Nebraska Volleyball: Huskers earn preseason No. 1 ranking

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Posted By: Sports

Courtesy: UNL Media Relations

Huskers Earn Preseason No. 1 Ranking

The defending national champion Nebraska volleyball team will begin the 2016 season at No. 1 in the AVCA Coaches Poll, which was released on Wednesday.

Nebraska received 60-of-64 first-place votes in the poll and totaled 1,594 points. Texas (1,517 points) was second and received three first-place votes. Minnesota, Wisconsin and Kansas rounded out the top five. The Huskers will play the Longhorns in a rematch of last year’s title match on opening weekend at the VERT Challenge in Eugene, Ore. NU will also face preseason No. 10 Florida in that tournament. Stanford, ranked 11th, received the other first-place vote.

The Huskers have been ranked No. 1 in the preseason poll four other times (2001, 2005, 2006 and 2007). 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. Nebraska is also after its first Big Ten conference championship since 2011. That will be no easy feat, however, as seven Big Ten teams are ranked in the preseason poll. Nebraska has 13 matches scheduled against preseason top-25 teams.

The 2016 Huskers return a plethora of talent and now have the experience to go with it. NU returns first-team All-American Kadie Rolfzen at outside hitter, second-team All-American Amber Rolfzen at middle blocker, and third-team All-American and reigning Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year Justine Wong-Orantes at libero.

In addition, the Huskers welcome middle blocker Briana Holman to the mix. Holman was a first-team All-American at LSU in 2014 before sitting out last season at NU as a transfer. Sophomore Mikaela Foecke was the third player ever to be named the NCAA Championship Most Outstanding Player as a freshman, and junior Kelly Hunter is set for her second season as the Huskers’ starting setter and captain after receiving All-America honorable mention last year. In all, the Huskers have six players who have achieved All-America or honorable-mention status.

The Rolfzen twins and Wong-Orantes make up the core of the senior class that has been together since 2013. But Nebraska added one more talent to the class this offseason in Baylor graduate transfer Andie Malloy, who was a two-time All-Big 12 outside hitter for the Bears.

Nebraska will hold its annual Red/White Scrimmage on Saturday, Aug. 20 at 6 p.m. at the Bob Devaney Sports Center. Tickets remain for sale and can be purchased at