa State (200), Oct. 21, 2009
- Had .500-or-more hitting pct.: vs. Kansas (.523), Oct. 10, 2001
- Had 10-or-more service aces: at Texas A&M (11), Nov. 5, 2008
- Had 40-or-more total blocks: vs. UCLA (41), Sept. 14, 1991
- Had 100-or-more digs: vs. USC (109), Dec. 11, 2004
The Last Time a Husker...
- Had 30-or-more kills: Sarah Pavan (31) at Kansas State, Nov. 3, 2007
- Had 10-or-more blocks: Brooke Delano (10) at Oklahoma, Sept. 29, 2010
- Had 25-or-more digs: Lara Dykstra (28) vs. New Mexico State, Aug. 26, 2011
- Had two players with 20-or-more kills: Tara Mueller (24) and Jordan Larson (21) at Washington, Dec. 13, 2008
- Is 330-65 (.835) when winning a first set under John Cook and 40-24 (.627) when it loses the opening set
- Has spent 394 weeks in the top 10 and were ranked in the top 10 for 115 consecutive weeks (2004-Sept. 5, 2011)
- Is 196-0 under John Cook when hitting .300 or better
Strong Senior Class
Senior Hannah Werth will be looked to by the Husker defense in her fourth year. The 2010 Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year, Werth earned AVCA honorable mention All-America accolades in 2011 and was one of four sophomores nationally to be named an AVCA All-American in 2010 with her second-team selection. She also received first-team All-Big Ten accolades after recording 10 double-doubles on the year, giving her 32 total double-doubles during her Nebraska career. She recorded at least 10 digs 19 times during her junior campaign, with a streak of eight matches where she posted at least 10 digs.
Gina Mancuso will look to guide the Huskers offensively after earning first-team AVCA All-America honors as a junior. She had a breakout year as a starter at outside hitter as a junior and elevated her play, leading the Huskers in kills and points, averaging 3.60 kills per set, 2.66 digs oper set and 0.54 blocks per set. Her efforts kept her ranked in the top 10 in the Big Ten Conference for total kills during the entire season. She notched at least 10 kills in 27 matches in 2011.
After running a 6-2 system as a sophomore, Lauren Cook excelled in her role as pilot of the Husker offense in 2011. She was named a 2011 AVCA honorable mention All-American and earned first-team All-Big Ten accolades. Cook helped the Huskers hit. 300 or better in 10 matches in 2011, including two matches over .400 and a season-high .438 against Jackson State. She led NU with 18 double-doubles (assists-digs) on the year, giving her 37 career double-doubles at Nebraska. Cook averaged 11.03 assists per set and topped the 40-assist mark 13 times during the season, including a career-high 62 assists against Kansas State.
Paige Hubl joins Cook and Werth as one of three captains on the 2012 squad after being a key defensive contributor and serving specialist for the Huskers in 2011. She played in all 30 matches as a junior and posted a career-high 12 digs against Kanas State.
Allison McNeal is a talented middle blocker returning for the Huskers in 2012 after missing the 2011 season due to an injury. She started 17 matches in 2010, averaging 1.33 kills and 0.88 blocks per set.
Huskers Find Even More Talent for 2012
Head Coach John Cook's 2012 Huskers include four talented additions. NU welcomes in true freshmen Kelsey Fien, Meghan Haggerty, Alexa Strange and Sheridan Zarda.
Huskers Battle in Red/White Scrimmage
The fourth-ranked Nebraska volleyball team held its annual Red/White Scrimmage on Saturday, Aug. 18, in front of 3,551 fans at the NU Coliseum as the Red team took the match 3-1 (25-22, 22-25, 25-22, 25-12). The Huskers, who have been participating in preseason practices, were able to compete in a game-like atmosphere at the NU Coliseum for the first time this season.
Gina Mancuso led all hitters on the night with 18 kills and 35 attacks, hitting .400. Hannah Werth tallied 16 kills and 39 attacks, while Morgan Broekhuis had 12 kills and Kelsey FIen recorded 11 kills. Lauren Cook notched 50 assists and 10 digs, while Lara Dykstra led both teams defensively with 18 digs. The White team out-blocked the Red 10-4. Former Huskers Kayla Banwarth and Nancy Metcalf also competed in the scrimmage. Metcalf had 13 kills, while Banwarth had 17 digs.
Broekhuis, Thramer Excel in 2011
Nebraska juniors Morgan Broekhuis and Hayley Thramer excelled in their roles as sophomores, setting the stage for what is expected to be solid junior campaigns for both.
Broekhuis put herself in position to earn a starting spot at right side hitter as a sophomore and went on to earn first-team All-Big Ten and AVCA honorable-mention All-America honors. She averaged 3.04 kills, 1.58 digs, 0.69 assists and 0.86 blocks per set. She notched at least 10 kills on 19 occasions as a sophomore.
Thramer made solid strides in 2011, making her first career start at New Mexico on Aug. 27, where she totaled six kills and three blocks. She averaged 1.04 kills, 0.28 digs and 1.08 blocks per set. She finished with a career high 10 blocks against Illinois and ranked second on the team in blocks (100).
Dykstra Sets Freshman Records
In her first season with the Huskers, Lara Dykstra took over the role of libero after all-time Nebraska digs leader Kayla Banwarth graduated in 2010. One of the Huskers' most consistent players in 2011, Dykstra became just the seventh true freshman to start a season opener during Coach John Cook's career at Nebraska. She set the NU freshman single-season digs record with 399 and finished second on the freshman single-season digs per set list with 3.59. Dykstra also recorded 15 or more digs eight times in 2011.
Busboom-Kelly Returns to Nebraska
Dani Busboom-Kelly joined Head Coach John Cook's staff in July of 2012 after spending the previous season at Louisville. After successful coaching stints at Louisville and Tennessee, Busboom-Kelly returned to Nebraska where she was a standout libero and setter for the Huskers.
As a captain at Nebraska, Busboom-Kelly moved from setter to libero in 2006 to help Nebraska's defense and finished her career as one of only two players to rank among NU's all-time leaders in both digs (1,281, second) and assists (2,873, eighth). She was a four-year starter for Cook, guiding NU to a 124-10 record, the best four-year mark in school history, three Big 12 titles, two NCAA finals appearances and a national title in 2006.
Busboom-Kelly was considered the Big 12's best libero in 2006, as she helped NU limit opponents to a Big 12-low .144 hitting percentage. She set Nebraska's single-season digs record (580) in her first year as a libero, breaking the previous mark of 480 by Amanda McCormick in 2004. As a senior she reached double figures in digs in 32 of 34 matches, including 21 straight matches with at least 10 digs. She notched her best defensive performance at the NCAA semifinals against UCLA, totaling a career-high 29 digs, which ranks as the second-highest postseason performance in school history.
In addition to her accomplishments on the court, Busboom excelled off the court for the Huskers. She was a 2006 second-team academic All-District VII selection, while earning six Big 12 Commissioner's Honor Roll accolades and becoming a three-time first-team academic All-Big 12 honoree. She earned a bachelor's degree in communication studies from Nebraska in 2007.