Huskers Open Home Slate with Nebraska Invitational

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Posted By: Sports

Courtesy: UNL Media Relations

The defending national champion Nebraska volleyball team will open the home portion of its 2016 schedule with the Nebraska Invitational this weekend. The Huskers will face Iowa State on Friday at 6 p.m. and Oregon State on Saturday at 2:30 p.m. Syracuse is also in the tournament.

Nebraska’s Friday match against Iowa State will be streamed live at with a BTN Plus subscription. Saturday’s match against Oregon State will be streamed at with a HuskersNSide subscription. The Husker IMG Sports Network will carry all the action as well on HSN affiliates and on the online audio stream. Matches not featuring Nebraska will not be streamed.

The Huskers began their season last weekend at the VERT Challenge in Eugene, Ore. Nebraska defeated then-No. 10 Florida, 3-1, and then-No. 2 Texas, 3-0, to complete a successful opening weekend. With their decisive victories, Nebraska was voted a unanimous No. 1 in the AVCA Coaches Poll on Monday. Kelly Hunter was named Big Ten Co-Setter of the Week, and middle blocker Briana Holman was named the espnW National Player of the Week.

AVCA first-team All-American Kadie Rolfzen posted 3.86 kills per set to go with 2.57 digs per set, and Mikaela Foecke (3.14 kills per set) and Andie Malloy (3.00 kills per set) were also effective in the attack. Holman, in her first collegiate action since 2014, notched 2.57 kills per set and a team-high 1.43 blocks per set to earn national recognition from espnW. Hunter, the Huskers’ captain, did a little bit of everything with 12.43 assists per set, 2.00 digs per set, 1.43 kills per set and 0.86 blocks per set.

The Huskers’ passing was in fine form as Justine Wong-Orantes, the reigning Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year, had 4.71 digs per set while moving to No. 3 on NU’s career digs chart (1,441). Kenzie Maloney chipped in 2.57 digs per set.

Series History

• Nebraska is 81-2 all-time against Iowa State, including a 3-1 win in Ames last Sept. 19. The Huskers have won three straight against the Cyclones. Iowa State’s last win came Sept. 15, 2012 (3-1).

• The Huskers are 3-0 all-time against Oregon State. The last meeting was in 1998, when Nebraska swept the Beavers at a tournament in Columbus, Ohio.

About the Huskers

• The Huskers picked up where they left off in 2015, as NU outhit its opponents .349 to .210 on opening weekend. The Huskers also served 12 aces and were aced just one time.

• Nebraska ranks third nationally in kills per set (16.43), while Kelly Hunter is seventh nationally in assists per set (12.43).

• Briana Holman’s .571 hitting percentage ranks sixth in the nation and first in the Big Ten.

• The Huskers’ .380 hitting percentage is sixth in the nation and second in the Big Ten.

• Nebraska carries an 18-match win streak into the weekend dating back to last season. It’s the Huskers’ longest win streak since 2010 (also 18). Nebraska’s other most recent win streaks are 20 matches in 2008 and 29 spanning the end of 2006 and beginning of 2007.

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

• Nebraska’s .883 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, this time 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, three 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 88th poll all-time in which they’ve earned the top spot, tied with Penn State for most in the nation.

• The Huskers have been ranked in the top 10 443 times, which is tied with Stanford for the most ever.

• Nebraska has appeared in all 496 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 Iowa State

• Iowa State split a pair of matches at the Iowa State Challenge last weekend and is 1-1 entering a Sept. 1 match at Omaha. The Cyclones started with a 3-0 sweep of Wichita State but fell to Creighton (3-1) two days later. Jess Schaben leads all Cyclones with 4.00 kills per set. Ciara Capezio adds 2.86 kills per set and 3.14 digs per set. Libero Branen Berta posted 6.14 digs per set last weekend, and setter Suzanne Horner had 11.29 assists per set. The Cyclones went 19-11 last season and reached the NCAA Tournament second round. Six starters returned from that squad.

Scouting Oregon State

• The Beavers went 2-1 on opening weekend, beating Utah State (3-2) and Seattle (3-0) but falling to Portland (3-2) in the Ultra Ankle Challenge in Corvallis, Ore. Junior outside hitter Mary-Kate Marshall leads the team with 4.73 kills per set and enters the weekend with 999 career kills. She hit .421 on opening weekend. Lanesha Reagan had 4.38 kills per set for the Beavers. Kory Cheshire and Serena Bruin have tallied 13 blocks apiece through three matches, and the Beavers posted 2.31 blocks per set as a team last weekend. The Beavers were 6-24 last season and returned three starters and their libero.

Up Next

• The Huskers are back on the road next week for the Lobo Classic in Albuquerque, N.M. Nebraska will play Montreal in an exhibition match on Sept. 8 at 6 p.m. (CT). The Huskers will then face Arkansas on Sept. 9 (6 p.m. CT) and New Mexico on Sept. 10 (8:30 p.m. CT).

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 3.86 kills per set and adds 2.57 digs per set. Her double-double (11 kills, 11 digs) against Texas was the 42nd of her career.

• Rolfzen ranks 13th in school history with 1,221 career kills. She has 971 career digs and is closing in on becoming the fifth Husker all-time with 1,000 career kills and 1,000 career digs.

• Rolfzen was the most valuable player at the Lexington (Ky.) Regional last season, as she recorded 20 kills and 15 digs in the regional final win over No. 1 Washington.

• Rolfzen was not only productive on the court, 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.

• After two matches, Rolfzen is averaging 2.43 kills per set and 0.71 blocks per set. She is hitting .394.

• 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 4.71 digs per set this season, which ranks fourth in the Big Ten.

• Wong-Orantes ranks third in school history with 1,441 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 to Lead 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 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.

• 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 3.14 kills per set and hitting .404.

• 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 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 3.00 kills per set and 1.43 digs per set for the Big Red. She started both matches on opening weekend.

• 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 For non-televised Big Ten matches, an online stream is available for purchase through BTN Plus at

Huskers Tabbed Big Ten Favorites

• The 14 Big Ten head coaches selected Nebraska as the unanimous favorite in the Big Ten Conference Preseason Poll. The Huskers finished second in the Big Ten in 2015 with a 17-3 record and are trying to win the conference crown for the first time since 2011. That will be no easy feat, however, as seven Big Ten teams are ranked in the AVCA Coaches Poll. Nebraska has 13 matches scheduled against preseason top-25 teams.

• Seniors Amber Rolfzen, Kadie Rolfzen and Justine Wong-Orantes were picked to the All-Big Ten Preseason Team. The Rolfzen twins were All-Big Ten selections last year, while Wong-Orantes earned honorable mention but was selected as the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year. Kadie Rolfzen was one of four unanimous selections to the preseason team.

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, 10 conference championships and 14 top-10 final rankings since 2000. Cook has 631 career wins and is the sixth-winningest coach in NCAA history.

• Since taking over the program in 2000, Cook has led the Huskers to a nation-leading .883 win percentage in that time (470-62).

• 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 four-time Big 12 Coach of the Year.

• 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.

Busboom Kelly Celebrates Second National Title – One as Coach, One as Player

• Regarded as one of the best recruiters in the nation, assistant coach Dani Busboom Kelly has helped Nebraska’s resurgence to the forefront of college volleyball over the last four seasons, as the Huskers captured the 2015 NCAA National Championship at the CenturyLink Center in Omaha, the same place Busboom Kelly won the national title as a player for the Huskers in 2006.

• Busboom Kelly coached two AVCA All-Americans and two honorable-mention selections in 2015. Kadie Rolfzen was a first-team AVCA All-American, while Justine Wong-Orantes was a third-team selection for the first time, as well as the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year after a sparkling season at libero. Setter Kelly Hunter and outside hitter Mikaela Foecke earned All-American honorable mention, and Foecke was the NCAA National Championship most outstanding player, just the third freshman in NCAA Division I Volleyball history to earn the honor.

• In her four seasons at Nebraska, Busboom Kelly has helped the Huskers to a 107-28 record and four NCAA regional final appearances. In 2015, Nebraska setter Kelly Hunter was third in the nation in assists (1,501), while Justine Wong-Orantes was second in the Big Ten in digs per set (4.57) and moved to No. 4 in school history in career digs.

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

• 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 204 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.

Former Huskers Shine at Olympics

• The U.S. Women’s Volleyball team had a distinct “Nebraska” feel at the Olympics this summer. Libero Kayla Banwarth and outside hitters Jordan Larson and Kelsey Robinson all started or played big minutes for Team USA, as they earned the bronze medal. The Huskers’ three representatives on the Olympic team were more than any other school. Additionally, former Husker National Player of the Year Sarah Pavan earned a fifth-place finish in beach volleyball for Canada.