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Huskers host their toughest home opponent in No. 8 Michigan for a Big Ten battle
Courtesy: NU Media Relations
          Release: 02/12/2014
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Big Ten Showdown Set with No. 8 Michigan

NEBRASKA VS. MICHIGAN
No. 7 Nebraska Cornhuskers (6-0 Overall, 3-0 Big Ten)
No. 8 Michigan Wolverines (8-0 Overall, 3-0 Big Ten
Date: Friday, Feb. 14

Time: 6 p.m.
Location: Lincoln, Neb.
Arena: Devaney Center
Live Stats: Huskers.com
Video: BTN Tape Delay, to air Saturday Feb. 15 at 10 a.m. CT
Twitter: @HuskersWGym

The No. 7 Nebraska women’s gymnastics team returns to action this Friday, Feb. 14 when the Huskers host their toughest home opponent in No. 8 Michigan for a Big Ten battle that features two undefeated teams. Action from the Devaney Center is set to begin at 6 p.m. CST. Live stats for Friday’s meet will be available on Huskers.com and fans can also follow the women’s gymnastics Twitter feed for scores by following @HuskersWGym.

The Huskers (6-0, 3-0 Big Ten) and the Wolverines (8-0, 3-0 Big Ten) are the top-two teams in the Big Ten with Michigan as the preseason favorite to earn the conference crown. On Friday the two teams will go head-to-head in what could be the determining meet for the Big Ten regular-season title. Nebraska leads Michigan all-time in the series holding a 22-19-1 edge. The two teams last met at the 2013 Morgantown Regional, where Michigan took home a 196.725-195.875 victory and the regional crown.  

 
Huskers Host Pepsi Pack-The-House
Nebraska’s meet with Michigan will be Pepsi-Pack-The-House Day at the Devaney Center. Admission to the meet will only be $1, while 24-oz Pepsi products will also be $1 for the entire meet. Students can receive free admission by showing their N-Card at the door.

 
Huskers’ Meet with No. 8 Michigan to be Broadcast on BTN
The meet on Friday between the two top teams in the conference will be televised nationally on BTN via tape delay. The matchup between the Huskers and the Wolverines will be shown on BTN on Saturday, Feb. 15 at 10 a.m. CST.

 
Scouting Michigan 
• Last season Michigan took a share in the Big Ten regular-season championship with Minnesota.

• Michigan finished seventh at the 2013 NCAA Championships (196.850) featuring Joanna Sampson as the NCAA floor champion. 
• The Wolverines have held a top 10 spot in the national rankings all season and own a 196.650 average score.
• Michigan is coming off a victory over Illinois in their last competition, defeating the Fighting Illini 195.800-195.575.
• Michigan ranks inside the top 10 on all four events. The Wolverines rank ninth on vault (49.250), eighth on bars (49.160), 10th on beam (49.010) and eighth on floor (49.230).
• The Wolverines feature three gymnasts ranked in the top-25 on each event including senior, Joanna Sampson who is ranked fifth in the all-around (39.475).


Nebraska’s Rotation Order vs. Michigan
Rotation                    Nebraska                      Michigan

1.                              Vault                              Uneven Bars

2.                              Uneven Bars                   Vault

3.                              Balance Beam                Floor Exercise

4.                              Floor Exercise                Beam 

 
Nebraska Shines in Road Win at Penn State
The No. 7 Nebraska women’s gymnastics team posted the eighth-highest away meet score in school history in its 197.225-196.150 victory over the No. 23 Penn State Nittany Lions Saturday afternoon in University Park, Pa. The undefeated Huskers improve to 6-0 overall on the season and 3-0 in Big Ten competition.

Jessie DeZiel and Emily Wong went head-to-head in the all-around, coming out with identical season-high scores of 39.575. DeZiel soared to a 9.95 to claim the vault crown, while Wong earned the bar title. Hollie Blanske and Wong both tied for top honors on floor, and Jennifer Lauer’s seamless beam performance earned her a share of the title.

The Huskers kicked off the afternoon on bars, putting-up a 49.075 to begin the meet. Wong led the Big Red, sticking a strong 9.90 to tie for top honors. DeZiel (9.85) and Desire’ Stephens (9.825) both produced important efforts, while Jennifer Lauer rounded out the Huskers’ lineup with a 9.775.

The Nittany Lions began their afternoon on vault, claiming a 49.150. PSU was led by Emma Sibson’s mark of 9.95 to tie DeZiel for the title. With one rotation in the books, Nebraska closely trailed Penn State 49.150-49.075.

Nebraska bounced back to take the lead in its second rotation on vault, claiming a new season-high 49.400. DeZiel fueled the Huskers tying her career-high 9.95 to earn a share of the event title. Wong added a key 9.90 while Blanske recorded a season-high tie 9.875. Martin also tied her season-high mark of 9.85 and Stephens hit an important 9.825 to finish out the vault lineup.

Penn State earned a 48.925 on bars, led by Kassidy Stauder’s 9.90 score to tie with Wong for the title. After the second rotation the Huskers took the lead 98.475-98.075.

The Huskers showed consistency as they moved onto floor hitting a team mark of 49.350. The duo of Blanske and Wong both tabbed identical scores of 9.90. Wong’s saucy floor performance is still undefeated this season. The trio of DeZiel (9.875), Jamie Schleppenbach (9.85), and Jennifer Lauer (9.825) all snagged season-highs on the event.

The Nittany Lions took to beam for their third rotation notching a team score of 49.025. Kassidy Strauder put up a 9.925 score to tie Jennifer Lauer for the title. With one rotation left Nebraska led Penn State 147.825-147.100.

The Huskers capped their victory on beam posting one of the top-ten beam scores in Husker history with a stellar 49.400. Undefeated on beam, Jennifer Lauer tied her season-high score of 9.925. DeZiel (9.90), and Wong (9.875) also tied their season-high marks, while Blanske recorded her new career-high score of 9.85. Schleppenbach rounded out the Huskers notable beam performance sticking a 9.85.

Penn State took to floor for the final rotation earning a 49.050. The Nittany Lion squad finished with a 196.150 on the evening, but it would not be enough to overcome Nebraska’s 197.225.


Wong and Lauer  Capture Big Ten Weekly Honors
Two Huskers earned conference weekly honors for their individual efforts against Penn State, as announced by the Big Ten Conference on Monday. Senior Emily Wong earned Big Ten Gymnast of the Week accolades, while junior Jennifer Lauer took home Big Ten Event Specialist of the Week honors. The award marks the second honor this season for Wong and her fourth overall, while Lauer’s award is the first of her career.

Wong claimed gymnast of the week honors after notching a 9.90 on three events en-route to tying for the all-around title (39.575) against Penn State. She tied for first on bars, and floor, while adding a third-place finish on vault and a tie for fourth on beam. Her efforts were instrumental in helping Nebraska to its highest scores of the season on vault (49.400) and beam (49.400).

Wong’s performance also boosted her efforts in the national rankings, as she is now third in the all-around with an average score of 39.525. She is also tied for fourth on floor (9.925), seventh on bars (9.895) and 23rd on vault (9.880).

Sioux City, Iowa, native Jennifer Lauer picked up her first Big Ten Event Specialist of the Week award after posting a season-best-tying score of 9.925 on beam against the Nittany Lions. Lauer earned her fifth event title on beam this season and has scored no lower than a 9.85 in any performance on the event. In the national rankings, Lauer moved into fourth on beam, averaging a score of 9.895.


Nebraska in the Rankings: Move Up One Spot to No. 7
The Nebraska women’s gymnastics team moved up one spot to No. 7 this week in the latest GymInfo poll. The poll, which is calculated by total season average, also ranks NU second in the South Central region behind Oklahoma and first in the Big Ten conference. Florida still holds onto the No. 1 spot this week after taking it away from No. 2 Oklahoma last week. No. 3 LSU and No. 4 Utah remain in their previous positions, while Alabama moves up to round out the top five. Along with the Huskers, this week’s opponent, No. 8 Michigan, is the only other Big Ten school inside the top 10. 

The Huskers remain inside the top 15 on every event, led by a No. 4 ranking on beam (49.145). NU also comes in sixth on vault (49.285), 11th on bars (49.055), and eighth on floor (49.220).

In addition to Nebraska’s team efforts, four Huskers collected a total of nine top-25 national rankings as individuals. Wong paced the Big Red with an appearance at No. 3 in the all-around (39.525) and is tied for fourth on floor (9.925), seventh on bars (9.895) and 24th on vault (9.880). Jessie DeZiel comes back into the rankings tied for 19th in the all-around (39.250), 25th on vault (9.875) and 22nd on beam (9.835). Jennifer Lauer moved up to the No. 4 slot on beam averaging a score of 9.895, while sophomore Hollie Blanske makes her first appearance in the national rankings on floor coming in tied for 24th (9.870).


Up Next for the Huskers: Masters Classic 
The Huskers continue their two week home stand next weekend hosting the 24th-annual Masters Classic at the Bob Devaney Sports Center. The meet is set for Sunday, Feb. 23 with a 2 p.m. CST start. NU will look to capture its 20th Masters Classic title as they face Wisconsin-Stout, Bridgeport and Kentucky. The meet will also serve as NU’s annual “Power of Pink” event to raise awareness for breast cancer. Fans are encouraged to wear pink alongside the Huskers for the meet.


Huskers Showcased on Big Ten Network
The Nebraska women’s gymnastics team will be featured twice on the Big Ten Network on a tape delay basis this season. The Huskers home dual against Michigan this Friday will air on BTN the following day (Saturday Feb. 15 at 10 a.m. CT). The Big Ten quad meet in East Lansing with Michigan State, Illinois, and Ohio State on Saturday March 15 will also air on BTN two hours after the meet ends, approximately at 3:30 p.m. ET.

On Sat. March 22, BTN will televise the first session of the Big Ten Women’s Gymnastics Championship meet live at 11 a.m. CT, followed by the second session live at 4 p.m. CT. The championships are being held in University Park, Pa.

 
NU’s Steady Beam Efforts
Assistant coach Heather Brink’s beam squad is looking solid this season, tying for the No. 4 spot nationally with Alabama this week after a strong showing last weekend against Penn State. Nebraska averages a 49.145 mark coming in behind Florida (49.330), LSU (49.200), and Oklahoma (49.185). 

The Huskers posted a score of 49.400 last weekend against Penn State that ranks as the ninth highest beam score in school history. NU’s efforts were led by Jennifer Lauer who tied her season-best mark of 9.925. Jessie DeZiel notched a strong 9.90, while Emily Wong matched her season-high 9.875. Hollie Blanske and Jamie Schleppenbach added two identical scores of 9.85 to round out the Huskers impressive lineup.

In the individual national rankings, Lauer holds the No. 4 slot, averaging a score of 9.895, while DeZiel moved into the rankings as No. 22 (9.835).

 
Defending Conference Champions Look For Continued Success
After winning its second consecutive Big Ten conference title, Nebraska returns to the gym with even higher expectations for the 2014 season. NU welcomes back seven letter winners from last season, including three All-Americans, as well as two Huskers returning from injuries last season, while adding two newcomers to the roster.  The Huskers will have a stockpile of talent to once again rank among the nation’s elite collegiate programs. Head coach Dan Kendig, in his 21st season at Nebraska, sees the potential for continued success with the 2014 squad.

“I do think at the end of the day we will have a better team than we had last year,” Kendig said. “We definitely have the potential to have that happen. The girls are training incredibly hard and their focus is tremendous. This could be an exciting season for us.”


Three All-Americans Prepared to Lead Huskers In 2014
Nebraska has been led by three returning All-Americans in 2014, including two honorees that captured six awards last season. Jessie DeZiel and Emily Wong headline the group that has won 14 awards since 2011 and also includes senior Jamie Schleppenbach.

In the all-around competition the Huskers welcome back two first-team selections in DeZiel and Wong, who both competed in the 2013 NCAA Championships where they picked up All-American accolades. Tying for third overall in the all-around Wong claimed a first-team selection as teammate DeZiel placed 12 overall taking home second-team honors. 

Nebraska looks for more success from its vaulting lineup as it holds one of the top three team scores in the country (49.725). This vaulting corps fields all three previous All-Americans in Wong, who picked up first-team honors last season, Schleppenbach a first team selection in 2011, and DeZiel, a second-team selection in 2012.

 
Kendig Builds One of Nation’s Top Programs
Now in his 21st year at the helm of the Nebraska gymnastics program, Head Coach Dan Kendig is the all-time winningest coach in Nebraska history. Since Kendig arrived at NU, his teams have compiled an outstanding 459-175-4 (.719) record, including a 303-62-2 regular season record. His most recent honor was in 2012 when he earned Big Ten Coach of the Year honors after guiding the Huskers to the program’s 22nd conference title.    

Kendig has also led the Huskers to 15 NCAA Championship appearances in the past 18 seasons, including Super Six Finals appearances in 1997, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, and 2011. Kendig was honored as the NCAA Coach of the Year in 1999 and 2003, a year in which the Huskers finished fourth nationally.  He guided the 2013 squad to another Big Ten conference title increasing Nebraska’s mark to 23 conference championships. The Huskers earned six All-America awards at the 2013 NCAA Championships and compiled a 19-5 overall record. Nebraska qualified for NCAA postseason competition for the 29th time in program history, finishing third at the NCAA Morgantown Regional. The 2013 squad posted three of the highest team scores in school history throughout the year while spending consistent time ranked as one of the nation’s top-10 teams. 

 
NU Assistants Set to Lead Huskers in 2014
Joining Kendig in his leadership of the Huskers this season will be third-year assistant coaches Heather Brink and Dan Miller. Brink will continue her role in the gym as the team’s beam coach while assisting with floor choreography. Brink contributed to Nebraska’s continued success in 2013, as the Huskers claimed 13 beam titles including the Big Ten Championship title shared by Emily Wong and Jennifer Lauer with an identical score of 9.90. Wong went on to claim second-team All-American accolades on the event.

Miller will continue to lead NU’s efforts on vault and floor in 2014. He helped Nebraska’s vault and floor lineups continue to dominate in 2013. At the Big Ten Championships the Huskers posted four individual vault scores of 9.95 and a team-high score of 49.725, which helped secure the Huskers the Big Ten Conference title. Miller guided Britanny Skinner to her individual vault appearance at the NCAA Championships and Emily Wong and Jessie DeZiel to earn All-America honors.

Volunteer assistant coach Alina Weinstein is in her first season with NU’s full-time staff in 2014. Weinstein will assist Brink on balance beam, as well as the Huskers strength and conditioning programs.

 

 

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