Husker volleyball ready for Big Ten play

From: Nebraska Athletics

• The No. 3 Nebraska volleyball team begins Big Ten play with a pair of matches in Illinois this weekend. Nebraska plays at No. 20 Illinois at 7:30 p.m. on Friday in Champaign. That match will be televised on BTN and streamed on FoxSports.com and the FoxSports app. The Huskers will make a quick turnaround and face Northwestern on Saturday at 7 p.m. in Evanston. That match will not be televised but will be streamed on the BTN+ app and BTNPlus.com (subscription necessary). 
• Both matches this weekend can also be heard on Husker Sports Network radio affiliates, including 107.3 FM in Lincoln and 105.9 FM in Omaha. A live audio stream will be provided at Huskers.com and also on the official Huskers app. John Baylor is in his 26th season doing play-by-play for the Husker volleyball program. Lauren (Cook) West, a former All-America setter for the Huskers, will provide color commentary. 

Series History
• Nebraska is 26-8-1 all-time against Illinois. Nebraska won at Illinois last year on Sept. 29, 3-1, but Illinois returned the favor in Lincoln on Oct. 27, 3-1. The teams met for a third time in the NCAA Semifinals in Minneapolis, where Nebraska rallied from down 0-2 to defeat the Ilini, 3-2, and advance to the NCAA Championship match against Stanford. The Huskers have won seven of the last eight meetings with the Illini. Illinois head coach Chris Tamas and his wife, Jen, were on the coaching staff of Nebraska’s 2015 NCAA Championship team. 
• Nebraska is 13-1 all-time against Northwestern. The Huskers have won nine straight in the series, including six sweeps in a row. 

Coaches
• John Cook: 20th year at Nebraska (568-77); 27th year overall (729-150)
• Chris Tamas: 3rd year at Illinois (60-19)
• Shane Davis: 4th year at Northwestern (49-59); 16th year overall (314-147)

About the Huskers
• Nebraska got back on the winning track last Saturday with a 3-0 sweep at home against Wichita State to improve to 8-1 on the season. 
• The Huskers suffered their first loss of the year on Sept. 18, a 3-1 defeat to second-ranked Stanford, in front of a school-record crowd of 8,632. 
• Nebraska is 7-1 all-time in Big Ten openers. The lone defeat was in 2012 at Penn State. 
• Nebraska has a .135 opponent hitting percentage this season, which ranks first in the Big Ten.
• The Huskers have held five of their nine opponents below .100 hitting this season. 
• The Huskers rank second among Big Ten teams with 15.76 digs per set. Freshman libero Kenzie Knuckles leads the team with 4.03 digs per set. 
• Lexi Sun leads the Huskers with 3.64 kills per set on .270 hitting this season. The junior from Encinitas, California was named the MVP of the Ameritas Players Challenge after a career-high 23 kills against Loyola Marymount. 
• All-America middle blocker Lauren Stivrins leads the Huskers in blocks with 1.24 per set. She is also putting up 2.24 kills per set on .310 hitting.  
• Sophomore setter Nicklin Hames is averaging 9.91 assists and 3.27 digs per set. She has five double-doubles this season. 

Scouting Illinois
• Illinois (5-4) has won three matches in a row after a four-match skid. 
• Jacqueline Quade leads all Big Ten players with 4.64 kills per set. 
• Ashlyn Fleming is averaging 1.15 blocks per set along with 2.46 kills per set on .359 hitting. 

Scouting Northwestern
• Northwestern (9-3) hosts Iowa on Friday night before facing the Big Red. The Wildcats have not faced a ranked team yet this season. 
• The Wildcats are holding their opponents to a .173 hitting percentage this season.
• Freshman Temi Thomas-Ailara leads the team with 3.98 kills per set and has 19 aces this year.