No. 1 Huskers Host ISU; Texas Tech

By NU Athletic Communications
Dani Busboom and the No. 1 ranked Huskers host Iowa State on Wednesday.
Dani Busboom and the No. 1 ranked Huskers host Iowa State on Wednesday.
Photo by Scott Bruhn/Nebraska Communications

Lincoln -- The Nebraska volleyball team puts its undefeated record on the line with three matches this week. The Huskers, who are ranked No. 1 in the CSTV/AVCA Coaches poll, begin the week by hosting Iowa State at the NU Coliseum on Wednesday, Sept. 20, at 7 p.m.

The match will be carried by the Husker Sports Network, including B107.3FM and also available on Huskers.com. In addition, HuskersNside subscribers can also watch Wednesday’s match with a video stream. Nebraska has a pair of weekend matches, taking on Texas Tech on Saturday afternoon before venturing to Qwest Center Omaha for a matchup with Missouri Valley Conference leader Creighton on Sunday.

The Huskers, 9-0 on the season and 2-0 in Big 12 play, went on the road for the first time last Saturday and posted a 3-0 sweep of Oklahoma, snapping the Sooners’ seven-match win streak in the process. In that match, Jordan Larson had a double-double with 17 kills and 11 digs, while Dani Busboom established a career high with 21 digs to help hold Oklahoma well under its season hitting average.

No. 1 Nebraska (9-0, 2-0 Big 12) vs. Iowa State (9-2, 1-0)

 Wednesday, Sept. 20
NU Coliseum 7 p.m.

Radio:  Husker Sports Network
(B107.3 FM in Lincoln and Omaha)
Live Stats:
Huskers.com
Free Audio:
Huskers.com  
Live Video Feed:  
HuskersNside (subscription required)
No. 1 Nebraska (9-0, 2-0 Big 12) vs. Texas Tech (7-4, 0-2)
Saturday, Sept. 23
NU Coliseum 2 p.m.
Radio: Husker Sports Network
(B107.3 FM in Lincoln and Omaha)
Live Stats:
Huskers.com
Free Audio:
Huskers.com  
Live Video Feed:  
Huskers.com (free video)
Television:  Live on NET (Ch. 12) and NET-HD (Ch. 112); Tape Delayed on CSTV (9/24, 7 p.m.)

The Cyclones, who are coached by former Husker All-American Christy Johnson, opened Big 12 play on the right foot on Saturday, sweeping Baylor in Ames to snap the Bears’ 10-match win streak. Iowa State (9-2, 1-0 Big 12) has won its last four matches since a 3-2 loss to No. 20 San Diego on Sept. 2. Iowa State not only leads the Big 12 in blocks at 3.70 per game, but also features two of the top individuals in the league in Erin Boeve (1.77/gm) and Jessica Klein (1.58/gm).

Did You Know?
-Libero Dani Busboom is averaging 6.00 digs per game over NU’s last four matches, and leads the Big 12 with 5.43 digs per game.

-If Nebraska can sweep ISU on Wednesday, it will mark the first time since 1998 and only the fourth time in school history that NU dropped one or fewer games in its first 10 matches. The other times were in 1994 and in 1976, a season where NU swept its first 15 opponents.

-With 5.29 kills per game, Sarah Pavan is on pace to break the school record for most kills per game, currently held by U.S. Olympian Nancy Metcalf (Meendering) in 1999.

-Over 9,300 tickets for Sunday’s match at Creighton have been pre-sold, making it the largest attended regular-season match in college volleyball this season.

Worth Noting
-Nebraska is 68-0 all-time against Iowa State, including wins in the last 23 matches by sweep, dating back to 1994, when current ISU head coach Christy Johnson started for Nebraska. In fact, Iowa State has won only 12 games in the entire series.
-Wednesday’s matchup features the top two blocking teams in the Big 12 with Iowa State (3.70 blocks/gm) pacing the league while NU ranks second 3.30 blocks/gm).
-Wednesday’s match will be the 80th consecutive sellout at the NU Coliseum. The Huskers are 73-6 at the NU Coliseum during the current sellout streak.
-Nebraska has won its last 42 home matches, dating back to the 2004 season, including its last 36 at the NU Coliseum.
-Nebraska has four players leading the Big 12 in offensive categories: Sarah Pavan (kills per game and points per game), Rachel Holloway (assists per game), Jordan Larson (service aces per game) and Dani Busboom (digs per game). In addition, Tracy Stalls is second in the Big 12 in hitting percentage.
-The 2006 season has seen a changing of the guard at the setter position. In fact, five of the league’s 11 schools start freshmen at the position, including NU’s Rachel Holloway and Iowa State’s Kaylee Manns. The pair rank first and second among newcomers in assists, while Holloway’s 13.89 assists per games leads all Big 12 setters.
The trend also continues nationally where three of the top 10 teams in this week’s AVCA poll are led by freshman setters; No. 1 Nebraska, No. 2 Penn State (Alisha Glass) and No. 10 USC (Taylor Carico).
-With the No. 1 ranking in Monday’s AVCA poll, the Huskers have spent 59 weeks all-time at No. 1, the most weeks at No. 1 of any Division I program. UCLA is second with 51 weeks. In fact, NU has been ranked No. 1 in 19 of the last 20 polls dating back to the start of the 2005 season.
-With Nebraska (1st) and Texas (5th) in the top five of Monday’s AVCA poll, the Big 12 has two teams in the top five nationally for the first time since the 1996 season.
-Rachel Holloway not only became the fifth freshman to start her collegiate debut at NU, but was the first Husker freshman to start at setter in a 5-1 offense in the NCAA era (1983-present). NU had two other freshmen split time in the 6-2 offense (Lindsay Wischmeier-1999; Dani Busboom-2003), but neither started their first match at NU.

Scouting Iowa State
Under former Husker All-American Christy Johnson, Iowa State comes to Lincoln with a 9-2 record and a four-match winning streak after sweeping Baylor on Saturday. Johnson, NU’s starting setter on the 1995 NCAA title team, is in her second season at the helm of the ISU program after serving as an assistant at Wisconsin since 1997. With the Badgers, Johnson worked with current Husker Head Coach John Cook in 1997 and 1998, leading UW to a Big Ten title in 1997 and an NCAA Regional Final appearance in 1998, before losing to NU in an epic five-game match at the NU Coliseum.

The Cyclones, whose only losses are to undefeated Michigan and No. 20 San Diego, feature one of the Big 12’s top middle blockers in Erin Boeve, who averages 3.10 kills and a league-best 1.77 blocks per game. Boeve is one of four Cyclones averaging at least 2.75 kills per game. Katie Jessen leads ISU with 3.84 kills per game, while Lauren Cummings is at 2.95 kills per game while hitting .409.

The Huskers have owned the all-time series with the Cyclones, winning all 68 matches dating back to 1975. NU has won the last 23 meetings dating back to 1994. The only time the teams have gone five games came during the 1989 season.

Husker Probable Starters
MB - #17 Amanda Gates: 6-2, So., Columbus, Neb. - Gates is in her first season as one of Nebraska’s starting middle blockers and averages 1.48 blocks and 1.22 kills per game. She is seventh in the Big 12 in blocks and has totaled at least three blocks five times, while splitting time with Kori Cooper. Gates had a career-high 10 blocks in NU’s opener against No. 20 San Diego on Aug. 29 and put together one of her best matches of the season against KU Sept. 13 with seven blocks and six kills against the Jayhawks.She appeared in nine matches as a freshman, averaging 0.94 kills and 0.81 blocks per game. She was a Volleyball Magazine Fab 50 selection out of Columbus High School.

MB - #11 Tracy Stalls: 6-3, Jr., Denver, Colo. - The veteran among NU’s middle blockers, Stalls is one of three tri-captains this season. She has been dominant in the middle for NU, averaging 2.75 kills and 1.32 blocks per game. Stalls is second in the Big 12 and fifth nationally in hitting percentage (.453) in the latest NCAA rankings.  Stalls has hit .500 or better five times in nine matches. She has matched her career high in kills twice, including against Minnesota on Sept. 10, where she totaled 14 kills. Stalls also had 14 kills on .600 hitting against Long Beach State on Sept. 3. Last season, Stalls ranked third in the Big 12 with 1.59 blocks per game (14th nationally). She led NU in blocks nine times, including a career high with 12 blocks, including five solo stuffs, against Kansas State. 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 first-team AVCA All-American, Pavan is on pace for one of the most distinguished careers in NU history. Pavan leads the Big 12 in both kills (5.29) and points per game (6.18), while ranking ninth in hitting percentage (.343). Pavan has been named MVP of both of NU’s tournaments and was chosen as the Big 12 Player of the Week on Sept. 11, after averaging 6.70 points, 5.90 kills (.409 hitting percentage) and 2.30 digs in three matches. Pavan had her first double-double of the year on Sept. 10 against Minnesota, where she had 23 kills and 11 digs against the Gophers.  She had one of the best matches of her career against Long Beach State on Sept. 9, totaling 24 kills on .400 hitting against the 49ers, including eight kills on eight swings in the opener.  Pavan was the MVP of the Nebraska Invitational, hitting .457 and averaging 5.67 kills and 1.56 blocks per game. Pavan was the 2005 Big 12 Player of the Year in 2005, averaging 3.82 kills, 1.66 digs and 1.25 blocks per game. 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. - Larson is a 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 averages 4.29 kills and 3.71 digs per game, ranking sixth in the Big 12 in kills and ninth in digs while leading the conference with 0.82 service aces per game. Larson, who has been selected to the all-tournament team in both of NU’s tournaments this season, has a team-best five double-doubles, including a match-high 17 kills and 11 digs at Oklahoma on Sept. 16. She also had 17 kills and 11 digs in a win over Minnesota on Sept. 10.  Against No. 20 Louisville, she set a career high with five aces while adding 14 kills on .440 hitting against the Cardinals. Last season, 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.  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, while establishing an all-class record with 179 service aces in 2004. Larson also spent two years on the U.S. Junior National Team.

DS - #5 Rachel Schwartz: 5-9, So., Lincoln, Neb. - Schwartz is a former walk-on who is used as a defensive specialist in the NU lineup and averages 1.61 digs per game. She has tied or set career highs in digs three times this season, including 11 digs against Minnesota on Sept. 10. Schwartz appeared in 30 matches as a freshman as NU’s defensive specialist, finishing with 18 digs and five aces. She was a first-team all-state selection at outside hitter at Lincoln East High School in 2004.

-or- OH - #7 Dani Mancuso: 6-2, Jr., Omaha, Neb. - Mancuso moved into the outside hitter position vacated after Christina Houghtelling’s season-ending injury. She averages 2.64 kills, 0.75 blocks and 0.57 digs per game, primarily playing the front row. Mancuso has reached double figures in kills twice, including 11 in a sweep of Saint Mary’s on Sept. 1. She totaled nine kills in NU’s win at Oklahoma on Sept. 16. In 2005, Mancuso was NU’s backup at all three outside hitter spots, averaging 1.38 kills, 1.15 digs and 0.68 blocks per game. 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 is the first Husker freshman to start in a 5-1 system in the NCAA era (1983-present) after earning the starting nod over Maggie Griffin in fall camp. She enters Wednesday’s match averaging 13.89 assists, 3.00 digs and 1.12 kills per game, leading the Big 12 in assists and ranking second nationally in that category. She has four double-doubles, including a 44-assist, 11-dig effort versus Cal Poly on Sept. 9, and set a career high with 14 digs against KU on Sept. 13  Holloway played one of her best matches of the year against Minnesota on Sept. 10, with a career-high 57 assists, eight digs and seven kills, while helping NU hit .337 against the Golden Gophers. 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 sharing time at setter in each of her first three years at Nebraska. She  leads the Big 12 with 5.43 digs per game and has totaled at least 14 digs in eight of nine contests. She has had 20-or-more digs in three matches, including a career-high 21 at Oklahoma on Sept. 16. Busboom averaged 5.20 digs and 0.60 services aces per game in the Ameritas Players Challenge, matching her then-career high with 20 digs against No. 25 Cal Poly on Sept. 9. Against No. 20 Louisville, Busboom had 14 digs and three aces while helping to hold Louisville to .044 hitting. Busboom enjoyed a strong debut at libero, totaling a match-high 20 digs against No. 20 San Diego on Aug. 29, while helping to hold the Toreros to .016 hitting. Last season, 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 2,856 and could become only the second player in school history on top-10 lists in both assists and digs. Busboom was selected as a tri-captain by her teammates and is one of seven Nebraska natives on the 2006 roster.

Last Time Out: No. 1 Nebraska 3, Oklahoma 0
Jordan Larson’s fifth double-double of the season  lifted top-ranked Nebraska to a 3-0 sweep of Oklahoma (30-27, 30-18, 34-32) Saturday evening at McCasland Field House.

Larson paced the Huskers with 17 kills and 11 digs and three aces as Nebraska (9-0, 2-0 Big 12) went on the road for the first time in 2006. The Huskers held Oklahoma to .174 hitting more than 100 points below its season average while snapping the Sooners’ seven-match win streak.

Dani Busboom established a career-high with 21 digs, her third 20-plus dig match of the season, as the Huskers out-dug OU (9-3, 1-1 Big 12), 51-43. Sarah Pavan also finished with 14 kills, while Dani Mancuso added nine kills for the Huskers.

The Undefeated: 10 Remain Perfect
A total of 10 teams remain perfect heading into this week’s action: Nebraska, Penn State, UCLA, USC, California, Ohio State, Michigan, Oregon, Delaware and New Mexico State.

The ranks will thin by at least two this week, as Ohio State and Penn State square off on Wednesday, while Oregon takes on both USC and UCLA this weekend to open Pac-10 Conference play.

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