Huskers Look to Win Big 12 Crown Outright
No. 5 Nebraska (26-2, 18-1) at Texas A&M (13-16, 7-12)
Saturday, Nov. 27 • Reed Arena • 4 p.m.
Radio: Husker Sports Network, including B107.3 FM in Lincoln and KTWI 93.3 FM in Omaha, and on Huskers.com
Web Video: AggieAthletics.com
Live Stats: AggieAthletics.com
The No. 5 Nebraska volleyball team (26-2, 18-1 Big 12) heads to College Station, Texas, trying to take sole possession of its 12th Big 12 title when it faces the Texas A&M Aggies (13-16, 7-12 Big 12) at 4 p.m. on Saturday.
The Huskers secured at least a share of the Big 12 title on Wednesday night with their sweep of Baylor. Nebraska still holds a one-match lead over Texas, so with a Husker win or a Texas loss the Huskers will win the conference crown during their last year in the league.
Nebraska enters Saturday's match on a seven-match winning streak, including sweeps in all seven matches. Overall this season the Huskers have swept 14 of 19 matches in Big 12 play.
The Aggies are on their toughest stretch of the season as they are playing their third straight ranked team after losses to No. 16 Iowa State and No. 8 Texas. The Aggies have lost five of their last six matches and haven't won at home since they beat Oklahoma in four sets on Nov. 3.
There is no TV coverage of the match, but it is expected to be shown on AggieAthletics.com. Fans can also listen to all of the action with John Baylor on the 25-station Husker Sports Network, including B107.3 FM in Lincoln and Twister 93.3 FM in Omaha. Fans outside the network can find the audio stream for free on Huskers.com.
Scouting the Aggies
- The Aggies enter Saturday's match with a 13-16 overall record and a 7-12 mark in the Big 12 Conference.
- The Aggies are 6-7 at home this season, with four of the wins coming during Big 12 play.
- Texas A&M started Big 12 play with a sweep of No. 8 Texas, but has won just five matches since.
- Junior Kelsey Black leads the Big 12 in aces per set at 0.38 and ranks second in the league in kills with 4.15 per set.
- The Aggies rank first in the Big 12 in service aces with 1.24 per set. They haven't been as dangerous in conference matches as they rank fifth in the league with 1.00 per set.
- No player on the Aggies' roster with at least 100 attacks is hitting over .300. Allie Sawatzky holds the highest hitting percentage at .277 (121-35-311). Overall as a team the Aggies are hitting .195, which ranks seventh in the Big 12.
The Last Meeting Between Nebraska and Texas A&M (Oct. 9, 2010)
The No. 3 Nebraska volleyball team extended its winning streak to 15 matches on Saturday night with a 3-0 win (25-21, 25-12, 27-25) over the Texas A&M Aggies at the NU Coliseum, including a dramatic 27-25 comeback in set three after the Huskers were down 20-24.
The Huskers defense was the star of the night as Nebraska held the Aggies' Kelsey Black, who entered the match with a Big 12-best 4.10 kills per set, to -.048 hitting (12-14-42). Texas A&M hit just .085 on the night as Lindsey Licht led Nebraska with eight blocks, while Brooke Delano added seven and Jordan Wilberger produced six stuffs.
Scouting the Huskers
- The Huskers are ranked No. 5 in the latest AVCA Coaches Poll for the fourth straight week. Nebraska have been ranked as high as No. 2 this season and have been in the top 10 all season.
- The Huskers are 22-0 this season when holding opponents below .200 hitting after the Huskers held Baylor to .160 hitting. Nebraska is 4-2 when opposing teams hit above .200.
- After hitting .301 against Oklahoma, the Huskers are 183-0 under Head Coach John Cook when they hit .300 or better.
- The Huskers are 13-0 at home the season and have dropped just three sets all season at the NU Coliseum. In Big 12 play the Huskers ended the year a perfect 10-0.
- Nebraska is 10-1 on the road this season and 8-1 in Big 12 play, with its lone loss coming at Texas.
- After posting double-digit blocks in nine of their first 14 matches of the season the Huskers have hit double figured just three times in their last 14 matches.
- Junior middle blocker Brooke Delano entered the week ranked third nationally in hitting percentage at .436 and ranks sixth in blocks per set at 1.46.
- The Huskers are 31-7 all-time against the Texas A&M Aggies, including a 12-3 record in College Station. The Aggies win at home over the Huskers last season was their first since 1999.
- The Huskers entered the week ranked third nationally in three categories, including blocks (3.02), kills (15.14) and assists (14.15) per set.
- Only five times this season has a team hit .200 or better against the Husker defense, including Florida (.270), Illinois (.216), Texas twice (.272 & .252), Colorado (.239) and Oklahoma (.216). In those five matches the Huskers are 3-2.
- During Big 12 play the Huskers are tops in opponent hitting (.153), as well as assists (14.45), kills (15.40) and blocks (2.97) per set.
- Under Head Coach John Cook, the Huskers improved to 300-8 when winning the first set of the match after their 3-0 win over Baylor. The last time Nebraska won the first set and then lost the match was during the 2009 NCAA Regional Final, when Texas won 3-1 after NU took set one, 25-21.
- Four Huskers have combined for 18 double-doubles on the season, including nine from Hannah Werth, five from Tara Mueller, three from Lauren Cook and one from Sydney Anderson.
- Three Huskers have earned four All-America honors, including Sydney Anderson (2), Tara Mueller (1) and Brooke Delano (1).
Bringing Home Hardware
With its sweep of Baylor on Wednesday night the Nebraska volleyball team secured at least a share of its 31st overall conference championship and its 12th in the Big 12 era.
The Huskers currently hold a one-match lead over Texas with one match remaining for both programs. With a Husker win on Saturday or a Texas loss Nebraska will win the title outright in its final season as a Big 12 team.
Nebraska won the very first Big 12 title in 1996 and then won five straight from 1998-2002. After missing out on the league crown in 2003 the Husker captured five more titles from 2004-08.
November to Remember
The Huskers are looking for a repeat performance of last season's 7-0 November that helped propel Nebraska into getting within one win of the Final Four. Nebraska is currently 6-0 in November and holds a one-match lead over Texas with on matches to go on the Big 12 schedule.
Since Head Coach John Cook took over in 2000, the Huskers have posted a perfect record in November six times, including three straight seasons from 2000-02.
Where Will the Huskers Go?
On Sunday, Nov. 28 the Huskers will find out their path in the NCAA Tournament during the NCAA Division I Women's Volleyball Selection Show, which will be shown from 2-2:30 p.m. (CT) on ESPNews. If the Huskers get out of the first two rounds of the tournament, Nebraska will then have to head on the road for the regional round. The four pre-selected regional sites include Austin, Texas, Dayton, Ohio, Seattle, Wash., and University Park, Penn. The 2010 Final Four will be hosted at the Sprint Center in Kansas City, Mo.
In Need of an Assist?
Entering the season ranked ninth on Nebraska's career chart with 2,683 assists, senior Sydney Anderson's 576 assists this season have already moved her to fifth place on the career list with 3,259 dishes.
Against Texas Tech on Nov. 6 Anderson took over the No. 5 spot from Christy Johnson, who had totaled 3,183 assists from 1991-95.
On her way up the charts Anderson has also passed Rachel Holloway (2,861), Dani Busboom (2,873) and Lori Endicott (3,117). All together the four setters she has passed this season combined for six All-America honors.
Next up for Anderson is Val Novak, who sits fourth on NU's all-time charts with 3,303 assists.
Fear the Coliseum
The Huskers have been making quick work of their opponents of late with 11 sweeps in their past 12 matches, including six straight entering Wednesday night's match.
During Big 12 play at the NU Coliseum the Huskers have lost just two sets all season, with Kansas and Texas both winning a set in a pair of 3-1 Husker wins.
The Huskers have been nearly flawless on the road this season as they have dropped just one match all season. Not including its 3-1 loss to Texas in Austin, the Nebraska volleyball team is 8-0 and hasn't dropped a set since it's 3-1 win over Oklahoma in Norman on Sept. 29.
The Numbers Game
With its sweep of Oklahoma last Wednesday the Nebraska volleyball team has climbed to second in the latest NCAA RPI that were released on Monday, Nov. 22. Rankings behind No. 1 Florida, the Huskers are 12-2 against the RPI's top 50 this season and have wins over four top-20 teams, including No. 4 Illinois, No. 10 Dayton, No. 13 Texas and No. 19 Iowa State.
Tara-ing it Up
Senior Tara Mueller is starting to find her rhythm at just the right time. An All-American in 2008, Mueller had struggled to find constancy at the net this season and was hitting just .194 entering the month of November with 2.16 kills per set.
Mueller has found new life since the start of the year's 11th month as she is hitting .362 and is averaging 2.56 kills per set along with 3.00 digs. She has also been the Huskers' most dangerous server with 0.56 aces per set.
In her final regular-season home match at the NU Coliseum on Wednesday night against Baylor Mueller put up a match-high 12 kills on .409 hitting and added 11 digs to record her fifth double-double of the season.
The 2010 senior class has been the latest group to continue Nebraska's winning tradition. The team held Senior Night on Wednesday during the final regular season match of the season when the Huskers hosted Baylor and the class improved its overall record to an impressive 112-14.
The group of Sydney Anderson, Kayla Banwarth, Lindsey Licht and Tara Mueller has won three Big 12 titles, made one Final Four appearance and led the Huskers to two trips to the NCAA Regional final.
No Place Like Home
The Huskers hold a home-court advantage at the Coliseum due to the Huskers' passionate fan base.
Nebraska currently holds a streak of 147 consecutive sellouts at the NU Coliseum, the longest sellout streak across all NCAA women's athletics. Including the Devaney Center match this season against Illinois, the Huskers averaged 4,712 fans per home contest.
The Huskers are hoping that they will be able to use the the home court advantage next weekend during the first two rounds of the NCAA Tournament next weekend. Nebraska has a good chance of hosting the first round with its No. 2 ranking in the NCAA RPI.
The Huskers have opened the NCAA Tournament at home each of the past six seasons. Nebraska last opened on the road in 2003 when they traveled to East Lansing, Mich., where they beat Valparaiso and Dayton. The Huskers then hosted the NCAA Central Regional and lost to UCLA.
Hard to Stop
Junior middle blocker Brooke Delano has been the Huskers' most efficient attacker all season with a .427 hitting percentage. Along with being ranked No. 2 in the Big 12 Conference, she is near the top of the national charts and entered the week ranked third.
Delano has been ranked at the top of the national list previously this season and made her first appearance in the top spot on Oct. 17 and held the lead until she fell to the No. 2 spot during the week of Oct. 31. Delano re-took the top spot the following week (Nov. 7) and has stayed there until this week.
An All-American in 2009, Delano has hit .500 or better 11 times in 2010, including two matches where she hit over .700.
Delano is looking to become just the fourth Husker in school history to hit .400 or better in a season. Tracy Stalls was the last Husker to do so when she set the NU single-season record in 2007 when she hit .473. Stalls also hit .400 in 2006.
True freshman Morgan Broekhuis is starting to hit a groove as the 6-5 lefty is hitting .358 and averaging 2.48 kills per set over her past seven matches. She has hit .300 or better in six of the seven matches, including four matches where she has hit over .400 and one match where she hit .538.
In her first 12 conference matches this season she was hitting .179 with 2.02 kills per set. During the run she had hit .300 or better just twice, with the top performance coming at home against Texas when she hit at a .333 clip.
One on the Court
It is all about the team at Nebraska and it shows this season as the Huskers entered the week ranked in the top-20 nationally in four categories, including three top-five rankings. What makes the feat even more impressive is the fact that Nebraska only has one player that ranks in the top 50 of any individual national category as Brooke Delano enters the week ranked third nationally in hitting percentage (.430) and is sixth in blocks per set (1.46).
As a team the Huskers are third in blocks (3.02), kills (15.14) and assists (14.15) while also ranking 16th in hitting percentage (.283).
Head of the CLASS
Nebraska senior setter Sydney Anderson was named one of 10 finalists for the 2010 Lowe's Senior CLASS Award on Monday, Oct. 11 for women's volleyball.
A two-time AVCA All-American, Anderson was named to the preseason All-Big 12 list and is a two-time captain for the Huskers.
The fan vote, which accounts for 1/3 of the final vote, ended on Nov. 23 and Anderson secured nearly 25% of the ballots..
Nebraska's middle blockers have been a force both offensively and defensively this season. Brooke Delano, Jordan Wilberger and Allison McNeal all average nearly one block per set and each is hitting .330 or better.
With her second dig of the match against Texas Tech on Saturday, Nov. 6, senior libero Kayla Banwarth took over the top spot on the NU career digs chart with the 1,569th dig of her career. Banwarth broke Jennifer Saleaumua's record of 1,568 digs.
Not only is Banwarth the top digger in NU history, but she is also one of the top diggers in Big 12 history. Entering Saturday afternoon's match the senior ranks sixth all-time on the Big 12 charts with 1,652 digs. Banwarth is one of four active liberos on the Big 12 top-10 list, including Iowa State's Ashley Mass, who hold the top mark at 2,209 digs.
Last season, Banwarth compiled 570 digs, which nearly broke Dani Busboom's 2006 single-season record of 580.
Huskers Add Three for 2011
Nebraska Head Volleyball Coach John Cook announced the addition of three high school players to the Huskers' 2011 roster on Thursday, Nov. 11, including two Prepvolleyball.com's top-100 Senior Aces.
The class includes outside hitter/right side hitter Taylor Simpson (Colorado Springs, Colo.), libero/outside hitter Lara Dykstra (Redondo Beach, Calif.) and libero/defensive specialist Shelby Winkelmann (Rhineland, Mo.).
Simpson is rated as the No. 9 player in the country by Prepvolleyball.com, while Dykstra ranks 52nd. Winkelmann led her prep squad to two state titles and holds the school record in kills (1,453).
The Great Wall
The Husker defense has shutdown opposing hitters all season and for it the Huskers entered the week ranked No. 3 in the country in blocks with 3.02 per set. Nebraska has posted double-digit stuffs in 11 matches this season, including 15 or more three times. It is an impressive feat as the Huskers have played more than three sets only nine times this year and to a fifth set just twice.
During Big 12 play the Huskers have been just as tough on opposing attackers with 2.97 blocks per set.
Along with Brooke Delano's conference-best 1.42 blocks per set, which ranked sixth nationally entering the week, Jordan Wilberger and Lindsey Licht join Delano on the Big 12 top-10 list with 1.16 (6th) and 1.07 (8th) blocks per set, respectively.
Since Head Coach John Cook took over at Nebraska in 2000, the Huskers have earned the NCAA blocking title five times, including 2000, '01, '02, '04 and '05.
Coming off a freshman season that saw her earn Big 12 Freshman of the Year, honorable-mention All-America and honorable-mention All-Big 12 honors, Hannah Werth has continued to put up solid numbers in 2010.
Through 28 matches, Werth leads the team with nine double-doubles, including six in Big 12 play.
Kills Keep Coming
The 2010 Huskers ranked first in the Big 12 Conference and third nationally with 15.15 kills per set, but Nebraska doesn't have one player on the individual Big 12 top-10 list or national top-50 list.
Nebraska spreads the wealth as five Huskers average at least two kills per set, including Lindsey Licht, (2.95), Brooke Delano (2.92), Hannah Werth (2.82), Tara Mueller (2.24) and Morgan Broekhuis (2.12).
During Big 12 play, Licht (3.05) and Werth (3.00) are each averaging over 3.00 kills per set.
Taking Down Ranked Foes
Following its win over No. 12 Iowa State the Huskers are now 6-2 this season against top-25 ranked teams. Nebraska is the only Big 12 school that is .500 or better against top-25 teams and is the only program with more than three wins against ranked teams. Nebraska and Texas A&M are the only Big 12 teams with a .500 or better record against top-10 programs as both the Huskers and Aggies are 1-1.
The Huskers only losses on the year came to then-No. 13 Florida and No. 10 Texas. Florida is currently 26-1 and is ranked No. 1 in the latest AVCA Coaches Poll while Texas is 22-5 and ranked No. 8.
Know How to Rebound
During Head Coach John Cook's first 10 seasons at Nebraska the Huskers have been tough following a loss in conference as they have lost back-to-back conference matches only twice. The Huskers dropped two straight to Kansas State and Missouri in 2003 before they fell to Texas A&M and Texas last season.
When the Husker lose on the road and then play their next match at home they are 8-1 all-time under Cook after their loss to Texas followed by a win at Iowa State last week.
The only time the Huskers didn't respond with a win was last season when they fell at Texas A&M and then lost to Texas at home.
Try to Take a Set
In Big 12 play this season the Huskers have won 55 of the 62 sets they've played. No other team in the conference has lost less than 10 sets in Big 12 play. Overall this season Nebraska is 81-14 in sets.
At home this season in Big 12 matches the Huskers have lost only two sets, as they dropped one each to Kansas and Texas, but the Huskers won both matches.