Huskers Face Minnesota in Top-Five Battle
• The No. 3 Nebraska volleyball team will play its first top-five opponent of the season when it meets Minnesota on Saturday at 7 p.m. The match will be televised on NET and streamed online at BTN2GO.com.
• The Huskers and Golden Gophers will also air on Husker Sports Network radio affiliates, including 107.3 FM in Lincoln and 105.9 FM in Omaha. A live audio stream will be provided at Huskers.com. John Baylor is in his 25th season doing play-by-play for the Husker volleyball program. Lauren (Cook) West, a former All-America setter for the Huskers, will provide color commentary.
About the Huskers
• Nebraska enters the match at 14-1 overall and 5-0 in the Big Ten. The Huskers have won 14 straight matches since a season-opening loss to Florida. Dating back to last season, Nebraska has won 33 of its last 34 matches.
• Nebraska has won 18 straight Big Ten matches dating back to last season. It’s the second-longest current win streak in the nation of any power five conference team (Texas has 22 straight Big 12 wins).
• Saturday’s match marks the beginning of a very tough stretch in the Huskers’ Big Ten schedule. Six of Nebraska’s next eight matches are against teams ranked in the AVCA top 10.
• The Huskers are tied with Minnesota with perfect 5-0 Big Ten records.
• Nebraska leads the nation in opponent hitting percentage at .110.
• Nebraska’s 2.84 blocks per set ranks 10th nationally.
• Nebraska leads the Big Ten and ranks fifth nationally with 1.93 aces per set.
• Senior captain Mikaela Foecke, who has twice been named Big Ten Player of the Week this season, leads the Huskers with 3.69 kills per set and adds 2.44 digs per set and 24 service aces this season. The AVCA second-team All-American is hitting a career-best .338 and is the only active player in NCAA Division I with at least 1,000 career kills, 200 career blocks, 500 career digs and 100 career aces.
• Fellow senior captain Kenzie Maloney is averaging 3.80 digs per set to lead the Husker defense.
• Freshman middle blocker Callie Schwarzenbach ranks first in the Big Ten and second in the nation with 1.63 blocks per set. Schwarzenbach had 13 blocks in a 3-1 win over New Mexico on Sept. 14, the most in the NCAA in a four-set match this season.
• Since debuting for the Huskers on Sept. 14, Lexi Sun has put up 3.12 kills per set and 2.42 digs per set.
• Freshman setter Nicklin Hames has nine double-doubles through 15 matches and is averaging 10.07 assists and 2.93 digs per set.
• Sophomore opposite hitter Jazz Sweet is second on the team in total kills and is producing 2.72 kills per set on .293 hitting.
• Sophomore middle blocker Lauren Stivrins is averaging 2.04 kills on a team-best .388 hitting percentage to go with 1.07 blocks per set. Stivrins was named the Big Ten Co-Player of the Week on Monday after becoming the third Husker in program history to achieve a 1.000 hitting percentage with at least 10 kills. She had 10 kills on 10 swings at Northwestern.
• John Cook, Nebraska: 19th year at Nebraska (545-70); 26th year overall (706-143)
• Hugh McCutcheon, Minnesota: 7th year at Minnesota (173-45); 18th year overall (same)
• Nebraska is 34-7 all-time against Minnesota, including a 3-0 sweep on Sept. 29 last year in the only meeting between the teams. The Golden Gophers won the previous match-up, 3-2, on Nov. 23, 2016. Since joining the Big Ten, Nebraska is 8-3 against Minnesota.
• Minnesota is 11-2 overall and 5-0 in the Big Ten after a 3-0 win at Northwestern on Wednesday.
• The Golden Gophers already own Big Ten wins against Penn State (3-0) and Wisconsin (3-0). In fact, all five of their league wins have been sweeps, and they haven’t dropped a set since Sept. 9 at Stanford in a 3-1 loss.
• Senior setter Samantha Seliger-Swenson leads the Gophers, as the AVCA All-American is averaging 11.17 assists per set and 2.86 digs per set. Stephanie Samedy is putting up 3.84 kills per set.
• Minnesota has the top hitting percentage (.305) in the Big Ten and is second in digs per set (16.05).
Foecke, Maloney Captain Young Husker Squad
• Seniors Mikaela Foecke and Kenzie Maloney are co-captaining the 2018 Husker squad. Foecke and Maloney are the lone players on the team who have been part of both the 2015 and 2017 NCAA Championship teams, and the duo will look to become the first in program history to appear in four straight final fours and win three national championships.
• Foecke, an outside hitter from West Point, Iowa, was selected the Most Outstanding Player of the NCAA Championship in both 2015 and 2017 after leading the Huskers to their fourth and fifth NCAA titles all-time.
• Foecke became the fourth player in NCAA history to twice be named the MOP - as she also earned the honor in 2015 - and she was the first to earn the honor in non-consecutive years.
• Foecke was named an AVCA second-team All-American and was unanimously selected to the All-Big Ten team and was an AVCA All-North Region pick for the third straight year in 2017.
• Foecke was a unanimous preseason All-Big Ten selection entering her senior season. She had a career-high 25 kills on .351 hitting with 13 digs at Creighton on Sept. 6, earning Big Ten Co-Player of the Week honors for the first of two times this season.
• Foecke ranks 10th on Nebraska’s career kills list with 1,369, which also ranks fourth in the rally scoring era (2001 to present). Her 113 career aces are fourth-most in school history in the rally scoring era.
• Maloney, a libero from Louisville, Kentucky, was named to the NCAA Championship All-Tournament team in 2017 and was a PrepVolleyball.com first-team All-American after serving a school-record 13 aces during the NCAA Tournament.
• In her first season as NU’s libero in 2017, Maloney played all 125 sets and averaged 3.62 digs per set and 0.95 aces per set with season totals of 452 digs and 37 aces, second-most on the team.
• Maloney was named to the preseason All-Big Ten team this year. She is averaging a team-high 3.80 digs per set and had a career-high 25 digs in a win at No. 14 Creighton.
• Maloney became the 11th Husker all-time to reach 1,000 career digs when she did so against Missouri State on Sept. 15. She now has 1,075 career digs, ninth-most in school history in the rally scoring era.
Stivrins, Sweet Stepping Up in Sophomore Seasons
• After earning All-Big Ten Freshman team honors in 2017, middle blocker Lauren Stivrins and opposite hitter Jazz Sweet are both playing bigger roles as sophomores in the program.
• Stivrins is averaging 2.04 kills per set on a team-best .388 hitting percentage to go with 1.07 blocks per set. She added serving to her repertoire this season and is fourth on the team with 16 aces.
• Stivrins finished the 2017 season with 2.07 kills per set on .309 hitting and 1.02 blocks per set while playing all 125 sets. She tallied nine kills on .316 hitting against Florida in the NCAA Championship match and had seven kills and a career-high nine blocks in the NCAA Semifinal vs. Penn State.
• Stivrins picked up her first-career Big Ten Player of the Week honor after becoming the third Husker in school history to post a 1.000 hitting percentage with at least 10 kills when she went 10-for-10 in a sweep of Northwestern on Sept. 28.
• Sweet also played in all 125 sets last season and had 2.22 kills per set on .273 hitting in her first year as a Husker. Sweet posted 12 kills on .375 hitting against Penn State in the NCAA Semifinal.
• This year, Sweet moved into the starting lineup for the Big Red and is third on the team in kills per set at 2.72 and is hitting .293. Sweet also has 48 blocks this season, third-most on the team behind only the two middles.
Sun Shining for Huskers
• Nebraska added sophomore outside hitter Lexi Sun to its attack in the offseason. The University of Texas transfer was a 2017 first-team All-Big 12 selection and received All-America honorable mention in her freshman season with the Longhorns. A native of Encinitas, California, Sun was the PrepVolleyball.com National Player of the Year, the Gatorade Player of the Year and the All-USA Volleyball Player of the Year as a senior at Santa Fe Christian.
• Sun made her Husker debut on Sept. 14 against New Mexico. She had 13 kills on .346 hitting with five digs, and she followed that the next day with nine kills on .368 hitting with seven digs against Missouri State.
• Sun is playing all six rotations for the Huskers and is averaging 3.12 kills and 2.42 digs per set.
Young Huskers Making Instant Impact
• Eight of the 15 Huskers on the roster are new to the team this season, and five are freshmen.
• Setter Nicklin Hames has started every match and has nine double-doubles. The Knoxville, Tennessee native is averaging 10.07 assists and 2.93 digs per set. Her 22 service aces are second-most on the team.
• Middle blocker Callie Schwarzenbach has started every match and leads the team in blocks with 1.63 per set. Schwarzenbach ranks first in the Big Ten and second nationally in blocking.
• Defensive specialist Megan Miller has played in 11 matches and is providing 1.30 digs per set, as well as six aces from the service line.
• Outside hitter Capri Davis has played in seven matches and was huge for the Huskers in a 3-2 comeback win at No. 14 Creighton, providing 18 kills.
• Defensive specialist Chen Abramovich made her first collegiate appearance against Wake Forest on Aug. 31.
Smith Makes Return to Huskers
• Senior setter Brooke Smith was part of the Huskers’ 2015 NCAA Championship team and 2016 Big Ten Championship team. She played the 2017 season at Kansas State before transferring back to Nebraska for her senior season this year. Smith was cleared by the NCAA to start playing for the Huskers on Sept. 7 and has played in six matches, recording six assists and one ace.
Huskers Will Play School-Record 19 Home Matches
• Nebraska will play a school-record 19 regular-season home matches in 2018.
• Nine of the Huskers’ 10 non-conference matches were played at the Devaney Center this season. The only road trip was to Omaha, where NU beat Creighton, 3-2, on Thursday, Sept. 6.
• The 2018 season marked the first time the Huskers didn’t play a non-conference match outside of Nebraska since 2007.
Huskers Aiming for 250th Consecutive Regular-Season Sellout
• Nebraska carries an NCAA women’s record 246 consecutive regular-season sellouts. Should the Huskers continue to sell out, their 250th straight sellout would be on Friday, Nov. 2 against Penn State.
Huskers Ranked No. 3 in AVCA Coaches Poll
• Nebraska is ranked No. 3 in the AVCA Coaches Poll this week.
• The Huskers have been ranked No. 1 in 99 all-time polls, the most in NCAA history.
• The Huskers have been ranked in the top 10 a total of 477 times, which is also the most in NCAA history.
• Nebraska has appeared in all 532 AVCA Coaches Polls since it was established in 1982. Nebraska and Stanford are the only two programs to be ranked in every poll all-time.
Cook Adds to Legacy; Joins AVCA Hall of Fame
• Nebraska head coach John Cook is in his 19th season as the Nebraska volleyball head coach in 2018. He has led the Huskers to four national championships, eight final fours, 12 conference championships and 16 top-10 final rankings since 2000. Cook has 706 career wins and is one of the all-time winningest coaches in NCAA history.
• Since taking over the program in 2000, Cook has led the Huskers to a nation-leading .886 win percentage in that time (545-70).
• Under Cook, the Huskers have achieved 52 AVCA All-Americans and 19 CoSIDA Academic All-Americans, both among the best in the nation. He is a two-time AVCA National Coach of the Year, earning the prestigious honor in 2000 and 2005, and a seven-time conference coach of the year, including Big Ten Coach of the Year in 2016 and 2017, his first and second Big Ten honors with the Huskers in their Big Ten era (2011-present).
• Cook was named the AVCA North Region Coach of the Year in 2016, his fifth career regional coaching honor and fourth while at Nebraska.
• Cook is one of only four active coaches - and one of six all-time - to be a two-time AVCA National Coach of the Year and was honored in 2008 by USA Volleyball, receiving its All-Time Great Coach Award.
• Cook was inducted into the AVCA Hall of Fame in 2017, joining former Husker volleyball coach Terry Pettit in the hall.
• Cook became the 10th active Division I head coach to reach 700 career wins with the Huskers’ eighth win of the season on Sept. 14 against New Mexico. Cook is one of 27 Division I coaches all-time to have reached the 700-win mark.
• Cook passed former Husker head coach and AVCA Hall of Famer Terry Pettit on the all-time career wins list earlier this season. Pettit finished his career with 694 career wins, which Cook passed on Aug. 31 when Nebraska beat Wake Forest.
Husker Fans Set Attendance Standard Once Again
• Nebraska fans led the nation in attendance for a fifth straight season in 2017, averaging 8,202 fans per match, nearly 2,000 more than any other school.
• In 2016, the Huskers also led the nation with an average attendance of 8,210 fans per match, a new NCAA attendance record.
• In 2013, the Huskers led the nation in attendance (8,175) for the first time since 1992, ending Hawaii’s 21-year reign as the national leader.
• The Huskers repeated as attendance champions in 2014 with 8,083 fans per match, which included a school-record 8,585 fans at the Oct. 3 win against Penn State.
• Nebraska has ranked in the top three nationally in attendance every season since 1990 (27 straight seasons).
Cook’s Coaching Tree Continues to Grow
• Nebraska head coach John Cook’s assistant coaches have a great track record of moving on to become head coaches.
• Following the 2017 season, Husker assistant Tyler Hildebrand was named the Director of Coaching, Beach Volleyball for USA Volleyball in his home state of California.
• After the 2016 season, Nebraska assistants Chris Tamas and Dani Busboom Kelly both accepted high-level Division I head coaching jobs. Busboom Kelly became the head coach at Louisville, while Tamas accepted the head coaching job at Big Ten foe Illinois. Tamas led his Fighting Illini squad to the Sweet 16 in his first year, while Busboom Kelly made the NCAA Tournament with Louisville and was named the AVCA East Region Coach of the Year.
• Seven assistants under Cook have become head coaches following their time on Cook’s Nebraska staff: Craig Skinner (Kentucky), Lee Maes (Virginia), Lizzy Stemke (Georgia), Dan Conners (UC Davis), Dan Meske (Augustana, Associate Head Coach at Louisville), Busboom Kelly and Tamas.
• In the last eight years, five of Cook’s Husker assistants have become head coaches. with her 1.60 blocks per set.
Foecke Named Senior CLASS Award Candidate
• Thirty NCAA women’s volleyball student-athletes, including Nebraska outside hitter Mikaela Foecke, were selected on Oct. 1 as candidates for the 2018 Senior CLASS Award in collegiate volleyball. To be eligible for the award, a student-athlete must be classified as an NCAA Division I senior and have notable achievements in four areas of excellence: community, classroom, character and competition.
• An acronym for Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School, the Senior CLASS Award focuses on the total student-athlete and encourages students to use their platform in athletics to make a positive impact as leaders in their communities.
• A native of West Point, Iowa, Foecke carries a 3.649 GPA majoring in animal science and is a two-time NCAA Championship most outstanding player, making her one of only four volleyball players in NCAA history to accomplish that feat. Foecke was an AVCA second-team All-American in 2017 after leading the Huskers to their second NCAA Championship in three years. Foecke has excelled both on and off the court in her four years at Nebraska, as she is a three-time academic All-Big Ten selection and has received Nebraska’s high honors (silver) academic medallion twice.
Nebraska Volleyball Retires Jersey of Sarah Pavan
• Nebraska volleyball retired the jersey of one of the most decorated student-athletes in NCAA history, Sarah Pavan, on Sept. 9 after the Huskers’ win over Iowa State. She became the ninth volleyball player in school history to have her jersey retired. Pavan was also inducted into the Nebraska Athletic Hall of Fame that weekend.
• The Kitchener, Ontario native is NU’s all-time leader in kills (2,008) and kills per match (4.56). She is one of five players in NCAA history to be named a four-time first-team AVCA All-American, and she helped lead the Huskers win the 2006 NCAA Championship.
• Pavan was the AVCA National Player of the Year, a three-time Big 12 Player of the Year, a two-time ESPN The Magazine Academic All-American of the Year and the Honda Broderick Cup winner, given to the best female student-athlete in the country. She earned a 4.0 GPA majoring in biochemistry. Pavan went on to compete in the 2016 Olympics in Brazil, representing Canada in beach volleyball.