The No. 4 Nebraska volleyball team finishes non-conference play by hosting the Husker Invite this weekend at the Bob Devaney Sports Center. The Huskers will play Central Michigan on Friday at Noon and New Mexico on Friday at 7:30 p.m. The tournament concludes with the Huskers playing Missouri State on Saturday at 7 p.m.
Other matches in the tournament include Missouri State vs. New Mexico (Friday, 10 a.m.), Central Michigan vs. Missouri State (Friday, 5 p.m.) and New Mexico vs. Central Michigan (Saturday, 11:30 a.m.).
All three NU matches will have a BTN Plus ($) live stream at BTN2GO.com. They will also air 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 for both matches at Huskers.com and on the official Huskers app. John Baylor is in his 25th 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.
About the Huskers
• The Huskers (6-1) have won six matches in a row and enter the week ranked fourth in the AVCA Coaches Poll.
• Senior All-America outside hitter Mikaela Foecke leads the team with 3.68 kills per set and 2.52 digs per set. She has a team-best 13 service aces (0.52 per set).
• Foecke had a career-high 25 kills on .351 hitting with 13 digs at No. 14 Creighton last week. She was named the Big Ten Co-Player of the Week for her performance.
• Jazz Sweet is producing 3.00 kills per set on .326 hitting for the Big Red. Over the past four matches, Sweet is averaging 3.20 kills per set on .416 hitting.
• Senior libero Kenzie Maloney leads the Big Red back row with 4.04 digs per set.
• Freshman setter Nicklin Hames has double-doubles in four straight matches, including a career-high 56 assists with 11 digs at Creighton last week.
• Over her last three matches, Capri Davis is averaging 3.09 kills per set for the Huskers. She had a career-high 18 at Creighton last week.
• Nebraska head coach John Cook has 698 career wins and will become the 10th active Division I head coach to reach 700 career wins with the Huskers’ eighth win of the season. A total of 26 Division I coaches all-time have reached the 700-win mark.
• Nebraska ranks third among Big Ten teams in opponent hitting percentage at .128.
• The Huskers also rank third in the Big Ten with 1.88 aces per set.
• John Cook, Nebraska: 19th year at Nebraska (537-70); 26th year overall (698-143)
• Mike Gawlik, Central Michigan: 3rd year at Central Michigan (29-37)
• Jeff Nelson, New Mexico: 12th year at New Mexico (209-137); 24th year overall (450-283)
• Melissa Stokes, Missouri State: 23rd year at Missouri State (497-233)
• Nebraska is 1-0 all-time against Central Michigan, winning the lone meeting 3-0 on Sept. 12, 1987.
• Nebraska is 5-2 against New Mexico all-time. The last meeting was Sept. 10, 2016, a 3-0 Husker win.
• Nebraska and Missouri State are deadlocked at 15-15 in the all-time series. The teams have not played since 1993, when Nebraska won 3-0 on Sept. 24.
Scouting Central Michigan
• Central Michigan is 3-6 on the season and went 1-2 at the Indiana State Sycamore Invitational last weekend. The Chippewas beat Indiana State in five sets to snap a four-match losing skid.
• Kalina Smith leads Central Michigan with 3.06 kills per set. Savanna Thompson and Lyza Myers both average 2.47 kills per set.
• The Chippewas are hitting .169 on the season and are allowing opponents to hit .239.
Scouting New Mexico
• New Mexico enters the weekend at 5-4 after taking two of three matches at the North Florida Tournament last weekend. The Lobos beat North Florida and USC Upstate, but fell to Furman.
• Lauren Twitty is the team’s top attacker with 3.53 kills per set and adds 2.56 digs per set.
• Tai Bierria chips in 2.95 kills per set and 2.54 digs per set.
• Middle blocker Victoria Spragg leads the team with 1.11 blocks per set and is hitting .317 with 1.43 kills per set.
Scouting Missouri State
• Missouri State is off to a 5-5 start and went 2-1 at the Texas A&M Invitational last weekend. The Bears picked up a big road win over the Aggies, 3-2, and also swept Nicholls State. Their loss came to Pepperdine, 3-0.
• Amelia Flynn paces the attack with 3.06 kills per set and adds 2.31 digs per set.
• Makina Wratten leads the team with 1.31 blocks per set, which ranks second among Missouri Valley Conference players. As a team, Missouri State ranks second in the MVC with 2.22 blocks per set.
• Daniele Messa has served 11 aces this season for the Bears.
Foecke, Maloney Captain Young Husker Squad
• Seniors Mikaela Foecke and Kenzie Maloney are co-captaining the 2018 Husker squad. Foecke and Maloney are the lone players on the team who have been part of both the 2015 and 2017 NCAA Championship teams, and the duo will look to become the first in program history to appear in four straight final fours and win three national championships.
• Foecke, an outside hitter from West Point, Iowa, was selected the Most Outstanding Player of the NCAA Championship in both 2015 and 2017 after leading the Huskers to their fourth and fifth NCAA titles all-time.
• Foecke became the fourth player in NCAA history to twice be named the MOP – as she also earned the honor in 2015 – and she was the first to earn the honor in non-consecutive years.
• Foecke was named an AVCA second-team All-American and was unanimously selected to the All-Big Ten team and was an AVCA All-North Region pick for the third straight year in 2017.
• Foecke was a unanimous preseason All-Big Ten selection entering her senior season. She had a career-high 25 kills on .351 hitting with 13 digs at Creighton on Sept. 6, earning Big Ten Co-Player of the Week honors.
• Foecke ranks 12th on Nebraska’s career kills list with 1,262, which also ranks fifth in the rally-scoring era (2001 to present). Her 102 career aces are fifth-most in school history in the rally-scoring era.
• Maloney, a libero from Louisville, Kentucky, was named to the NCAA Championship All-Tournament team in 2017 and was a PrepVolleyball.com first-team All-American after serving a school-record 13 aces during the NCAA Tournament.
• In her first season as NU’s libero in 2017, Maloney played all 125 sets and averaged 3.62 digs per set and 0.95 aces per set with season totals of 452 digs and 37 aces, second-most on the team.
• Maloney was named to the preseason All-Big Ten team this year. She is averaging a team-high 4.04 digs per set and had a career-high 25 digs in a win at No. 14 Creighton.
Stivrins, Sweet Stepping Up in Sophomore Seasons
• After earning All-Big Ten Freshman team honors in 2017, middle blocker Lauren Stivrins and opposite hitter Jazz Sweet are both playing bigger roles as sophomores in the program.
• Stivrins is averaging 1.92 kills per set on a team-best .364 hitting percentage to go with 0.96 blocks per set. She added serving to her repertoire this season and is third on the team with nine aces.
• Stivrins finished the 2017 season with 2.07 kills per set on .309 hitting and 1.02 blocks per set while playing all 125 sets. She tallied nine kills on .316 hitting against Florida in the NCAA Championship match and had seven kills and a career-high nine blocks in the NCAA Semifinal vs. Penn State.
• Sweet also played in all 125 sets last season and had 2.22 kills per set on .273 hitting in her first year as a Husker. Sweet posted 12 kills on .375 hitting against Penn State in the NCAA Semifinal.
• This year, Sweet moved into the starting lineup for the Big Red and is second on the team in kills per set at 3.00 and is hitting .326. Sweet also has 17 blocks this season, third-most on the team behind only the two middles.
Young Huskers Making Instant Impact
• Eight of the 15 Huskers on the roster are new to the team this season, and four have played a major role already.
• Freshman setter Nicklin Hames has started every match at setter and has five double-doubles in seven matches. The Knoxville, Tennessee native is averaging 9.84 assists and 3.24 digs per set. Her 10 service aces are second-most on the team.
• Freshman middle blocker Callie Schwarzenbach has started every match and leads the team in blocks with 1.16 per set while also contributing 1.00 kills per set on .258 hitting.
• Freshman defensive specialist Megan Miller has started every match in the back row and is providing 1.52 digs per set, as well as six aces from the service line.
• Freshman outside hitter Capri Davis has played in six of seven matches and was huge for the Huskers in a 3-2 comeback win at No. 14 Creighton, providing 18 kills.
• Two other newcomers – defensive specialist Chen Abramovich and setter Brooke Smith – have both played this season. Smith was part of the Huskers’ 2015 NCAA Championship team and 2016 Big Ten Championship team. She played the 2017 season at Kansas State before transferring back to Nebraska for her senior season. Smith was cleared by the NCAA to start playing for the Huskers on Sept. 7.
• Nebraska also added sophomore outside hitter Lexi Sun to its attack in the offseason. The University of Texas transfer was a 2017 first-team All-Big 12 selection and received All-America honorable mention in her freshman season with the Longhorns. A native of Encinitas, California, Sun was the PrepVolleyball.com National Player of the Year, the Gatorade Player of the Year and the All-USA Volleyball Player of the Year as a senior at Santa Fe Christian.
Huskers Will Play School-Record 19 Home Matches
• Nebraska will play a school-record 19 regular-season home matches in 2018.
• Nine of the Huskers’ 10 non-conference matches will be played at the Devaney Center this season. The only road trip was to Omaha where NU beat Creighton, 3-2, on Thursday, Sept. 6.
• The 2018 season marks the first time the Huskers won’t play a non-conference match outside of Nebraska since 2007.
Huskers Aiming for 250th Consecutive Regular-Season Sellout
• Nebraska carries an NCAA women’s record 240 consecutive regular-season sellouts. Should the Huskers continue to sell out, their 250th straight sellout would be on Friday, Nov. 2 against Penn State.
Cook Closing in on 700 Career Wins
• Nebraska head coach John Cook has a 698-143 career record and will become the 10th active Division I head coach to reach 700 career wins with the Huskers’ eighth win of the season. A total of 26 Division I coaches all-time have reached the 700-win mark.
• Cook passed former Husker head coach and AVCA Hall of Famer Terry Pettit on the all-time career wins list earlier this season. Pettit finished his career with 694 career wins, which Cook passed on Aug. 31 when Nebraska beat Wake Forest.
Huskers Ranked No. 7 in AVCA Coaches Poll
• Nebraska is ranked No. 4 in the AVCA Coaches Poll this week.
• The Huskers have been ranked No. 1 in 99 all-time polls, the most in NCAA history.
• The Huskers have been ranked in the top 10 a total of 474 times, which is also the most in NCAA history.
• Nebraska has appeared in all 529 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.
Cook Adds to Legacy; Joins AVCA Hall of Fame
• Nebraska head coach John Cook is in his 19th season as the Nebraska volleyball head coach in 2018. He has led the Huskers to four national championships, eight final fours, 12 conference championships and 16 top-10 final rankings since 2000. Cook has 698 career wins and is one of the all-time winningest coaches in NCAA history.
• Since taking over the program in 2000, Cook has led the Huskers to a nation-leading .885 win percentage in that time (537-70).
• Under Cook, the Huskers have achieved 52 AVCA All-Americans and 19 CoSIDA 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 seven-time conference coach of the year, including Big Ten Coach of the Year in 2016 and 2017, his first and second Big Ten honors with the Huskers in their Big Ten era (2011-present).
• Cook was named the AVCA North Region Coach of the Year in 2016, his fifth career regional coaching honor and fourth while at Nebraska.
• 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.
• Cook was inducted into the AVCA Hall of Fame in 2017, joining former Husker volleyball coach Terry Pettit in the hall.
Husker Fans Set Attendance Standard Once Again
• Nebraska fans led the nation in attendance for a fifth straight season in 2017, averaging 8,202 fans per match, nearly 2,000 more than any other school.
• In 2016, the Huskers also led the nation with an average attendance of 8,210 fans per match, a new NCAA attendance record.
• 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 (27 straight seasons).
Cook’s Coaching Tree Continues to Grow
• Nebraska head coach John Cook’s assistant coaches have a great track record of moving on to become head coaches.
• Following the 2017 season, Husker assistant Tyler Hildebrand was named the Director of Coaching, Beach Volleyball for USA Volleyball in his home state of California.
• After the 2016 season, Nebraska assistants Chris Tamas and Dani Busboom Kelly both accepted high-level Division I head coaching jobs. Busboom Kelly became the head coach at Louisville, while Tamas accepted the head coaching job at Big Ten foe Illinois. Tamas led his Fighting Illini squad to the Sweet 16 in his first year, while Busboom Kelly made the NCAA Tournament with Louisville and was named the AVCA East Region Coach of the Year.
• Seven assistants under Cook have become head coaches following their time on Cook’s Nebraska staff: Craig Skinner (Kentucky), Lee Maes (Virginia), Lizzy Stemke (Georgia), Dan Conners (UC Davis), Dan Meske (Augustana, Associate Head Coach at Louisville), Busboom Kelly and Tamas.
• In the last eight years, five of Cook’s Husker assistants have become head coaches.