Posted By: Sports
Courtesy: UNL Media Relations
The Nebraska volleyball team opens the 2016 NCAA Tournament against the New Hampshire Wildcats on Friday, Dec. 2 at 7 p.m. at the Bob Devaney Sports Center. The other first-round match in Lincoln pits the Wichita State Shockers against the TCU Horned Frogs at 4:30 p.m. Doors for Friday’s session will open at 3:30 p.m.
Friday’s winners will play in the second round match on Saturday at 7 p.m., with doors opening at 5:30 p.m. Tickets for the weekend, including standing room only, are sold out.
All Nebraska matches this weekend will be televised on NET and streamed at BTN2GO.com for those with a cable package that includes Big Ten Network. All three matches in Lincoln will be streamed for free at Huskers.com as well. Larry Punteney and Kathi Wieskamp will call the action for NET. The Husker matches will be on Husker Sports Network radio affiliates, including 107.3 FM in Lincoln and 105.9 FM in Omaha on Friday, and AM 590 in Omaha if the Huskers play on Saturday. John Baylor and Diane Mendenhall will broadcast the match, with former Husker All-American Lauren Cook reporting from the sidelines.
As one of the top four national seeds, the Huskers are in line to host a regional next weekend should they advance. This year, regional hosts will be the top seed remaining in each section of the bracket. The other national seeds in the Huskers’ section of the bracket are No. 8 Washington, No. 9 Michigan State and No. 16 Penn State. Should the Huskers qualify for an NCAA regional for the 22nd time in the last 23 years, tickets would go on sale Monday, Dec. 5 at 10 a.m.
About the Huskers
• The defending national champion Huskers (27-2) are aiming to become the first Husker team to repeat as national champions, as the three previous NCAA title teams (1995, 2000, 2006) came up short of a repeat. This year’s NCAA Championship is set for December 15-17 at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio.
• Nebraska (27-2) won the Big Ten Conference title this season for the first time since 2011. Its 18-2 Big Ten record marked its most wins in the conference since joining in 2011.
• Nebraska is the top seed in the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2006. This season marks the fifth time Nebraska has been the No. 1 overall seed since the field expanded to 64 teams in 1998. The Huskers won national titles in 2000 and 2006 as the top overall seed, were runners-up in 2005 as the No. 1 seed and reached a regional final in 2004.
• The Huskers are making their 35th straight NCAA Tournament appearance and are hosting the first and second rounds for the 13th straight year and 32nd overall. Nebraska is 98-30 (.766) all-time in the NCAA Tournament, ranking second among NCAA schools in wins and winning percentage.
• The Huskers were ranked No. 1 in 12 of 15 AVCA Coaches Polls this season but enter the NCAA Tournament ranked second.
• Nebraska head coach John Cook was named the Big Ten Coach of the Year, while Kelly Hunter, Amber Rolfzen, Kadie Rolfzen and Justine Wong-Orantes were on the All-Big Ten team. Wong-Orantes was named the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year for the second straight season. Mikaela Foecke and Briana Holman received honorable mention.
• Nebraska led the Big Ten in opponent hitting percentage (.141) during the regular season and ranked fifth in the nation.
• Nebraska averaged 14.35 kills per set this season to rank first in the Big Ten and 12th in the nation.
• The Huskers hit .289 as a team, which ranked third in the Big Ten and seventh nationally.
• Nebraska’s .886 win percentage under Cook is the best by any program since Cook took over in 2000.
• Nebraska has won 27 matches this season, marking the 16th time in his 17 years that Cook’s Huskers have reached at least 25 wins.
Scouting New Hampshire
• New Hampshire (21-10) won the America East regular-season and tournament titles for the fourth straight season to earn its fourth consecutive NCAA Tournament trip. Their last three trips have ended with first-round sweeps at Florida, Washington and USC.
• The Wildcats will make their seventh trip to the tournament in program history under 21st-year head coach Jill Hirschinger. Their other appearances were 1998, 2002 and 2003.
• The Wildcats ranked first in their conference in nearly every statistical category, including a .162 opponent hitting percentage that ranked 18th in the nation this season.
• New Hampshire is led by two-time America East Player of the Year Demi Muses (3.57 kills per set, 3.56 digs per set) and two-time America East Setter of the Year Keelin Severtson (10.93 assists per set), who was also named the most outstanding player at the America East Championship.
• That senior duo was joined on the all-conference first team by freshman Emily Tanski (2.74 kills per set, 2.93 digs per set).
Scouting Wichita State
• Wichita State (24-7), the Missouri Valley Conference champion, is making its 10th appearance in the NCAA Tournament, and for the fifth time in 13 years the Shockers will visit Lincoln to open the tournament.
• The Shockers won their conference tournament for the fourth time and are 7-9 all-time in the NCAA Tournament and 6-3 in the first round.
• Wichita State has won nine straight matches entering the tournament, its longest winning streak this season.
• The Shockers rank eighth in the nation with a .288 hitting percentage entering the tournament. They are sixth in kills per set (14.52).
• Jody Larson was the MVC Tournament MVP and was a first-team All-MVC selection. Larson leads the team with 3.12 kills per set and adds 3.41 digs per set.
• Emily Hiebert was the MVC Setter of the Year and a first-team all-conference selection with 10.68 assists per set and 2.75 digs per set.
• Abbie Lehman was also an all-MVC pick with 2.68 kills per set and 1.23 blocks per set. Her .391 hitting percentage ranked 20th nationally.
• TCU is making its second straight NCAA Tournament appearance.
• The Horned Frogs went 14-12 overall and 7-9 in the Big 12 during the regular season and earned their third NCAA selection in program history. TCU is 1-2 all-time in the tournament and lost in five sets to eventual regional finalist Hawaii last year in the first round.
• The Horned Frogs won three straight matches to end the regular season and finish sixth in the Big 12. They have the No. 2 strength of schedule in the country.
• The Horned Frogs averaged 2.35 blocks per set to rank sixth in the Big 12, with Natalie Gower leading the way with 1.26 blocks per set, which put her fourth in the Big 12. TCU’s 1.20 aces per set ranked third in the Big 12. Kaylee Smith led the team with 0.32 aces per set to rank second individually in the conference.
• The Horned Frogs feature an incredibly balanced attack with four players separated by 12 total kills on the season. Sarita Mikals sets the tone with 2.10 per set, while Anna Walsh (1.96 per set), Gower (1.94 per set) and McGuire (1.94 per set) are close behind. Gower had a .366 hitting percentage this season, third-best in the Big 12, and was a first-team All-Big 12 selection.
• Nebraska is meeting New Hampshire for the first time.
• Nebraska is 12-0 all-time against Wichita State, including a 25-19, 25-19, 25-14 sweep over the Shockers in the NCAA second round in Lincoln last year. The teams also met in the second round in Lincoln in 2004 and 2007, both Husker sweeps. In fact, all 12 Husker wins against the Shockers have come in straight sets.
• Nebraska has never played TCU.
• Nebraska head coach John Cook is in his 17th season at Nebraska and 24th overall season as a head coach. Cook is 495-64 at NU and 656-137 overall.
• New Hampshire head coach Jill Hirschinger is in her 21st season as head coach at New Hampshire and has a 347-298 overall record. She is in her 38th season as a head coach and is 756-539-10 all-time, including stints at Drake from 1979-83 and at Ferris State from 1984-95.
• Chris Lamb is in his 17th season as head coach at Wichita State and is 384-155.
• Jill Kramer is in her second season as head coach at TCU and seventh season as a head coach after five years as West Virginia’s head coach. Kramer is 33-22 leading the Horned Frogs and has a career record of 99-105.
Huskers Ranked No. 2 in AVCA Coaches Poll
• Nebraska is the No. 2 team in this week’s AVCA Coaches Poll. The Huskers have been No. 1 in 12 of the 15 polls this season.
• The Huskers began the year at No. 1 in the preseason poll for the fifth time in school history (2001, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2015) and spent the first six weeks of the season at No. 1. The 2006 squad went wire-to-wire to win the national title. This year’s Husker team is aiming to become the first in program history to repeat as champions.
• The Huskers have been ranked No. 1 in 98 all-time polls, the most in NCAA history.
• The Huskers have been ranked in the top 10 a total of 456 times, which is also the most in NCAA history.
• Nebraska has been ranked in the top 10 in the last 32 polls dating back to December of 2014.
• Nebraska has appeared in all 509 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.
Wong-Orantes Named Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year Again
• Senior libero Justine Wong-Orantes was voted the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year for the second straight season and also earned All-Big Ten team honors in her senior season.
• Wong-Orantes is averaging 4.14 digs per set this season to lead the Husker back row, which has helped the Huskers outdig their opponents in 23 of 29 matches this season.
• Wong-Orantes broke Kayla Banwarth’s Nebraska career digs record this season - she currently has 1,810 - and also set a new single-match school record with 35 digs against Minnesota on October 23, surpassing the previous record of 34 by Maria Hedbeck in 1993.
• Banwarth is the starting libero for the U.S. Women’s National Team, and Wong-Orantes is trending on that path. Wong-Orantes played with the U.S. Women’s National Team at the Pan American Cup over the summer, averaging 4.8 digs per set while helping the Americans to the bronze medal.
• Wong-Orantes was a third-team AVCA All-American as a junior in 2015, leading the Huskers to the national title with 4.55 digs per set and 555 total digs, the third-most by a Husker in school history.
Kadie Rolfzen Earns Fourth Career All-Big Ten Selection
• Senior outside hitter Kadie Rolfzen was a unanimous selection to the All-Big Ten team this season, making her the third Husker in program history to earn four first-team all-conference honors at Nebraska. The others were Sarah Pavan (2004-07) and Greichaly Cepero (1999-2002), both in the Big 12 Conference.
• Rolfzen was a first-team AVCA All-American in 2015, her third career All-America honor but first selection to the first team. She is aiming to join Pavan as the only Huskers to earn four AVCA All-America selections in their careers.
• Rolfzen leads the Huskers with 3.14 kills per set and adds 2.51 digs per set. She has 46 career double-doubles, has served a career-best 22 aces this season and is hitting .293.
• An NCAA Senior CLASS Award finalist, Rolfzen ranks seventh in school history with 1,508 career kills and is seventh in career digs with 1,204. She joins Jordan Larson as the only Huskers to rank in the top seven in career kills and digs.
• Rolfzen, who was chosen to the CoSIDA Academic All-District 7 team this year, was named Big Ten Player of the Week on October 17 after posting 21 kills and 11 digs at Ohio State and nine kills and eight digs at Maryland.
• Rolfzen is one of five Huskers all-time with 1,000 career kills and 1,000 career digs.
• Rolfzen was named the most valuable player at the Nebraska Invite, Lobo Classic and Ameritas Players Challenge this season.
• Rolfzen was not only productive on the court in 2015, she excelled off of it. The graphic design major posted a perfect 4.0 GPA in 2015-16 to earn Big Ten Distinguished Scholar honors.
Amber Rolfzen Named to All-Big Ten Team for Second Time at Middle Blocker
• Senior Amber Rolfzen switched positions to middle blocker before her junior season in 2015, and the result has been back-to-back All-Big Ten honors and 2015 AVCA second-team All-America accolades for the Papillion, Nebraska native.
• Rolfzen is averaging 1.94 kills per set and a team-high 1.43 blocks per set this season while hitting .326. Rolfzen ranked third in the Big Ten and 18th nationally in blocks per set at the end of the regular season.
• In just two seasons as a middle blocker, Rolfzen ranks sixth on NU’s career block assists chart with 483 and ranks ninth in school history in career blocks with 533. She was named Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week twice this season and five times in her career.
• Rolfzen picked up a plethora of awards the week following her standout performances vs. Wisconsin and Minnesota on October 21 and 23, respectively. Rolfzen had a career-high 16 kills in both of those matches and hit .560 with nine total blocks. She was named the Sports Imports/AVCA National Player of the Week, espnW National Player of the Week and Big Ten Player of the Week.
• Rolfzen was named to the All-America Second Team and the All-Big Ten Team after posting 1.58 blocks per set in 2015, which led the Big Ten and ranked fourth nationally. Her block average was the best by a Husker since Melissa Elmer’s school-record 2.17 in 2005.
• Rolfzen was named to the NCAA Championship All-Tournament Team after 10 kills and four blocks with a .625 hitting percentage in the championship win over Texas.
Hunter Leads Huskers, Receives First All-Conference Honor
• Despite being in her first season as the Huskers’ starting setter last year, Kelly Hunter was picked as one of the team captains. Now a junior, Hunter is the Huskers’ lone captain as selected by head coach John Cook.
• Hunter was named to the All-Big Ten team this season, becoming the first Husker setter since Lauren Cook in 2012 to make the All-Big Ten team.
• Hunter has had a standout year, posting 11.24 assists per set to rank third in the Big Ten. An all-around contributor, Hunter also chips in 23 service aces and has a team-high eight double-doubles, averaging 2.17 digs per set.
• Hunter was named Big Ten Setter of the Week four times this season, giving her six career awards. She set a career high with 61 assists at Penn State on November 4.
• The Papillion, Nebraska native guided the Huskers to the national title in 2015 and received AVCA All-America honorable mention. She was named to the NCAA Championship All-Tournament Team after posting 42 assists, four digs and three blocks in the championship match.
Foecke in Rare Company
• Mikaela Foecke was the NCAA Championship Most Outstanding Player last season, becoming just the third freshman to earn the honor, after 19 kills on .385 hitting in the championship win against Texas. The other freshmen to win the award were Deja McClendon (Penn State, 2010) and Kerri Walsh (Stanford, 1996).
• This season, Foecke is averaging 2.89 kills per set and is hitting at a .306 clip, significantly outpacing her .277 average as a freshman. Foecke ranks among the top outside hitters in the Big Ten in hitting percentage.
• Foecke, who received All-Big Ten honorable mention, played a pivotal role in big matches this season, just like she did as a freshman. Foecke posted 20 kills against No. 3 Minnesota on October 23, 19 kills at No. 11 Penn State on November 4 and 18 kills against No. 18 Michigan in the Big Ten title-clinching win.
• Foecke received AVCA All-America honorable mention and was a unanimous selection to the All-Big Ten Freshman team in 2015. Following her freshman season, Foecke was a finalist for the AAU Sullivan Award, presented annually to the top amateur athlete in the United States.
Holman Strengthens Huskers’ Middle
• Junior middle blocker Briana Holman received All-Big Ten honorable mention this year in her first season playing for the Huskers. Holman is averaging 2.41 kills per set and 1.20 blocks per set with a team-best .346 hitting percentage, which ranks eighth in the Big Ten.
• On opening weekend, Holman had an immediate impact. She was named the espnW National Player of the Week after averaging 2.57 kills and 1.43 blocks per set while hitting .571 in the wins over No. 10 Florida and No. 2 Texas. Holman had 10 kills and seven blocks against the Gators, and eight kills and three blocks against Texas with a .727 hitting percentage.
• Holman was a first-team AVCA All-American at LSU in 2014 with 3.94 kills and 1.47 blocks per set. She was a two-time All-SEC performer for the Tigers and represented the U.S. Collegiate National Team at the World University Games in South Korea in July 2015.
• Holman is a big addition to the Husker lineup this season after sitting out the 2015 season when LSU did not give her a scholarship release.
Malloy Brings Experience to Husker Roster
• Senior transfer Andie Malloy gives the Huskers more depth and experience at outside hitter. A two-time All-Big 12 performer at Baylor, Malloy earned her degree in 2015 and had one season of eligibility remaining.
• Malloy is averaging 2.59 kills per set for the Big Red. She had a season-best 19 kills at Penn State and was a member of the Lobo Classic all-tournament team in September.
• Malloy came to Nebraska after ranking second in the Big 12 in kills per set (3.89) and double-doubles (17) in 2015.
Cook Adds to Legacy
• Nebraska head coach John Cook is in his 17th season as the Nebraska volleyball head coach in 2016. He has led the Huskers to three national championships, six final fours, 11 conference championships and 14 top-10 final rankings since 2000. Cook has 656 career wins and is the fifth-winningest coach 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 (495-64).
• Under Cook, the Huskers have achieved 45 All-Americans and 18 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 six-time conference coach of the year, including Big Ten Coach of the Year in 2016, his first Big Ten honor with the Huskers in their Big Ten era (2011-present).
• 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.
Tamas’ Bring Instant Impact
• Chris Tamas is in his second season as a Husker assistant coach, while his wife, Jennifer (Joines) Tamas, is a volunteer assistant. The two came to NU in May from Cal Poly, where they spent two seasons in the same roles. Both Chris and Jen are former U.S. National Team captains. Chris was a first-team AVCA All-American in 2003 at Pacific, while Jen was the Big West Conference Player of the Year in 2003 at Pacific.
• Chris Tamas’ impact on the program was felt immediately, as the Huskers won the 2015 NCAA Championship in his first season on the bench. With Tamas guiding the Huskers’ block and defense, Amber Rolfzen was an AVCA second-team All-American and an All-Big Ten middle blocker. The Huskers posted the top opponent hitting percentage in the Big Ten (.167) and were second in blocks per set (2.94). Rolfzen’s 1.58 blocks per set ranked fourth in the nation and was the highest block total by a Husker since 2005.
Husker Fans Set Attendance Standard Once Again
• Nebraska fans are poised to lead the nation in attendance for a fourth straight season as their 8,224 average per match is outpacing the rest of the nation.
• For the third straight season, the Huskers led the nation in attendance in 2015, this time with a new NCAA attendance record of 8,206. NU’s average was 1,301 more than runner-up Hawaii.
• 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 (26 straight seasons).
• The Huskers have sold out every regular-season match since 2001, a streak of 218 consecutive matches, the longest sellout streak in the history of NCAA women’s athletics.
• The Devaney Center has hosted the three largest regular-season crowds in NCAA history and seven of the 10 largest.