Looking Back at the Top Stories of 2016-17
With the start of Football Fall Camp just 10 days away, the first athletic event of 2017-18 only 23 days away when the soccer team hosts Colorado College at Hibner Stadium and the 2017 football season opener only 44 days away, the staff at Huskers.com thought we'd take a quick look back at some of the top stories during the 2016-17 academic year. The list was based on both on popularity from you the fans and stories that highlighted achievements by our coaches and student-athletes.
With over 25 million page views during 2016-17, it was not an easy task cutting the list to 10 stories.
The death of Sam Foltz last July took the life of a young man who had a positive influence on so many people. The impact "Foltzy" made here in Lincoln, across the state of Nebraska and nationally goes well past the football field.
In January Head Coach Mike Riley named Bob Diaco as his new defensive coordinator. The Broyles Award winner in 2012, Diaco will lead a revamped Blackshirts defense in 2017 that will run Diaco's 3-4 scheme.
Diaco is not the only new defensive member of the staff, as he will be joined by Donte Williams and Scott Porter. One member will be missing in 2017 and that is Bob Elliott, who passed away in early July following a battle with cancer. Elliott joined NU's staff in February and in his short time in Lincoln had a lasting impact on team.
After winning the 2015 national title, the Husker volleyball team's goal was to win its fifth national title in 2016. The Huskers won their 10th consecutive postseason match with a three-set sweep of Pac-12 Champion Washington to advance to the 2016 Final Four. The season came to an end five days later following a loss to Texas, who the Huskers had swept in the 2015 NCAA Final.
Head Coach John Cook's volleyball team also won its 33rd conference championship in 2016, its second Big Ten title, with a 3-1 victory over No. 18 Michigan at the Devaney Center on Nov. 26. The Huskers went 18-2 during conference play, while Cook was named coach of the year and Justin Wong-Orantes was named Defensive Player of the Year for the second straight season.
The Nebraska baseball team won its first Big Ten title following a dominant 21-3 win over Penn State on the final day of the 2017 regular season to post a 16-7-1 league record. Prior to 2017, the Huskers had finished second three times during the regular season and were runners up twice at the conference tournament since joining the conference in 2012. The team went on to qualify for its third NCAA Tournament under Head Coach Darin Erstad, who was named Big Ten Coach of the Year.
Head Coach Mark Manning has built a perennial contender on the mat and it showed again in 2017 as the wrestling team posted it third-straight top-10 finish at the NCAA Championships. TJ Dudley, Eric Montoya, Tyler Berger and Aaron Studebaker all earned All-America honors.
Freshman Abigail Knapton made a historic debut as a Husker, as the Omaha native placed fourth on the platform at the 2017 NCAA Championships. Knapton is the first freshman diver in NU history to earn All-America honors.
Longtime Lincoln Journal Star writer Brian Rosenthal left the newspaper business and joined the Huskers.com staff fulltime in September of 2016. While Brian has written many engaging stories during his first year with us, the one that was read the most was his piece on 2016 senior football player Tanner Zlab. A walk-on from Wilber, Neb., Rosenthal chronicled Zlab's long journey to Memorial Stadium.
After winning the 25th conference championship in program history with a Big Ten regular-season title in 2017, the women's gymnastics team placed seventh at the NCAA Championships. Ashley Lambert, Sienna Crouse and Danielle Breen were all named All-Americans, while Taylor Houchin was named Big Ten Freshman of the Year.
While the Nebraska bowling team fell one win short of its 11th national title in 2017, Head Coach Bill Straub was named National Tenpin Coach Association Division I Coach of the Year for the third time in his 20-year career at Nebraska.
Led by NCAA floor runner-up Austin Epperson and Big Ten vault champion Anton Stephenson, Chuck Chmelka's men's gymnastics team placed sixth at the 2017 NCAA Championships, the team's top finish since 1999 when it placed third.