Honors and Awards
- 2002 Big 12 Commissioner?s Honor Roll (Spring)
- 2001 Verizon/CoSIDA Second-Team Academic All-American
- 2001 AVCA-All Central Region
- 2001 First-Team Academic All-District VII
- 2001 First-Team All-Big 12
- 2001 First-Team Academic All-Big 12
- 2001 Big 12 Commissioner?s Honor Roll (Spring and Fall)
- 2000 AVCA First-Team All-American
- 2000 NCAA Tournament All-Central Region
- 2000 AVCA All-Central Region
- 2000 Verizon/CoSIDA Second-Team Academic All-American
- 2000 First-Team Academic All-District VII
- 2000 First-Team All-Big 12
- 2000 First-Team Academic All-Big 12
- 2000 Big 12 Player of the Week (9/4)
- 2000 Big 12 Commissioner?s Honor Roll (Spring and Fall)
- 2000 US Bank/Arby?s Tournament MVP
- 2000 adidas/Notre Dame Invitational MVP
- 2000 Husker Power Volleyball Lifter of the Year
- 1999 Big 12 Commissioner?s Honor Roll (Fall)
Laura Pilakowski earned first-team AVCA All-America honors in her first season as starter in 2000, and again in 2002 when she was also named the Big 12 Co-Player of the Year. One of the most dynamic and powerful outside hitters in Husker history, Pilakowski will also be remembered as one of the most efficient. The 2001 Husker Power Female Athlete of the Year, Pilakowski finished her career ranked ninth all-time with 1,183 kills and eighth with a .318 career hitting percentage – the best mark in school history by an outside hitter. She hit a career-best .339 in 2002, including a .351 mark in Big 12 mathces, which ranked sixth in the league. The Huskers’ go-to offensive player durning the 2000 national title run, Pilakowski led the Huskers with 4.30 kills per game and a .336 hitting percentage as a sophomore. She pounded 23 kills to lead NU in the 2000 national championship match. Pilakowski is just the third three-time Verizon/CoSIDA Academic All-American in school history, and she was also a three-time first-team academic All-Big 12 selection.
Nebraska Coach John Cook said that one of the keys to the Huskers? success in 2002 will be senior outside hitter Laura Pilakowski?s (pronounced pill-a-COW-skee) ability to fill a go-to role offensively. Pilakowski, whose kills-per-game average dipped to 3.40 last season, had been NU?s top offensive producer previously, averaging 4.30 kills per game en route to earning AVCA First-Team All-America honors in 2000.
Pilakowski is generally considered the best athlete on the team. She owns all of the volleyball strength and conditioning records, including 40-yard dash (5.32 seconds), 10-yard dash (1.79 seconds) and vertical jump (28 inches). She was named the Husker Power Lifter of the Year in 2000.
Pilakowski?s greatest strength, Cook said, is her passion for the game, and he labeled her ?one of the most fun Huskers to watch on the court.?
A two-time Verizon/CoSIDA Academic All-American, Pilakowski owns a 3.949 cumulative grade-point average in marketing.
2001: Junior Season
Pilakowski was a powerful offensive threat and a consistent defensive player in 2001. Offensively, she ranked second on the team with 3.40 kills per game, including 3.57 kills per game in Big 12 matches, which ranked 10th in the conference. She ranked seventh in the Big 12 with a .337 hitting percentage in league matches and was the only left side hitter ranked among the conference?s top 10 in that category. Pilakowski led Nebraska in kills in 10 matches. Pilakowski finished 2001 strong, averaging 4.50 kills per game during the final week of the regular season and posting double-figure kills in six of NU?s last seven matches.
A reliable all-around player, Pilakowski ranked third on the team with 26 service aces and 2.97 digs per game. She led NU in digs 10 times and posted 10 or more digs in 15 matches, including a season-best 18 at Texas A&M Oct. 14. Pilakowski averaged 3.18 digs per game against ranked teams and 3.32 per game in the NCAA Tournament.
Pilakowski ranked second on the team with 10 double-doubles, which she produced at Pacific Aug. 25 (13 kills, 14 digs), at UC Santa Barbara Sept. 2 (10 kills, 13 digs), at Colorado Sept. 19 (12 kills, 12 digs), at Texas A&M Oct. 14 (16 kills, 18 digs, both season highs), against Texas Oct. 17 (14 kills, 11 digs), at Kansas Nov. 10 (season-high 16 kills, 10 digs), against Baylor Nov. 17 (11 kills, 12 digs), at Kansas State Nov. 30 (14 kills, 12 digs), against Colorado State Dec. 7 (13 kills, 12 digs) and against Florida Dec. 9 (season-high 16 kills, 16 digs).
Pilakowski was a first-team All-Big 12 honoree and earned second-team Verizon/CoSIDA Academic All-America honors.
2000: Sophomore Season
After playing in just nine matches before the 2000 season, Pilakowski emerged as the Huskers? go-to offensive threat. She led the team with 4.30 kills per game and upped the average to 4.34 per game during the Big 12 season, a mark that ranked seventh in the league. Pilakowski shouldered an even bigger load during the NCAA Tournament, posting 4.63 kills per game despite missing the first round and playing sparingly in the second after undergoing an emergency appendectomy Nov. 21.
Pilakowski posted double-figure kill totals in 22 of the 32 matches in which she played. She produced eight of the top 10 kill totals by a Husker in 2000 and led Nebraska in kills in 16 matches.
Pilakowski accompanied her impressive kill numbers with a .337 hitting percentage, which ranked seventh in the league and was the best mark by a Big 12 outside hitter.
Pilakowski also emerged as one of Nebraska?s most consistent passers and defensive players in the back row. She ranked second on the team with 2.63 digs per game, an average that increased to 3.00 per game against ranked teams. Pilakowski notched double-figure digs 10 times, including a career-best 21 at Texas Oct. 22. She was fourth on the team with 24 service aces.
For the season, Pilakowski ranked second on the team with 10 double-doubles, six of which came against ranked teams. She earned Big 12 Player-of-the-Week honors after posting the first double-double of her career, a 25-kill, 15-dig effort against No. 11 Colorado State Sept. 2. Pilakowski delivered her final double-double of the season Dec. 16, when she added 15 digs to a team-best 23 kills in the national title match against Wisconsin.
Pilakowski earned AVCA First-Team All-America honors and was named a first-team All-Big 12 selection.
1999: Freshman Season
Pilakowski earned limited playing time as a freshman, playing nine games in nine matches. Despite her limited appearances, she showed promise with her explosive athletic ability. Pilakowski recorded 13 kills on the season for an average of 1.44 kills per game. She also finished the 1999 season with three digs and three blocks. Her best performance of the year came in the US Bank Tournament against South Florida, where she recorded three kills on five attacks for a season-best .600 hitting percentage. She also chipped in two block assists.
Named the preseason Big 12 Freshman of the Year, Pilakowski played in six Big 12 matches. Her best conference match came against Oklahoma in Lincoln, where she posted three kills on four attacks.
A three-sport standout at Columbus High School, Pilakowski was named the 1998 Gatorade Circle of Champions Nebraska and Central Region Volleyball Player of the Year in 1998, following an outstanding senior season. She was a three-time Lincoln Journal Star Super-Stater, including a three-time first-team Class A selection. She was named first-team All-Nebraska by the Omaha World-Herald following her senior season. Pilakowski finished her volleyball career with 1,150 kills, 356 block assists, 186 solo blocks and 476 digs. She was also a second-team super-state pick in basketball as a junior. In track, she won the Class A long jump championship as a sophomore. She graduated with a 4.0 GPA. Pilakowski?s ties to Nebraska also include cousin Gerry Gdowski, a former quarterback and graduate assistant for the Huskers in the late-1980s and early-1990s.