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Tickets: Sold Out (72nd consecutive sellout)
Radio: Pinnacle Sports Network (B107.3 FM in Lincoln and 17 other stations across Nebraska)
Live Stats/Audio: Huskers.com
Series Records: NU Leads, 2-0
Matches #2-4: No. 1 Nebraska Hosts Labor Day Tournament
Friday, Sept. 1-Sunday, Sept. 3 * NU Coliseum * Lincoln, Neb.
- Friday, Sept. 1
Long Beach State (3-0) vs. Middle Tennessee (3-0), 5 p.m.
Nebraska (0-0) vs. St. Mary’s (0-0), 7 p.m.
- Saturday, Sept. 2
Long Beach State vs. St. Mary’s, 5 p.m.
Nebraska vs. Middle Tennessee, 7:30 p.m.
- Saturday, Sept. 3
Middle Tennessee vs. St. Mary’s, Noon
Nebraska vs. Long Beach State, 2 p.m.
No. 1 Huskers Open Season vs. No. 20 San Diego on Tuesday
The Nebraska volleyball team opens the 2006 season this week with four matches, beginning Tuesday evening against No. 20 San Diego. First serve at a sold-out Nebraska Coliseum (4,030 capacity) is set for 7 p.m. and the match will be carried across the state on the Pinnacle Sports Network, including B107.3 FM in Lincoln, and on the Internet at Huskers.com. Fans can also watch Tuesday’s match on HuskersNside, a subscription-based site that will carry many of NU’s matches during the 2006 campaign.
The Huskers find themselves in a familiar position to begin the season, as the Huskers are ranked first in the CSTV/AVCA Preseason Coaches Poll. It marks the third time that Nebraska has opened the season in that spot (also 2001 and 2005).
The Huskers will have a vastly different lineup than the one that took the court at the end of last season. The Huskers must replace a trio of All-Americans, middle blocker Melissa Elmer and outside hitters Christina Houghtelling and Jennifer Saleaumua. Houghtelling underwent season-ending surgery in July and will redshirt this fall. Her absence sparked NU’s shift to the 5-1 offense. Despite the losses, NU returns five of its top eight players from last season, including two-time All-American Sarah Pavan and Big 12 Freshman of the Year Jordan Larson.
•-Nebraska looks to extend its home winning streak to 35 matches dating back to September of 2004. NU has also won its last 28 matches at the NU Coliseum dating back to a 2004 setback to Florida A&M.
•-With redshirt freshman Rachel Holloway looking to make her first career start on Tuesday, she will become the fifth freshman to start a season opener under John Cook. In addition, Dani Busboom (2003) and Amanda Gates (2005) were considered starters in NU’s 6-2 offense, but neither was on the court at the start of the match in those respective years.
Freshman Starters in Opening Match of the Season
2002 Jennifer Saleaumua
2004 Sarah Pavan & Tracy Stalls
2005 Jordan Larson
•-Nebraska is 26-3 against ranked opponents over the last two seasons.
•-With the No. 1 ranking in the preseason poll, NU has now spent 56 weeks all-time at No. 1 in the AVCA poll, the most weeks at No. 1 of any Division I program. UCLA is second with 51 weeks.
Husker Probable Starters
MB - #17 Amanda Gates: 6-2, So., Columbus, Neb. - Gates appeared in nine matches as a true freshman in 2005, averaging 0.94 kills and 0.81 blocks per game. She totaled a season-high four kills in NU’s first-round NCAA win over Alabama A&M and had a pair of matches where she had two blocks (Hawaii and Ohio State). Gates was a Fab 50 selection out of Columbus High School.
MB - #11 Tracy Stalls: 6-3, Jr., Denver, Colo. - A two-year starter, Stalls is one of the best middle blockers in the Big 12. She averaged 1.59 blocks and 1.43 kills per game in 2005, ranking third in the Big 12 and 14th nationally in that category. She topped NU in blocks in nine matches, including a match-high nine stuffs in the national title match against Washington. Against Kansas State, she established her career high with 12 blocks, including five solo stuffs. Stalls ranked 11th nationally in blocking as a freshman at 1.65 blocks per game. Before enrolling at NU, Stalls served a two-year stint in the U.S. National Developmental Program and was on the U.S. National Team.
OPP - #9 Sarah Pavan: 6-5, Jr., Kitchener, Ontario - A two-time AVCA All-American, Pavan is on pace for one of the most distinguished careers in NU history. She was the Big 12’s Player of the Year in 2005, averaging 3.82 kills, 1.66 digs, 1.25 blocks and 0.30 aces per game in 2005, ranking among the Big 12 leaders in kills, blocks, points per game and service aces. Pavan topped NU in kills in 13 matches, including a season-high 22 kills against No. 12 Missouri on Nov. 13. She established her career high in kills as a freshman with 35 in the NCAA Regional against USC. She recorded a triple-double vs. Pepperdine in 2005 (11 kills, 11 blocks and 10 digs) becoming the first NU outside hitter to accomplish the feat since 1999. Pavan, who carries a 4.0 GPA in biochemistry, was a member of the Canadian National Team at age 16.
OH - #10 Jordan Larson: 6-2, So., Hooper, Neb. - Returning starter at outside hitter who was the Big 12 Freshman of the Year and AVCA Central Region Freshman of the Year in 2005. She averaged 2.82 kills, 2.79 digs and 0.38 service aces per game, topping all conference freshmen in kills, digs, hitting percentage and service aces. Larson had five double-doubles in 2005, including three against top-10 teams (Stanford, Minnesota and Missouri). She had 19 kills and 19 digs at No. 5 Minnesota. She was rated the No. 2 player in the country by Prepvolleyball.com. Larson set a Class C-1 state record with 501 kills on .490 hitting in 2004, while establishing an all-class record with 179 service aces. Larson also spent two years on the U.S. Junior National Team.
OH - #7 Dani Mancuso: 6-2, Jr., Omaha, Neb. - Mancuso steps into the starting lineup after serving as NU’s top backup at the outside hitter spots in 2005. She averaged 1.38 kills, 1.15 digs and 0.68 blocks per game in 26 matches last season. She made her only start of the year against Michigan, totaling 10 kills and a career-high six blocks in a sweep of the Wolverines. As a sophomore, she shared the outside hitter spot with Christina Houghtelling, averaging 2.77 kills and 0.29 service aces per game. Mancuso had a career-high 22 kills off the bench in a four-game victory at Kansas State in 2004.
S - #12 Rachel Holloway: 5-10, R-Fr., Franklin, Tenn. - Holloway earns the starting nod at setter after a battle with Maggie Griffin throughout fall camp. She redshirted in 2005, but was able to play during the spring season, averaging 9.50 assists and 3.00 digs in two matches. Over the summer, Holloway captained the U.S. Youth National Team to a gold medal at the NORCECA Junior Championships in Mexico. Holloway, who graduated high school a year early, was the Gatorade High School player of the Year in Colorado in her final season at Smoky Hill High School.
L - #18 Dani Busboom: 5-11, Sr., Cortland, Neb. - Busboom makes the shift to libero after starting at setter the previous three seasons. She averaged 6.45 assists and 1.82 digs in NU’s 6-2 offense, helping NU hit .322 as a team. She is seventh on NU’s career assists list with 2,837 and could become only the second player in school history on top-10 lists in both assists and digs. A tri-captain, Busboom made a strong debut at libero in NU’s Red/White scrimmage with 20 digs.
Scouting San Diego
Under interim coach Brent Hilliard, San Diego comes to Lincoln with a 3-0 record and a No. 20 ranking in the CSTV/AVCA Coaches preseason poll. The Toreros, who went 23-6 last year and reached the second round of the NCAA Tournament, opened their season by capturing the title at San Diego State’s tournament. USD swept Hofstra and Cal State Northridge before going four games with the host Aztecs to win the title.
The combination of outside hitter Kristen Carlson (4.00 kills and 1.77 digs) and middle blocker Christie Dawson (5.20 kills and 2.10 digs) have been USD’s primary offensive attackers, as the duo combines for over half of USD’s kills.
Nebraska leads the all-time series between the two clubs, 2-0, but they have not squared off since the 1999 NCAA Tournament.
Red/White Scrimmage Recap
For the 3,356 fans at the NU Coliseum, Saturday night’s intrasquad match saw the debut of the new-look Huskers, as the Red team swept the White squad with a 30-20, 30-25, 30-24 victory.
Jordan Larson paced the Red squad with a double-double, totaling 13 kills and 14 digs, while All-American Sarah Pavan tied for team-high honors with 13 kills and four aces. In all, four Red players finished with at least seven kills, as Dani Mancuso and Tracy Stalls chipped in with nine and seven, respectively. Stalls also had a match-high five blocks.
While the Huskers showed offensive balance, the Red squad, featuring the NU starters, was also efficient on the defensive end. Senior Dani Busboom totaled a match-high 20 digs in her debut as NU’s libero, as the Red squad totaled 61 digs and held the White team to just .144 hitting.
In the battle for the starting setter position, both Rachel Holloway and Maggie Griffin played well on Saturday. Holloway, who earned the start for the Red squad, totaled 42 assists, seven digs and four blocks. She helped the Reds get off to a quick start in the opener, as the team hit a blistering .353 with only four errors in a 30-20 win.
Griffin totaled 40 assists, seven digs and six kills on 15 swings piloting a White squad that featured freshmen Kori Cooper and Brooke Bartek and former NU All-American Jennifer Saleaumua among others.
Pavan Closes in on 1,000 Kills
Junior All-American Sarah Pavan begins her junior campaign looking to become the 18th Husker to reach the 1,000 kill mark. A two-time AVCA All-American, she begins the 2006 season with 924 kills and is 76 away from the 1,000-kill plateau.
Here is a look at how Pavan’s numbers over her first two seasons compare with some of the greatest hitters in Nebraska’s history.
Most Kills - First Two Seasons at Nebraska
No. Player Kills
1. Sarah Pavan 924
2. Eileen Shannon 825
3. Allison Weston 777
Busboom Makes the Change
After not playing with a libero during the 2005 season, Nebraska can still claim a returning starter at the position, as senior Dani Busboom has made the shift from setter to libero. The senior shared setting duties last year in NU’s 6-2 offense and was a three-year starter at setter.
Busboom, who has averaged over two digs per game from her setter spot during her career, has adapted quickly, totaling a match-high 20 digs in NU’s Red/White Scrimmage on Aug. 26.
How I spent my Summer Vacation
Several Husker players and head assistant coach Lee Maes were busy during the summer helping out the USA Volleyball Program
*- Maes coached the A2 Red team to a gold medal at the USA Volleyball Girls’ High Performance Championships in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
*- Tracy Stalls and Maggie Griffin trained with the USA National Program in Colorado Springs during July.
*- Rachel Holloway captained the U.S. Junior National Team to a gold medal at the NORCECA Junior Championships in Monterrey, Mexico, in early August.
Volleyball Tickets Sold Out for 2006 Season
For Husker volleyball, one record setting streak is guaranteed to continue this fall, as the Nebraska Ticket Office announced on Aug. 16 that the entire regular-season home schedule is officially sold out
Single-match tickets went on sale on Aug. 3, with fans camped out overnight waiting for tickets. In fact, 11 of the first 17 matches sold out within three hours of the ticket windows opening, and the final tickets were sold prior to the Huskers’ annual Red/White Match. The sellout streak began in the 2001 season and will reach 89 at the end of the regular season.
NU Picked to Repeat as Big 12 Champs
Nebraska is the preseason favorite to win the Big 12 title for the 10th consecutive season in a vote of the league head coaches, the conference office announced on Aug. 3. The Huskers received eight of the 11 possible first-place votes and 98 points overall, while coaches were not allowed to vote for their own teams.
In 2005, NU finished the season as the national runner-up to Washington, tallying a 33-2 overall record and 19-1 conference mark. The Huskers also claimed their eighth Big 12 crown (1996, 1998-02, 2004-05). Coach John Cook earned AVCA Division I National Coach-of-the-Year honors for the second time in his career, in addition to being named Big 12 Coach of the Year (2001, 2005). Nebraska also returns reigning conference player of the year Sarah Pavan.
Texas was second behind NU with 93 points, including three first-place votes. The Longhorns were followed by Missouri, Kansas State and Texas A&M filling the top five spots. Colorado was sixth with Kansas, Iowa State, Baylor, Oklahoma and Texas Tech rounding out the poll.
Pavan headlines the individual honors as the Big 12 Preseason Player of the Year for the second straight season. Last year, the junior from Kitchener, Ontario, averaged 3.82 kills, 1.24 blocks, 1.66 digs and 0.31 aces in 35 matches. Pavan tallied four double-doubles and a triple-double of 11 kills, 11 blocks and 10 digs against Pepperdine.
Pavan was one of two Huskers chosen for the preseason All-Big 12 team, as she was joined by sophomore outside hitter Jordan Larson, who averaged 2.82 kills and 2.79 digs per game in 2005, earning Big 12 Freshman of the Year honors.
Houghtelling to Miss 2006 Season
Nebraska Head Coach John Cook announced on Aug. 8 that AVCA National Player of the Year Christina Houghtelling will miss all of the 2006 season following shoulder surgery.
Houghtelling, a first-team All-American in 2005, underwent surgery on her right shoulder on July 13, and underwent arthroscopic surgery on her right knee later that month. Last season, Houghtelling averaged 3.69 kills, 2.49 digs and 1.03 blocks per game, ranking among the Big 12 leaders in kills (10th) and hitting percentage (.375, fifth).
According to Head Coach John Cook, having the surgery at this time allows Houghtelling, who has not redshirted, to be completely healthy for the 2007 season and to enhance her chances at success following her Husker career.
“She developed a shoulder problem in the spring, and we felt it was best to repair it now so that she can come back completely healthy for her senior year,” Cook said. “She is a big-time athlete and has the opportunity to continue in this sport following her collegiate career, whether it is with Team USA or professionally. We wanted to give her every opportunity to be successful following her career, and we made the decision that she had surgery.”
Recruiting Class Ranked Among Nation’s Best
Nebraska’s incoming volleyball class received honors from two national publications, as both Volleyball Magazine and PrepVolleyball.com rated the Huskers’ recruiting class as one of the 10 best classes in the country. The class of Brooke Bartek and Kori Cooper was ranked 10th nationally by both publications
Bartek was one of the nation’s top high school players at Lincoln Northeast High School and rated the No. 13 player nationally by PrepVolleyball.com and a Volleyball Magazine Fab 50 Recruit. A four-year starter, Bartek was the Gatorade Player of the Year in Nebraska in 2005 and finished her career with 337 blocks and 1,190 kills at Lincoln Northeast.
Cooper was one of the nation’s top seniors despite missing nearly all of her senior year with a knee injury. She was a Volleyball Magazine Fab 50 pick and was rated the No. 12 player in the country by PrepVolleyball.com. As a junior, she co-captained the U.S. Youth National Team to a fourth-place finish at the 2005 Under-18 World Championships in 2005 in Macau, China. A two-time all-state performer at Amarillo High School, Cooper totaled 439 kills, 103 block assists and 55 block solos during her junior campaign in 2004.
Huskers Honored by AVCA
The University of Nebraska volleyball team was honored earlier this month for its achievements in the classroom, receiving the Game Plan/AVCA Team Academic Award for the 2005-06 season.
The award, initiated by the AVCA in the 1992-93 academic year, recognizes college and high school teams that displayed excellence in the classroom by maintaining at least a 3.30 cumulative team grade-point average on a 4.0 scale during the previous school year. Nebraska finished the year with a 3.48 team GPA for the 2005-06 academic year, including an impressive 3.74 GPA during the spring semester.
Nebraska was one of 54 Division I programs honored nationally and one of only three Big 12 teams honored during the year, joining Kansas and Kansas State. The Huskers, who finished 33-2 and were national runner-up in 2005, were also the only Division I program in the country to reach the national semifinals and be recognized for high achievement in the classroom.
It is the 11th time that Nebraska has received the AVCA Team Academic Award – the most of any Division I program nationally.
Noting the 2006 Volleyball Schedule
*-Seventeen of Nebraska’s matches will be against teams that qualified for the NCAA Tournament in 2005, including NCAA Regional qualifiers Louisville and Missouri.
*-Seven of Nebraska’s 2006 opponents were ranked in the final 2005 AVCA Coaches poll (Missouri, Louisville, Texas, Purdue, Minnesota, San Diego, Kansas State) while Long Beach State also received multiple votes in the final poll.
*-Nebraska’s 17 home matches are the most by a Husker team since 1999 and equals the Huskers’ most home matches since the Big 12 started in 1996.
*-The 2006 schedule features a pair of first-time opponents in St. Mary’s and Middle Tennessee State, while the Huskers and Cal Poly have only squared off one other time - a Cal Poly victory in 1984.
Omaha Hosts 2006 NCAA Championships
For college volleyball teams around the country, Omaha is the destination, as the University of Nebraska and Qwest Center Omaha play host to the 2006 NCAA Championship this December.
The NCAA semifinals take place on Thursday, Dec. 14, with the national championship match taking place on Saturday, Dec. 16. Husker fans have come out in full force, selling out the arena in just four hours the day tickets went on sale in January.
The Qwest Center hosted an NCAA Regional for the first time in 2005 to record-setting numbers. The two-day event drew an NCAA postseason record of 29,608 fans, including a near sellout of 15,119 for the regional final. The two crowds were the largest of the 2005 season and easily topped the previous NCAA postseason marks for single match (13,194) and all-session (23,978) both set by the University of Wisconsin in 1998.
Sept. 9 Match vs. Cal Poly Set for 6:30 p.m.
Nebraska Coach John Cook announced on Aug. 25, that the Saturday, September 9 match between the Huskers and and Cal Poly will take place at 6:30 p.m. It is the second of two matches that day for the Ameritas Players Challenge. Minnesota and Louisville will square off at 4:30 p.m.