The Huskers take on Penn State on Wednesday night.
Photo by Scott Bruhn/Nebraska Communications

Huskers Open Big Ten Slate at Penn State

By NU Athletic Communications

The No. 3 Nebraska volleyball team opens the 2012 Big Ten Conference season with a road test with the No. 4 Penn State Nittany Lions. The match is slated for Wednesday, Sept. 19 at 7 p.m. CT.

Nebraska leads the all-time series with the Nittany Lions 12-7. The two teams met twice in 2011, the first marking the Huskers' inaugural match in the Big Ten Conference on Sept. 21. Nebraska won the match 3-2 in front of another sellout crowd at the Coliseum. The Huskers then traveled to University Park, Pa., for another showdown with PSU where the Nittany Lions beat Nebraska 3-1.

Fans can listen to all of the action with John Baylor and Lindsay Peterson 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

The match can also been seen live on BTN and BTN2Go where Mike Wolf and Elizabeth Tortorello-Nelson will have the call.

Huskers Earn Big Ten Weekly Honors

Nebraska senior Lauren Cook and freshman Meghan Haggerty have both been honored by the Big Ten Conference with weekly Big Ten Awards. Cook was named the Big Ten Co-Player and Setter of the Week, while Haggerty has earned two Big Ten Freshman of the Week honors.

Cook guided the Husker attack to wins over Saint Louis (3-0), No. 1 UCLA (3-2) and Notre Dame (3-0) during the first weekend of play. She notched double-doubles in all three matches, including 56 assists and 22 digs against the Bruins. Cook averaged 10.7 assists, 4.4 digs and 0.4 blocks per set. She also tabbed 27 assists against Saint Louis and 35 against Notre Dame, helping Nebraska hit .365 against the Fighting Irish.

Haggerty earned Big Ten honors after she hit .545 against UC Irvine, recording seven kills on 11 swings to go along with four blocks to help Nebraska to a 3-0 victory. She also averaged 2.3 kills and 1.3 blocks per set in the match.

She earned the award for the second consecutive week after helping Nebraska to the 2012 Ameritas Players Challenge team title. She hit .600 for the week as the Huskers beat Oklahoma (3-0) and No. 19 Kentucky (3-1). She recorded an .818 hitting percentage against the Sooners, posting nine kills on 11 swings. She also averaged 2.4 kills and 1.6 blocks per set.

Scouting the Penn State Nittany Lions

  • Penn State is 10-1 on the season, most recently finishing 3-0 in the Penn State Classic with 3-0 sweeps over Portland, Duquesne and Eastern Illinois.
  • Junior Katie Slay was named the Penn State Classic MVP, while freshman Megan Courtney and sophomore Lacey Fuller earned spots on the all-tournament team.
  • Ariel Scott, Slay and Courtney each posted nine kills with Slay leading the Lions with a .692 hitting percentage against the Eastern Illinois Lions. Micha Hancock paced the offense with 36 assists and a team-high three blocks.
  • Against Duquesne, Slay led the team with 12 kills and .579 hitting percentage. Courtney and junior Deja McClendon followed with eight kills apiece, while Hancock had nine digs and 36 assists.
  • McClendon guided Penn State with 15 kills on a .609 hitting percentage against Portland. Scott posted 11 kills on .556 hitting, while Hancock dished out 37 digs and tallied five blocks.
  • PSU's only loss of the season was five-set contest against Oregon State on Sept. 8.
  • Scott leads the Nittany Lion offense on the season with 138 total kills, including 3.73 kills per set. McClendon follows her with 114 total kills and 3.17 kills per set. Hancock has paced the PSU offense all season, notching 409 total assists and 11.05 per set.
  • Dominique Gonzalez leads the PSU defense with 115 total digs, including 3.11 digs per set. Slay leads all blockers with 49 total digs on the season, while Scott has 34 and Nia Grant has notched 31.
  • Penn State holds an average hitting percentage of .316 on the season, while holding opponents to a .124 hitting percentage.
  • Hancock was named the Big Ten Player of the Week and Setter of the Week on Sept. 4 after guiding Penn State to wins against Stanford (3-2) and Texas (3-0).
  • Slay tallied Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week accolades on Aug. 27.

Noting the Nebraska Cornhuskers

The information below provides a quick glimpse of a few statistics and brief notes heading into this weekend.

  • Nebraska enters this weekend's matches with a 8-1 record and No. 3 national ranking.
  • 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 is the second-winningest program in Division I history with 1,148 wins and trails only UCLA (1,167) on the all-time list.
  • 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 currently has 169 consecutive sellouts at the NU Coliseum, 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
  • 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 (363-34) of his matches in 12 seasons as the Huskers' leader.

The Last Time Nebraska...

  • Won a match 3-0: vs. Duquesne, Sept. 7, 2012
  • Won a match 3-1: vs. Kentucky, Sept. 8, 2012
  • Won a match 3-2: vs. UCLA, Aug. 25, 2012
  • Lost a match 0-3: at Purdue, Nov. 12, 2011
  • Lost a match 1-3: at Iowa State, Sept. 15, 2012
  • 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 338-65 (.839) when winning a first set under John Cook and 40-26 (.615) when it loses the opening set
  • Has spent 397 weeks in the top 10 and were ranked in the top 10 for 115 consecutive weeks (2004-Sept. 5, 2011)
  • Nebraska has currently been ranked in the top 10 for 16 consecutive weeks (Sept. 12, 2011- present)
  • Is 202-0 under John Cook when hitting .300 or better

Haggerty's Impressive Debut

Nebraska freshman Meghan Haggerty became just the eighth true freshman to start a season opener during Coach John Cook's career at Nebraska. She posted a team-high 17 kills against UCLA, notching a .600 hitting percentage (17-2-25). Her 17 kills were the most by a Nebraska middle blocker since Tracy Stalls tallied 17 (17-2-26) against UCLA during the 2006 National Semifinal match.

She has not let up after her opening-weekend dominance. Haggerty posted nine kills on 11 swings for a .818 hitting percentage against Oklahoma on Sept. 6. With just one more kill she would have ranked 10th all-time on Nebraska's single-match individual hitting percentage list. She has been named the Big Ten Freshman of the Week twice in 2012 and ranks second in the Big Ten and the NCAA in hitting percentage on the season (.539).

Starting Strong

The Huskers hold a 8-1 record to open the season. The last time Nebraska was recorded eight-straight wins to start the season was in 2008.

Tough Competition

With trips to Penn State and Ohio State this week, Nebraska will be taking on its fourth and fifth top-25 teams this season.

The Huskers hold a 2-1 record against top-25 teams, losing to then-No. 25 Iowa State last weekend, but topping No. 1 UCLA and No. 19 Kentucky at the Coliseum.

Werth Notches 1,000 Digs

Nebraska senior outside hitter Hannah Werth tallied 17 digs against the UCLA Bruins, notching her second-consecutive double-double of the season. With that dig total, she surpassed the 1,000 career dig mark, becoming just the 11th Husker to reach that milestone. She has a total of 1,082 career digs, and is tied for seventh all-time on the Nebraska career digs list.

Huskers Limit Dukes

The Huskers held the Duquesne Dukes to 39 total points in their match on Sept. 7. Duquesne was out-scored 25-7, 25-12, 25-20 in the match. The fewest points allowed by the Huskers in a three-set match during the rally scoring era was 37 to Alabama A&M in 2005.

Huskers Named to Ameritas Players Challenge All-Tournament Team

Three Huskers earned a spot on the 2012 Ameritas Players Challenge All-Tournament Team including Gina Mancuso, Lauren Cook and MVP Hannah Werth.

Cook Reaches 400th Match

The Huskers' match against the UC Irvine Anteaters was Head Coach John Cook's 400th match at Nebraska, he holds a 368-35 record at Nebraska.

Efficient Hitters

Nebraska has hit better than .300 in five out of nine matches in 2012, including a .383 hitting percentage against Oklahoma.

Hot in September

Historically, the Huskers' two best months are September (300-27) and November (220-20), as they have all-time winning percentages of .920 and .917, respectively. NU has lost only six matches in September since 2004, including none from 2005-08.

After five wins so far in September, the Huskers are 123-9 in the month under Head Coach John Cook.

How the Huskers Rank

As of Sept. 16, Nebraska ranked fourth in the Big Ten in hitting percentage (.302) and is second in assists (13.68). NU is also first in blocks (2.92) and third in kills (14.74). Individually, Meghan Haggerty is second in the conference in hitting percentage (.467) and eighth in blocks (1.24), while Lauren Cook is third in the conference in assists (11.29).

As of Sept. 16, the Huskers rank 10th nationally in assists per set (13.68) and are 11th in hitting percentage (.302), 13th in blocks per set (2.92) and eighth in kills per set (14.74). Individually, Cook ranks 29th in assists per set (11.29), while Haggerty is third nationally in hitting percentage (.467).

Solid 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. 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.

Werth has a recorded a double-double in every match but two this season, including reaching over 1,000 career digs in the Huskers' match with UCLA. She led Nebraska in kills against Saint Louis, recorded 12 kills against UCLA, notched 11 against Notre Dame and posted 14 against Oklahoma. She also led Nebraska in digs against Colgate (12), UC Irvine (12) and Oklahoma (13).

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 per 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.

She led Nebraska in kills against Notre Dame, recorded 15 against UCLA, along with 16 digs, and notched 10 kills against Saint Louis. Mancuso tallied a .412 hitting percentage against Colgate, recording seven kills on 17 swings and also posting six digs. She came on strong for the Huskers against Duquesne and Kentucky with a team-high 15 kills against the Dukes and a team-high 17 kills against the Wildcats. She posted hitting percentages of .375 and .400, respectively. Mancuso led the Husker offense against Iowa State with 18 kills on 47 swings. She also posted 16 digs and three blocks.

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.

Cook was stellar against UCLA, posting 56 assists and 22 digs. She also notched three kills against the Bruins. Cook tabbed 43 assists in helping Nebraska beat No. 19 Kentucky. She currently ranks fourth on Nebraska's all-time assists list with 3,438 career assists. She has six double-doubles on the season.

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 12 digs against Kansas State.

Hubl notched two digs against Colgate, and posted an impressive performance against Duquesne on Sept. 7, recording a career-high 15 digs.

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.

McNeal exploded offensively for Nebraska against Colgate, recording 10 kills on 14 swings for a .571 hitting percentage. She also notched four total blocks in the match. McNeal posted eight blocks against Duquesne on Sept. 7.

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.

Broekhuis, Thramer Excel for Huskers

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.

Broekhuis proved key for the Huskers in their win over defending NCAA Champion UCLA, notching 15 kills against the Bruins and the final two kills of the fifth set to seal the victory. She also recorded four service aces against Notre Dame. She was solid for the Huskers against UC Irvine, recording 16 kills on 29 swings for a .517 hitting percentage. Broekhuis finished with 15 kills on 36 swings (.306) against Kentucky, also chipping in two service aces and three block assists.

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).

Thramer recorded a career-high 24 attacks against UCLA on Aug. 25. She also recorded seven kills and six total blocks against the Bruins and a hitting percentage of .467 the following day against Notre Dame. Thramer notched seven kills against Oklahoma and went on to record five blocks against Kentucky. She recorded a season-high nine kills against Iowa State, notching 22 swings for a .318 hitting percentage.

Dykstra Sets Freshman Record, Leads in 2012

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. Dykstra recorded 20 digs against UCLA on Aug. 25.

She led Nebraska defensively against Iowa State, posting a season-high 22 digs for the Huskers.

Huskers Elect Team Captains

Nebraska seniors Lauren Cook, Paige Hubl and Hannah Werth were selected as the 2012 team captains for the Huskers.

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.


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