Huskers Finish Non-Conference Slate with Ameritas Players Challenge

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Posted By: Sports

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Courtesy: UNL Media Relations

The Nebraska volleyball team finishes non-conference action at home this weekend with three matches at the Ameritas Players Challenge at the Bob Devaney Sports Center. On Friday, Nebraska will play Montana State (Noon) and Gonzaga (7:30 p.m.). The Huskers will close their nine-match non-conference slate against Creighton on Saturday at 8 p.m. Other matches on the docket include: Creighton vs. Gonzaga (Friday, 10 a.m.), Montana State vs. Creighton (Friday, 5 p.m.) and Gonzaga vs. Montana State (Saturday, Noon).

Tickets for all the matches at the tournament are sold out, but a few standing-room only tickets remain for the Friday morning session. With the Huskers’ match against Montana State at Noon on Friday, Nebraska Athletics is offering free online ticket transfers for fans who can’t make the match. Tickets can be transferred to a friend or family member simply by logging onto the account at Huskers.com/tickets, selecting “transfer” and choosing the Montana State match. For more information, fans can call the ticket office at 402-472-3111.

The Huskers will return to the TV screen this weekend. Friday’s 7:30 p.m. match against Gonzaga and Saturday’s 8 p.m. match against Creighton will be televised on NET and will have live streams at BTN2GO.com. The Nebraska-Montana State match will have a stream available for purchase through BTN Plus.

All of the action this weekend can be heard on the Husker Sports Network with John Baylor on the call and Diane Mendenhall providing color commentary. All three broadcasts will air on 107.3 FM in Lincoln. Friday’s Noon match against Montana State will air on AM 590 in Omaha, while the matches against Gonzaga and Creighton will air on 105.9 FM.

Series History

• Nebraska is meeting Montana State for the first time.

• Nebraska is 1-0 against Gonzaga with the only match coming on Sept. 15, 1995, a Husker sweep.

• The Huskers lead the Creighton series, 16-0, and swept the Bluejays in Omaha last season, 25-17, 25-19, 25-22. In that match, Mikaela Foecke had 13 kills and hit .522.

About the Huskers

• The Huskers are 6-0 on the season and have been the unanimous No. 1 team in the AVCA Coaches Poll for the last three weeks.

• Nebraska has won 22 straight matches, its longest win streak since the end of 2006 and beginning of 2007 (29). Since John Cook took over in 2000, the Huskers have won at least 20 straight matches nine times. The longest win streak in Nebraska history is 36, spanning 2000 (Cook’s unbeaten national title team) and beginning of 2001. The Huskers also had a 36-match win streak to begin the 1976 season.

• Since dropping the opening set of the season to Florida, the Huskers have won 18 straight sets entering the weekend. NU won 18 sets in a row in 2012 and won 30 sets in a row in 2010.

• The Huskers have picked up where they left off in 2016, outhitting their opponents .338 to .133 this season. Serving, passing and defense triggered the Huskers’ run to the national title last season, and NU has excelled in those areas so far in 2016 with a 31-to-7 advantage in aces and a 51-to-26 edge in blocks.

• The Huskers’ .338 hitting percentage is second in the nation and leads the Big Ten.

• Nebraska ranks third nationally in kills per set (15.11) and leads the Big Ten.

• The Huskers also rank first in the Big Ten and seventh nationally in assists per set (13.68).

• Nebraska’s opponent hitting percentage (.133) ranks 18th in the nation.

• Kadie Rolfzen is 21st in the nation and second in the Big Ten with 0.53 aces per set.

• The Huskers have won nine straight matches against ranked opponents.

• Nebraska’s .884 win percentage under head coach John Cook is the best by any program since Cook took over in the 2000 season.

Huskers Top AVCA Coaches Poll

• The Huskers remained at the top of the AVCA Coaches Poll that came out on Monday, for the third straight week as a unanimous No. 1. The Huskers collected all 64 first-place votes and have been at the top of the poll since winning the national title in 2015, five straight polls dating back to last 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). 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.

• NU’s No. 1 ranking marks the 90th poll all-time in which they’ve earned the top spot, the most in NCAA history.

• The Huskers have been ranked in the top 10 a total of 445 times, which is the most in NCAA history.

• Nebraska has appeared in all 498 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.

Scouting Montana State

• Montana State enters the weekend with a 2-4 record after going 3-21 last year in head coach JJ Riley’s first season. The Bobcats are paced by Natalie Passeck’s 2.96 kills and 2.70 digs per set. Libero Allyssa Rizzo averages 4.83 digs per set. Montana State plays two setters, and Katie Rutecki is the leader in assists (5.30 per set).

Scouting Gonzaga

• Gonzaga is 6-1 under first-year coach Diane Nelson. The Bulldogs’ only loss came to Nevada (3-2) on Sept. 9. The Bulldogs returned five starters from last season, including outside hitter McKayla Ferris, who averages 4.27 kills per set and had 21 kills last week against Southern Utah.

Scouting Creighton

• Creighton returned four starters from its NCAA regional semifinal team and is 4-5 after falling at Kansas State Tuesday. The Bluejays have taken No. 4 Kansas and No. 21 USC to five sets. Jaali Winters, the reigning BIG EAST Freshman of the Year, leads the team with 3.14 kills per set and adds 3.23 digs per set. Taryn Kloth also provides 3.14 kills per set. Setter Lydia Dimke, a transfer from Purdue, averages 10.83 assists per set.

Up Next

• Nebraska begins Big Ten play at No. 23 Michigan next Friday and at No. 22 Michigan State next Saturday.

Three-Time All-American Kadie Rolfzen Leads the Attack

• Senior outside hitter Kadie Rolfzen was named a first-team AVCA All-American in 2015, her third career All-America honor but first selection to the first team. Rolfzen was also a unanimous All-Big Ten selection, her third straight season on the team.

• Rolfzen leads the Huskers with 3.26 kills per set and adds 2.63 digs per set. Her double-double (11 kills, 11 digs) against Texas was the 42nd of her career.

• Rolfzen ranks 11th in school history with 1,256 career kills and with 13 more will crack the top 10 all-time. In the last match against New Mexico, she became the fifth Husker all-time to reach 1,000 career kills and 1,000 career digs.

• Rolfzen was named the most valuable player at both the Nebraska Invite and Lobo Classic 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 Set to Build On Second-Team All-America Honors

• Senior Amber Rolfzen made a position switch from outside hitter to middle blocker before the 2015 season, and the switch resulted in second-team AVCA All-America honors and the Big Ten blocks title for the Papillion, Neb., native.

• Rolfzen is averaging 2.37 kills per set and 1.11 blocks per set and is hitting .374.

• 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.

• Rolfzen accumulated three Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week honors in 2015.

Wong-Orantes Back For More After Breakout Season

• Senior libero Justine Wong-Orantes burst onto the national scene in 2015 with third-team AVCA All-America honors and the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year award.

• Wong-Orantes is averaging 3.84 digs per set this season.

• Wong-Orantes ranks third in school history with 1,481 career digs and is chasing Kayla Banwarth’s career record of 1,706. 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.

• The Cypress, Calif., native averaged 4.55 digs per set with a total of 555 digs in 2015, the third most by a Husker in school history.

Experienced Hunter Leads Huskers as Captain Again

• 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 is averaging 11.32 assists, 2.26 digs, 1.42 kills and 1.00 blocks per set.

• Hunter was named the Big Ten Setter of the Week for the third time in her career after 12.43 assists per set on opening weekend, as well as 1.43 kills per set and 2.00 digs per set. She was named to both the Nebraska Invite and Lobo Classic All-Tournament Teams.

• The Papillion, Neb., 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.

• Hunter averaged 11.64 assists per set last season and totaled 1,501, the third most in the nation. She had 10 double-doubles and was the Big Ten Setter of the Week twice.

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.

• This season, Foecke is averaging 2.79 kills per set and hitting .344.

• 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 Makes Long-Awaited Return

• Junior middle blocker Briana Holman made her first official appearance in a collegiate match since December 2014 when she took the court with the Huskers at the season-opening VERT Challenge. Holman transferred from LSU to Nebraska but did not receive her scholarship release, so she was forced to sit out the 2015 season.

• 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 Florida and 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 is averaging 2.11 kills and 1.32 blocks per set to lead the team in that category. She is hitting .354.

• 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.

Malloy Brings More 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 3.06 kills per set and 1.00 digs per set for the Big Red and has started every match. She had a season-best 14 kills at New Mexico and was on the Lobo Classic All-Tournament Team.

• Malloy came to Nebraska after ranking second in the Big 12 in kills per set (3.89) and double-doubles (17) in 2015.

Huskers On Television

• The Nebraska volleyball team is set to receive extensive television coverage in 2016. The Huskers will make at least 14 regular-season TV appearances, including an ESPN2 showdown with Purdue on Sunday, Oct. 9 at the Devaney Center.

• The Huskers will have eight broadcasts on Big Ten Network and at least five more on NET. In all, eight of the Huskers’ 10 Big Ten home matches are set to be televised, while the remaining two (Iowa on Nov. 9 and Michigan on Nov. 26) are to be determined.

• Any match on BTN or NET will also be streamed online at BTN2GO.com. For non-televised Big Ten matches, an online stream is available for purchase through BTN Plus at BTN2GO.com.