The Huskers open Big Ten play this weekend.
Photo by Nate Olsen/Nebraska Communications

Huskers Open Big Ten Play

By NU Athletic Communications

Date: Sept. 27
Time: 7 p.m.
Location: Evanston, Ill.
Arena: Welsh-Ryan Arena
Live Stats:
Online Video: BTDN (subscription)
Live Radio: Husker Sports Network,

Date: Sept. 28
Time: 4 p.m.
Location: Champaign, Ill.
Arena: Hull Hall
Live Stats:
Online Video: BTN2Go
Live Radio: Husker Sports Network,

The No. 12 Nebraska volleyball team opens conference play this weekend as they travel to Evanston, Ill., and Champaign, Ill., for a pair of conference match-ups. The Huskers will take on Northwestern (8-4) on Friday, Sept. 27 at 7 p.m., at Welsh-Ryan Arena and will follow that with a showdown with No. 24 Illinois (4-6) on Saturday, Sept. 28 at 4 p.m. at Hull Hall.

Nebraska’s match with Northwestern will be streamed online on the Big Ten Digital Network (BTDN) at The Huskers’ match at Illinois will air live on the Big Ten Network and will also be available on BTN2Go.

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

Nebraska leads the all-time series with Northwestern 5-1. Nebraska beat the Wildcats in four sets in 2012 in Lincoln, but fell to Northwestern in four sets the last time the two teams played in Evanston.

The Huskers hold a 17-5-1 advantage over the Fighting Illini in the all-time series. The Huskers last swept Illinois in three sets on Oc. 21, 2012 in Champaign.

Rolfzen Earns Big Ten Weekly Honor

Nebraska outside hitter Amber Rolfzen was honored by the Big Ten Conference last Monday as she was named the league’s Co-Freshman of the Week. The honor marks her first career Freshman of the Week award as she shares the accolade with Purdue’s Faye Adelaja.

Rolfzen led Nebraska to victories over Saint Mary’s (3-1), Dayton (3-0) and Iowa State (3-0) in the Ameritas Players Challenge. She produced double-doubles in all three matches, averaging 3.6 kills and 3.5 digs per set. Rolfzen also tallied a career-high 16 kills against Saint Mary’s and was named the most valuable player of the tournament.

The last Husker to earn Freshman of the Week honors was Meghan Haggerty on Nov. 19, 2012.

Scouting the Northwestern Wildcats

• Northwestern is 8-4 on the year, most recently winning matches over South Florida (3-2), Miami (OH) (3-0) and IUPUI (3-0) last weekend at the Wildcat Classic.

• Senior Stephanie Holthus was selected as the Sports Imports/AVCA Division I National Player of the Week on Tuesday, after averaging 6.2 kills and 4.1 digs per set as Northwestern defeated South Florida, Miami (OH) and IUPUI last weekend. She hit .358 on the weekend and recorded double-doubles in all three victories. She was also named the Big Ten Player of the Week on Monday. 

• Holthus had a career-high 24 digs against South Florida and also chipped in 27 kills. She also set a school record with 24 kills in a three-set match against Miami (OH).  She leads Northwestern offensively with 188 total kills and an average of 4.18 kills per set. She also has 142 digs on the season and 11 service aces.

• Caroline Niedospial leads the Wildcats defensively as she has a total of 202 digs on the year and is averaging 4.49 digs per set. Savannah Paffen leads Northwestern at the net with 40 total blocks on the year and an average of 0.89 blocks per set.

• Keylor Chan is in his 14th season at the helm of the Wildcats. He is the second-winningest coach in Northwestern history with over 190 wins. 

Scouting the Illinois Fighting Illini

• Illinois is 4-6 on the year, most recently falling to No. 15 North Carolina in three sets and losing to Duke in four sets over the weekend. The Fighting Illini have played seven top-25 teams during the nonconference slate.

• Jocelynn Birks leads the Fighting Illini on the season offensively as she has 155 total kills and an average of 3.88 kills per set.

• Jennifer Beltran entered her final season in second place all-time on the Illinois career digs list with 1,694 career digs. She needs just 58 more digs to become the Illini’s all-time career digs leader. She is sixth in the nation and is the Big Ten leader in digs.

• Maddie Mayers leads the Big Ten in blocks as she has 54 total and is averaging 1.46 blocks per set. She also ranks ninth in the nation.

• Kevin Hambly is in his fourth season at the helm of the Fighting Illini. He marked his 100th career victory on Sept. 13, 2013.

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 7-2 record and No. 12 national ranking in the latest AVCA Coaches Poll.

•The Huskers are 7-0 this season when  holding opponents below .200 hitting.

• NU is opening Big Ten Play after a pair of challenging weekends. The Huskers welcomed  Saint Mary’s, Dayton and Iowa State to the Devaney Center for the 2013 Ameritas Players Challenge. All three teams competed in the 2012 NCAA Tournament.  Last week Nebraska fought defending National Champion Texas to the brink in a 2-3 loss to the Longhorns in Austin, Texas.

• Nebraska starts conference play with an all-time winning percentage of .932 (492-36) in conference matches.

•The Huskers rank in the top 15 nationally in two categories. NU is sixth in assists per set with an average of 13.84, while the Huskers are seventh in kills per set with an average of 14.88. NU ranks first in both categories in the Big Ten Conference.

•The Huskers return AVCA Honorable-Mention All-Americans Morgan Broekhuis and Meghan Haggerty in 2013. They also welcomed 2011 AVCA Second-Team All-American Kelsey Robinson and 2011 AVCA Honorable-Mention All-American Mary Pollmiller to the 2013 roster after both transferred from Tennessee.

• Nebraska is the second-winningest program in Division I history with 1,173 wins and trails only UCLA (1,189) on the all-time list.

 • The Huskers finished tied for second in the Big Ten in 2012. They were picked to finish fourth in the league in the Big Ten Coaches’ preseason poll in 2013.

 • Nebraska carries a streak of 186 consecutive sellouts into this weekend, the longest sellout streak across all NCAA women’s athletics. The Huskers averaged 4,287 fans per home contest last season at the NU Coliseum.

 • Nebraska has seven players on its 2013 roster who were Volleyball Magazine Fab 50 selections, representing the top-50 players in that year’s recruiting class. Six of the Huskers’ last nine recruiting classes have ranked in the top five nationally, including the 2009 class that was ranked second and the 2013 class that was ranked first by

 • Nebraska continued its string of All-America success in 2012, as Lauren Cook was named an AVCA All-American. Cook upped Nebraska’s NCAA-leading totals to 36 players and 74 certificates. Nebraska has had at least one All-American every season since 1983, a total of 31 straight seasons, including 39 All-America awards in Cook’s 13 years at Nebraska. 

AVCA All-America Certificates

No.         School                   Awards

1.            Nebraska             74

2.            Stanford              66

3.            Penn State          58

4.            Hawaii                   53

5.            UCLA                     45

 • Head Coach John Cook welcomes a young team, including 10 newcomers, to the 2013 squad. The 2012 team finished 26-7 last season, while Cook has won over 90 percent (391-43) of his matches in 13 years as the Huskers’ leader.

The Last Time Nebraska...

•             Won a match 3-0: vs. Iowa State, Sept. 14, 2013

•             Won a match 3-1: vs. Saint Mary’s, Sept. 12, 2013

•             Won a match 3-2: vs. Purdue, Nov. 10, 2012

•             Lost a match 0-3: at Purdue, Nov. 12, 2011

•             Lost a match 1-3: vs. Auburn, Aug. 31, 2013

•             Lost a match 2-3: at Texas, Sept. 22, 2013

•             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

•             Had a triple-double: Greichaly Cepero (10 kills, 38 assists, 12 digs) vs. Texas Tech, Sept. 25, 2002


•             Is 348-13 (.964) when winning a first set under John Cook and 46-30 (.605) when it loses the opening set

•             Has spent 409 weeks in the top 10 and were ranked in the top 10 for 115 consecutive weeks (2004-Sept. 5, 2011)

•             Is 215-0 under John Cook when hitting .300 or better

Hot in September

Historically, the Huskers’ two best months are September (308-29) and November (227-23), as they have all-time winning percentages of .914 and .908, respectively. NU has lost only seven matches in September since 2004, including none from 2005-08.

After five wins so far in September, the Huskers are 131-11 in the month under Head Coach John Cook.

Tough Competition

With a trip to Illinois this week, Nebraska will be taking on its third top-25 teams this season. The Huskers hold a 1-1 record against top-25 teams, topping No. 17 Iowa State, but falling to No. 6 Texas. 

Huskers Earn All-Tournament Honors

Amber Rolfzen honored as the 2013 Ameritas Players Challenge MVP two weeks ago. Kelsey Robinson and Mary Pollmiller were also selected to the all-tournament team.

How the Huskers Rank

Nebraska ranks first in the Big Ten in assists (13.84) and kills (14.88) and ninth in hitting percentage (.250)  NU is also eighth in blocks (2.16), seventh in opponent hitting percentage (.140) and eighth in blocks (2.16). Individually, Kelsey Robinson is fifth in kills (4.03), while Kadie Rolfzen is 10th in kills (3.36) and Mary Pollmiller is seventh in assists (9.69).  Justine Wong-Orantes and Robinson are tied for seventh (3.97) in digs.

The Huskers rank sixth nationally in assists per set (13.84) and are seventh nationally in kills per set (14.88). Individually, Robinson is 41st in kills per set (4.03) and is 42nd in points per set (4.56).

Newcomers Make Immediate Impact

Husker newcomers played a pivotal role in Nebraska’s matches the first two weekends of play, as Kelsey Robinson, Mary Pollmiller, Amber Rolfzen, Kadie Rolfzen, Kelly Hunter and Justine Wong-Orantes all saw substantial playing time. Newcomers produced 139 kills (56 percent) , 221 assists (98 percent), 251 digs (93 percent) and 25 aces (100 percent) for the Huskers over the first two weeks of play.

Freshmen Amber Rolfzen and Justine Wong-Orantes became just the ninth and 10th true freshmen, respectively, to start a season opener during Coach John Cook’s career at Nebraska. Wong-Orantes became Nebraska’s first true-freshman libero to start a match since Lara Dykstra in 2011.

Nebraska has 13 underclassmen on its roster this season, marking one of the highest totals in program history. The Huskers’ underclassman contingent ties Minnesota as the most in the Big Ten in 2013. NU had 14 underclassmen on its roster in 1977 and 1978, 11 underclassmen in 1997 and 1996 and 10 in 2009 and 2010.

Husker Twins Start Hot

Kadie Rolfzen made her Husker debut against the Villanova Wildcats on Sept. 6. The freshman from Papillion, Neb., led the Huskers with 14 kills on 29 attacks for a .345 hitting percentage. She followed that performance the next night with 14 kills on 31 swings (.323) against Georgia. Rolfzen’s 14 kills in her Husker debut marks the highest kill total for a true freshman in her first career start since Sarah Pavan recorded 16 kills against Notre Dame in 2004.  She posted a career-high 16 kills on 32 swings for a .312 hitting percentage against Iowa State last Saturday.

Amber Rolfzen made her Husker debut in NU’s opening weekend. She had eight kills in her first collegiate match and has not let up since. Rolfzen led Nebraska at the Ameritas Players Challenge, recording 36 total kills on the weekend. She notched a career-high 16 kills in NU’s 3-1 win against Saint Mary’s, hitting at a clip of .382. She tallied a double-double in every match of the Ameritas Players Challenge and was named the tournament’s MVP. She tallied 12 kills and 13 digs for Nebraska against Northwestern.

Transfers Robinson and Pollmiller Lead the Way

Tennessee transfers Kelsey Robinson and Mary Pollmiller have already distinguished themselves among the leaders on this season’s young Nebraska squad. Pollmiller has guided the Husker offense through the nonconference slate, tallying 310 total assists and an average of 9.69 assists per set. Robinson has 129 total kills on the year and is averaging 4.03 kills per set.

Dominant Effort Against Louisiana-Monroe

The Huskers produced one of the more dominant showings in program history on Friday, Aug. 30 as they swept Louisiana-Monroe in three sets. The 36 points scored by ULM was the fewest points allowed by a Husker opponent in a three-set match during the rally-scoring era. The Huskers also held ULM to just four points in the third set, which is a school record low for a Husker opponent in the rally scoring era. The previous low had been

seven points, most recently against Duquesne in 2012. The Huskers also held ULM to an NCAA record zero kills in the third set.

Robinson and Wong-Orantes Named to Marcia E. Hamilton Classic All-Tournament Team

Nebraska senior Kelsey Robinson and freshman Justine Wong-Orantes were honored as they were selected to the Marcia E. Hamilton Classic All-Tournament Team on Aug. 31. Robinson led the Huskers offensively over the weekend, posting a total of 34 kills (3.40 kills/set), a .329 hitting percentage and six aces. Wong-Orantes led NU defensively with 42 total digs (4.20 digs/set) and also had two aces.

Huskers Call the Devaney Center Home

The Nebraska volleyball program opened a new era in its storied tradition by moving into a new permanent home court for the first time in almost 40 years. When Nebraska played its preseason Red-White Match on Saturday, Aug. 24, 2013, the Bob Devaney Sports Center became the official home of Husker volleyball. The Devaney Center, which received $20 million in renovations designed to create the nation’s premier home court advantage for volleyball, will allow nearly 4,000 more Nebraska fans per game to watch their beloved Huskers.

Nebraska volleyball, which carried the nation’s longest home sellout streak in the history of any NCAA women’s sport with 181 consecutive sellouts (2001-12) at the historic NU Coliseum, has guaranteed another season of sellouts in its first year at the Devaney Center. Not only did the Huskers quickly sell out the new 7,907-seat capacity at the Devaney Center long before the season began, they also have room for nearly 400 standing-room seats at each game and a season-ticket waiting list of well over 1,000.

During the last two decades, Nebraska has ranked among the nation’s top three volleyball programs in average home attendance every season. In 2012, the Huskers finished second nationally by averaging 4,287 fans per match. Hawaii, the NCAA’s annual attendance leader for many years, drew 6,675 per home match in 2012. As the Huskers’ new home in 2013, the Devaney Center will put Nebraska in position to lead the nation in volleyball attendance on an annual basis.

The renovations to the Devaney Center have done much more than change the capacity. Massive red ceiling trusses helped create a similar environment in the arena to the Huskers’ former home in the Coliseum. A great wall, which replicates the old Coliseum entry, adds to an atmosphere steeped in tradition. While the new Devaney Center pays homage to the history of the Coliseum, which served as the home to Husker NCAA Championship teams in 1995, 2000 and 2006, the innovative design and technological advances inside also symbolize the visionary contributions of AVCA All-Time Great Coaches Terry Pettit and John Cook.

The Nebraska Athletic Department honored Terry Pettit on Friday, Sept. 6  by naming the court at the Bob Devaney Sports Center “Terry Pettit Court.” The naming is the result of a generous gift given by Bill and Ruth Scott in honor of former Nebraska head coach Terry Pettit.

Pettit was inducted into the AVCA Hall of Fame in 2009 and was a two-time AVCA National Coach of the Year, a seven-time Big Eight Coach of the Year and a two-time Big 12 Coach of the Year. In his 23 years at Nebraska, he guided the Huskers to a national championship in 1995, six Final Four appearances and 21 conference titles.

Huskers Find Even More Talent for 2013

Head Coach John Cook’s 2013 Huskers include 10 talented additions. NU welcomed true freshmen Alexa Ethridge, Kelly Hunter, Melanie Keil, Kira Larson, Brenna Lyles, Amber Rolfzen, Kadie Rolfzen and Justine Wong-Orantes and transfers Mary Pollmiller and Kelsey Robinson.

The 2013 recruiting class was regarded as one of the best in the nation, with four players ranked as the top-25 prospects in the nation. Kadie Rolfzen came in at No. 5, while Amber Rolfzen was ranked eighth, Kelly Hunter was ranked 13th and Kira Larson was ranked 23rd.

Cook Selects Team Captains

Coach Cook selected team captains for the 2013 season prior to the Red/White Match. He selected Morgan Broekhuis, Kelsey Robinson and Hayley Thramer.

Haggerty to Follow Up Successful Freshman Campaign

Meghan Haggerty became just the eighth true freshman to start a season opener during Coach John Cook’s career at Nebraska in 2012. She was named an AVCA Honorable-Mention All-American and All-Mideast selection and also earned Big Ten All-Freshman honors. Haggerty was honored with Big Ten Freshman of the Week accolades four times in 2012. She led the Huskers in hitting efficiency (.333) as a freshman and recorded a hitting percentage of .300 or better 18 times in 2012. Haggerty averaged 1.98 kills and 0.97 blocks per set and finished eighth in the conference in hitting percentage with an average of .333. 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.

Thramer to Lead the Huskers in 2013

Senior Hayley Thramer suffered a knee injury in the spring of 2013 that will sideline her from competing during her senior season. She will fill the role as student coach and will help lead the Huskers in 2013.

Huskers Host 2013 Regional

The NCAA has selected Nebraska as one of four Regional hosts for the 2013 NCAA Tournament. Nebraska will host the matches on Dec. 13-14 at the Devaney Center.



More News Sponsor - First National Bank


Tickets Sponsor - StubHub