Huskers Set for Weekend with Michigan and Iowa
• The No. 1 Nebraska volleyball team enters the final two weeks of the regular season with a Big Ten title on the line. The Huskers will play their regular-season home finale against Michigan on Friday at 8 p.m. Nebraska will conclude the weekend at Iowa on Sunday at 2 p.m.
• Friday’s match will be televised on Big Ten Network and streamed on FoxSports. Sunday’s match will not be televised but will have a B1G+ stream.
• The Huskers Radio Network will broadcast all the action on their radio affiliates, including 107.3 FM in Lincoln and AM 590 in Omaha. A live audio stream will be provided at Huskers.com and on the Huskers app.
• John Baylor is in his 30th season doing play-by-play for the Husker volleyball program. Lauren (Cook) West, a former All-American setter for the Huskers, will provide color commentary.
ABOUT THE HUSKERS
• Nebraska (25-0, 16-0 Big Ten) is off to its best start to a season since beginning the 2005 season with a 28-0 record.
• The Huskers’ 16-0 start to Big Ten play is a program best since joining the conference in 2011.
• Nebraska is 16-0 in home matches this season entering their regular-season home finale on Friday. The last time the Huskers went undefeated at home in the regular season was 2017 (15-0).
• At 16-0 in Big Ten play, Nebraska enters the week with a two-game lead on Wisconsin (14-2). With a pair of wins this week over Michigan and Iowa, the Huskers would clinch at least a share of the Big Ten championship heading into the final week of the regular season. Wisconsin has won the last four Big Ten titles.
• Nebraska has won three Big Ten titles since joining the conference in 2011. The years were 2011 (17-3), 2016 (18-2) and 2017 (19-1, co-champions).
• All-time, Nebraska volleyball has won 34 conference titles. John Cook has been head coach for 12 of them.
• The Huskers, who led the nation in defense in 2022, have held their opponents this season to a combined .134 hitting percentage, which leads the nation.
• Nebraska has been sharp offensively this season, hitting .285 to rank 10th nationally and second in the Big Ten. The Huskers lead all Big Ten teams and rank 11th nationally with 14.06 kills per set.
• Two-time All-American and All-Big Ten libero Lexi Rodriguez paces the Husker defense with 3.54 digs per set.
• Junior opposite hitter Merritt Beason, a Florida transfer, contributes a team-leading 3.80 kills per set and adds 2.01 digs per set with a team-high 25 service aces. Beason is a four-time Big Ten Player of the Week this season and was the AVCA National Player of the Week on Oct. 24 following 21 kills in a 3-2 win over No. 1 Wisconsin.
• Freshman outside hitter Harper Murray is averaging 3.26 kills per set and 1.97 digs per set with a team-high 25 service aces. Murray has been named Big Ten Freshman of the Week three times this season.
• Junior outside hitter Lindsay Krause adds 2.50 kills per set and has a .366 hitting percentage since the Sept. 29 win at Purdue, though she has not played since Oct. 14 because of an injury.
• Sophomore middle blocker Bekka Allick leads the Huskers at the net with 1.32 blocks per set to go with 1.78 kills per set.
• Freshman middle blocker Andi Jackson is off to a strong start as a Husker, averaging 2.16 kills per set on a team-high .423 hitting percentage, which ranks second among Big Ten players and 11th nationally. Jackson is also contributing 1.10 blocks per set. Jackson was named Big Ten Freshman of the Week on Nov. 13 after averaging 2.13 kills per set and 1.13 blocks per set with a blistering .714 hitting percentage in Nebraska’s 3-1 wins over Northwestern and Illinois.
• Freshman setter Bergen Reilly is putting up 10.71 assists and 2.54 digs per set. Reilly, who leads all Big Ten players in assists per set and ranks 13th in the nation, became just the second true freshman setter to be a day one starter under John Cook (Nicklin Hames). Reilly has been named Big Ten Setter of the Week four times this year and Big Ten Freshman of the Week twice.
• From Sept. 12-Sept. 29, Nebraska played five straight ranked teams and won all five matches. It was the sixth time in school history Nebraska played five matches in a row against ranked teams but the first time NU won all five.
• The Huskers went undefeated in non-conference play for the first time since 2016 and just the second time since 2008.
SCOUTING REPORT: MICHIGAN
• Michigan is 7-18 overall and 5-11 in Big Ten play under first-year head coach Erin Virtue. After starting Big Ten play at 1-10, the Wolverines have gone 4-1 over the last five matches.
• The turnaround is due in part to a change at setter, as Omaha native Morgan Burke took the reins in mid-October. The Skutt Catholic grad is averaging 7.55 assists per set and 2.08 digs per set for the season, but over the last five matches, Burke is dishing out 10.24 assists per set.
• Kendall Murray, older sister of Nebraska freshman Harper Murray, leads the Wolverines with 2.82 kills per set this season.
• Michigan is hitting .179 this season and its opponents are hitting .239. The Wolverines lead all Big Ten teams in aces per set with 1.84.
SCOUTING REPORT: IOWA
• Iowa is 8-20 (0-16 Big Ten) entering a Friday night match at Minnesota. The Hawkeyes have been swept in five straight matches.
• Caitlan Buettner leads the Hawkeyes with 3.04 kills per set. Nataly Moravec adds 2.60 kills per set.
• Michelle Urquhart ranks second in the conference with 39 service aces this season.
• Iowa is hitting .194 on the season and allowing opponents to hit .246.
• Nebraska is 22-3 all-time against Michigan and has won 14 in a row dating back to a 2014 loss in Ann Arbor. The Huskers swept the Wolverines in Ann Arbor on Oct. 7, 29-27, 25-17, 25-14.
• Nebraska has never lost to Iowa, owning a 37-0 record all-time against the Hawkeyes. The last six matches have been Husker sweeps.
HUSKERS RANKED NO. 1 IN AVCA COACHES POLL
• Nebraska is ranked No. 1 in the AVCA Coaches Poll this week.
• Nebraska has been ranked No. 1 in 106 all-time polls, the most in NCAA history.
• The Huskers have been ranked in the top 10 a total of 555 times, which is also the most in NCAA history.
• Nebraska has appeared in all 616 AVCA Coaches Polls it has been eligible for since it was established in 1982. Nebraska is the only program to be ranked in every eligible poll all-time.
• Nebraska’s 616 consecutive weeks of being ranked is the longest active streak in Division I for any sport, leading Connecticut women’s basketball and North Carolina women’s soccer.
AVCA HALL OF FAMER JOHN COOK IN 24TH SEASON AT NEBRASKA
• Nebraska head coach John Cook is in his 24th season as the Nebraska volleyball head coach in 2023. He has led the Huskers to four national championships, 10 final fours, 12 conference championships and 21 top-10 final rankings since 2000.
• Cook has 842 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 .874 win percentage (681-98).
• Under Cook, the Huskers have achieved 64 AVCA All-Americans and 20 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 is one of only two 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 VOLLEYBALL SETS ATTENDANCE RECORDS
• It was a record-breaking night at Memorial Stadium on Aug. 30 when Nebraska hosted Omaha in an outdoor volleyball match. The attendance of 92,003 set a record for the largest crowd to watch a women’s sporting event in the United States. The crowd of more than 92,000 also surpassed what is widely regarded as the world-record attendance for any women’s sporting event.
• The previously recognized world record was 91,648 fans in an UEFA Champions League match between Barcelona and Wolfsburg on April 22, 2022, at Camp Nou in Barcelona, Spain. The previous record for an American women’s sporting event was 90,185 in USA’s FIFA World Cup Final against China on July 10, 1999, at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif.
• Along with the two records mentioned above, the Huskers shattered a pair of NCAA records, exceeding the previous records for any NCAA volleyball match and an NCAA volleyball regular-season match.
• Entering the match, the largest-ever crowd for any NCAA volleyball match was 18,755 when Nebraska played Wisconsin in the NCAA Final at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio, on Dec. 18, 2021. The largest NCAA volleyball regular-season attendance was 16,833 when Wisconsin hosted Florida at the Kohl Center in Madison, Wis., on Sept 16, 2022.
• The Husker volleyball program has sold out 318 consecutive regular-season matches entering Friday’s regular-season home finale. Nebraska’s sellout streak is an NCAA women’s record. The Huskers have led the nation in attendance every season since moving into the Bob Devaney Sports Center in 2013.
• Nine of the top 11 crowds in NCAA volleyball history are matches that have involved the Huskers.
• Of the 16 largest NCAA volleyball regular-season crowds, 14 have been Nebraska matches.
• On Oct. 21, Nebraska broke its Devaney Center attendance record since the arena was reconfigured for volleyball in 2013. A crowd of 9,198 turned out to see a five-set thriller between undefeated No. 1 Wisconsin and undefeated No. 2 Nebraska. Over the summer, 402 seats were added to the Devaney Center, increasing the seating capacity to 8,309.
2022 SEASON RECAP
• Nebraska is coming off a 26-6 (16-4 Big Ten) season and second-place finish in the Big Ten. The Huskers advanced to an NCAA regional semifinal, where they lost to Oregon in five sets. NU ended the year at No. 9 in the AVCA Coaches Poll, its 11th straight year finishing in the top 10 of the AVCA poll.
• Nebraska had a nation-leading opponent hitting percentage of .128 in 2022. Junior libero and co-captain Lexi Rodriguez is back to lead the Huskers defensively once again. Rodriguez is a two-time AVCA All-American and All-Big Ten selection.
• Sophomore middle blocker Bekka Allick was named to the AVCA All-Region Team in 2022 after finishing her first season as a Husker with 1.89 kills per set, 1.01 blocks per set and a team-high .326 hitting percentage. Allick was an All-Big Ten Second Team and a unanimous All-Big Ten Freshman Team member.
• Junior opposite hitter Merritt Beason was an All-SEC and AVCA All-Region selection as a sophomore at Florida in 2022 before transferring to Nebraska and being named a team captain for the 2023 season. In her sophomore season at Florida, Beason helped the Gators win a share of the SEC Championship by averaging 3.35 kills per set with a .261 hitting percentage.
• Junior outside hitter Lindsay Krause averaged 2.25 kills per set with a .269 hitting percentage and totaled 44 blocks and 45 digs last season. Over the final 12 matches of the season, Krause averaged 2.72 kills per set with a .359 hitting percentage.
• Ally Batenhorst posted 2.33 kills per set to go with 1.06 digs per set in 2022. The junior outside hitter was named to the Louisville Regional All-Tournament Team after 15 kills and 12 digs against No. 9 Oregon in the NCAA regional semifinal.