Huskers Begin Big Ten Play At Home Against Ohio State, Minnesota
• The second-ranked Nebraska volleyball team begins Big Ten action this weekend with a pair of matches at the Bob Devaney Sports Center. The Huskers will face No. 21 Ohio State on Friday at 8 p.m. in their Big Ten opener, and NU will host No. 12 Minnesota on Sunday at 6:30 p.m.
• Both matches this weekend will be televised on Big Ten Network and streamed on FoxSports. Larry Punteney and Emily Ehman will be on the broadcast for both matches.
• 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-America setter for the Huskers, will provide color commentary.
ABOUT THE HUSKERS
• Nebraska (9-0) has won its first nine matches of the season for the first time since 2016, when NU started 12-0. Nebraska is in the midst of playing five straight ranked teams and thus far has beaten No. 5 Stanford (3-1) and No. 21 Kentucky (3-1).
• The Huskers went undefeated in non-conference play for the first time since 2016 and just the second time since 2008.
• The Huskers, who led the nation in defense in 2022, have held their opponents this season to a combined .101 hitting percentage, which ranks first nationally.
• Nebraska has been sharp offensively of late, upping its season average hitting percentage to .299, which is first in the Big Ten and ninth nationally.
• The Big Red is averaging 2.88 blocks per set, which ranks 10th in the country.
• Two-time All-America junior libero Lexi Rodriguez paces the Husker defense with 3.53 digs per set.
• Junior opposite hitter Merritt Beason, a Florida transfer, contributes a team-leading 3.30 kills per set and 1.87 digs per set. Beason was named Big Ten Player of the Week on Sept. 18.
• Freshman outside hitter Harper Murray is averaging 3.23 kills per set on .318 hitting and has a team-best nine service aces. Murray was named Big Ten Freshman of the Week on Aug. 28 and Sept. 18.
• Sophomore middle blocker Bekka Allick ranks fourth nationally with 1.71 blocks per set. Allick is also hitting .287 with 1.50 kills per set.
• Freshman middle blocker Andi Jackson is off to a strong start as a Husker, averaging 2.30 kills per set on a team-high .515 hitting percentage, which ranks second nationally. Jackson is also contributing 1.26 blocks per set.
• Freshman setter Bergen Reilly is putting up 9.63 assists and 2.73 digs per set. Reilly became just the second true freshman setter to be a day one starter under John Cook (Nicklin Hames).
• Nebraska was the last NCAA Division I program to drop a set this season when Creighton won set three of NU’s 3-1 win on Sept. 6. The Huskers had opened the season with 17 consecutive set wins. The Huskers have dropped just three out of 30 sets played this season. All three were third sets.
SCOUTING REPORT: OHIO STATE
• Emily Londot leads the Buckeyes (3-6) with 4.86 kills per set, which ranks fifth nationally. Londot is a two-time All-American and three-time All-Big Ten selection.
• Ohio State is hitting .215 as a team and allowing opponents to hit .243. All six Buckeye losses are to teams currently ranked in the top 20 of the AVCA Coaches Poll.
SCOUTING REPORT: MINNESOTA
• Mckenna Wucherer leads the Golden Gophers (4-4) with 3.38 kills per set. Reigning Big Ten Player of the Year Taylor Landfair adds 2.47 kills set.
• Minnesota has a .231 team hitting percentage and an opponent hitting percentage of .188. Libero Kylie Murr leads all Big Ten players with 4.34 digs per set.
• Nebraska is 18-10 against Ohio State, though the Buckeyes have won three of the last four matches. The teams split two matches last year with each team winning at home. NU won in five sets in Lincoln on Sept. 24, and Ohio State won in four sets in Columbus on Nov. 13. Friday’s matchup will be the only meeting between the teams this regular season.
• Nebraska is 36-12 all-time against Minnesota. The Golden Gophers have won five of the last seven times the teams have played, including a 3-0 sweep at the Bob Devaney Sports Center last year on Nov. 26.
HUSKERS RANKED NO. 2 IN AVCA COACHES POLL
• Nebraska is ranked second in the AVCA Coaches Poll this week.
• The Huskers have been ranked in the top 10 a total of 547 times, which is also the most in NCAA history.
• Nebraska has appeared in all 608 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 608 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.
• Nebraska has been ranked No. 1 in 102 all-time polls, the most in NCAA history.
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 826 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 .872 win percentage (665-98).
• 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 309 consecutive regular-season matches. 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 Sept. 6, Nebraska broke its Devaney Center attendance record since the arena was reconfigured for volleyball in 2013. A crowd of 8,656 turned out to see the Nebraska-Creighton match. Over the summer, 402 seats were added to the Devaney Center, increasing the capacity to 8,309.
BEASON, MURRAY EARN BIG TEN AWARDS ON SEPT. 18
• Merritt Beason was named Big Ten Player of the Week and Harper Murray was named Big Ten Freshman of the Week on Sept. 18.
• Beason led the Huskers to a 3-1 road win at No. 5 Stanford and a 3-1 home win against No. 21 Kentucky with 4.00 kills per set on a .354 hitting percentage to go with 1.88 digs per set. Beason had a season-high 17 kills and 10 digs and hit .438 in the win over Kentucky. Last Tuesday, the junior from Gardendale, Ala., had 15 kills and hit .273 at Stanford.
• Murray earned her second Big Ten Freshman of the Week honor after averaging 3.63 kills per set with a .349 hitting percentage and 2.00 digs per set in Nebraska’s two victories. The Ann Arbor, Mich., native finished with 17 kills and 10 digs and hit .308 in Sunday night’s win over Kentucky. She had 12 kills, six digs, four blocks and three aces while hitting a season-best .417 at Stanford last Tuesday.
MURRAY NAMED BIG TEN FRESHMAN OF THE WEEK ON AUG. 28
• Nebraska freshman outside hitter Harper Murray was named Big Ten Freshman of the Week on Aug. 28 by the conference office.
• In her first collegiate matches, Murray led the Huskers to a 3-0 record at the Ameritas Players Challenge. The Ann Arbor, Mich., native averaged 3.67 kills per set with a .343 hitting percentage. She also posted 2.33 digs per set and totaled six blocks, five aces and four set assists.
• Murray had nine kills on .350 hitting with five blocks and four digs in her collegiate debut against Utah State. She followed with 10 kills on .389 hitting with seven digs and three aces. Murray finished the weekend with 14 kills on .310 hitting with 10 digs for her first collegiate double-double.
• 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.