NU Vball: Huskers Set to Meet Iowa Again
Posted By: Sports
After sweeping Iowa on Wednesday, the No. 8 Nebraska volleyball team will take to the road this weekend to face Iowa again, as the teams square off at 7 p.m. on Saturday at Carver-Hawkeye Arena. The home-and-home weeks are new to the Big Ten schedule, and every team will go through it once this season.
The Huskers are 7-3 overall and 1-0 in the Big Ten. Nebraska has won six of its last seven matches and five of the wins have been sweeps. All three of Nebraska’s losses are to teams currently ranked in the top six of the AVCA Coaches Poll. The Huskers have only played one true road match all season, and that was a 3-0 sweep against Dayton at the Flyer-Raider Invitational. Nebraska played two neutral-site matches at the tournament as well. Saturday’s match will the home opener for the Hawkeyes. They’ve played 12 matches – five on the road and seven at neutral sites.
Fans can subscribe to watch the Iowa live video stream through a link at Huskers.com. Fans can also listen to the action with John Baylor and Lindsay Peterson on the 25-station Husker Sports Network, including B107.3 FM in Lincoln and The Wolf 93.3 FM in Omaha. Fans inside and outside the state of Nebraska will also be able to catch the live audio feed on Huskers.com for free. Free live stats will be available at Huskers.com as well.
Nebraska leads the all-time series, 20-0. Eighteen of the 19 Husker victories have been sweeps. The only time Iowa has won a set against Nebraska was Sept. 5, 1987 in a match the Huskers won 3-1. The teams did not play from 2000 to 2010, but that changed when Nebraska joined the Big Ten. The Huskers cruised in the first two sets on Wednesday to 25-18, 25-13 victories. But Nebraska had to hold off the pesky Hawkeyes in the third set for a 31-29 win. Nebraska won in Iowa City on Nov. 27, 25-16, 25-18, 25-18. Kadie Rolfzen had nine kills, while Melanie Keil had six.
Last Time Out
The No. 8 Nebraska volleyball team opened Big Ten play with a sweep of Iowa on Wednesday night before 8,151 fans at the Bob Devaney Sports Center, 25-18, 25-13, 31-29. The Huskers improved to 7-3 overall and 1-0 in the Big Ten, while Iowa fell to 8-4 overall and 0-1 in Big Ten play. Kadie Rolfzen led the Huskers with 15 kills and seven digs. Her twin, Amber Rolfzen, had 10 kills on 16 attacks for a career-high .625 hitting percentage. Alicia Ostrander also had 10 kills, and Melanie Keil had a career-high-tying eight kills while hitting .538. Mary Pollmiller dished out 34 assists and Justine Wong-Orantes added seven digs. The Huskers hit .347 for the match, while Iowa hit .202. Nebraska outdug Iowa 26-24 and outblocked the Hawkeyes 8-5. Haggerty led the way with six.
The Huskers are home for two matches next weekend. Nebraska hosts third-ranked Penn State on Friday at 7 p.m., then hosts Ohio State on Saturday at 5 p.m.
Noting the Huskers
• Kadie Rolfzen set career highs with 21 kills and 51 attacks against No. 2 Texas last Saturday, surpassing her previous career high of 20 kills. The 2013 All-American also had 16 digs in the match and now has three of Nebraska’s four double-doubles this season (Mary Pollmiller has the other). Rolfzen is averaging a team-high 3.59 kills per set and ranks sixth in the Big Ten. She is also second on the team in digs with 2.97 per set. She has double-digit kills in seven of her last eight matches, with the outlier a nine-kill effort against Denver on just 22 swings.
• Nebraska ranks second in the Big Ten with 2.86 blocks per set, and the Huskers’ 32 solo blocks are the most by any Big Ten team. Meghan Haggerty is fourth in the Big Ten with 1.35 blocks per set.
• The Huskers have just two solo blocks against them all season. The next closest Big Ten teams are Penn State and Michigan at seven.
• Justine Wong-Orantes leads the Big Red in digs with 4.0 per set and ranks ninth in the conference. She is coming off a career-high 29 digs against No. 2 Texas last weekend, the most by a Husker since Kayla Banwarth’s 32 against Baylor on Nov. 18, 2009.
• Mary Pollmiller, the Huskers’ lone senior, has 362 set assists for 10.34 per set. She also adds a defensive presence at the net with 25 blocks to rank second on the team and is fourth in digs with 62.
• The Huskers have held three opponents to single-digit sets so far this season, matching last year’s season total. The Huskers have beaten Eastern Kentucky 25-7, Bakersfield 25-8 and Colgate 25-9. Nebraska held two opponents to single digits in 2012 and one in 2011.
• Nebraska is 7-0 this season when recording as many or more service aces than its opponent.
• The Huskers are 228-0 when hitting .300 or better under John Cook. Nebraska is also 370-15 (.961) when winning the first set under Cook.
• John Cook is 138-40 (.775) against ranked opponents at Nebraska. Just over one-third of Cook’s total victories at Nebraska (419) have come against ranked teams.
• Nebraska volleyball leads the nation with 208 consecutive sellouts, the longest sellout streak in the history of NCAA women’s athletics. NU owns a 192-16 record during the streak.
Scouting the Iowa Hawkeyes
The Hawkeyes are now 8-4 overall and 0-1 in the Big Ten after Wednesday’s loss at the Devaney Center. All four losses have been sweeps, but three of Iowa’s four losses have come to Top 25 teams. The Hawkeyes will be playing their home opener against the Huskers, as they’ve gone 1-3 on the road and 7-0 in neutral games so far this season. Iowa ranks fifth in the Big Ten in blocks (2.58 per set) and third in service aces (1.51 per set).
Senior outside hitter Alex Lovell is the top attacker with 137 kills and 3.51 kills per set. She led the Hawkeyes last season as well with 216 kills. Sophomore setter Alyssa Klostermann has moved into the No. 1 setter role and has a team-high 247 assists for 6.33 per set. Jess Janota has been one of the Big Ten’s best freshmen this season, ranking sixth among freshmen with 2.58 kills per set (98 total) along with 26 blocks. Junior middle blocker Mikaela Gunderson has 42 blocks for Iowa. Michelle Fugarino leads all Big Ten freshmen and ranks sixth overall with 4.49 digs per set.
Iowa finished 11-21 last season and 2-18 in the Big Ten for an 11th-place finish. The Hawkeyes have six starters back though and 10 total letterwinners.