Husker volleyball gets ready for Wisconsin & Minnesota
(Lincoln, NE) - The No. 5 Nebraska volleyball team heads into the final weekend of the regular season with a chance to play for a Big Ten championship. The Huskers host No. 3 Wisconsin on Friday at 7 p.m. at the Bob Devaney Sports Center, and they will finish the regular season on Saturday at 8 p.m. against No. 9 Minnesota at the Devaney Center.
• Both matches this weekend will be televised on BTN and can be streamed on FoxSports.com. Anne Marie Anderson and Emily Ehman will have the call for both matches.
• The Huskers Radio Network will broadcast all the action on their radio affiliates, including 107.3 FM in Lincoln and 105.9 FM in Omaha on Friday, and AM 590 in Omaha on Saturday. A live audio stream will be provided at Huskers.com and the Huskers app. John Baylor is in his 29th 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.
BIG TEN CHAMPIONSHIP SCENARIOS
• Nebraska clinches at least a share of the Big Ten championship with wins vs. Wisconsin and Minnesota.
• Nebraska clinches the outright Big Ten championship with wins vs. Wisconsin and Minnesota, combined with a Wisconsin loss at Ohio State on Saturday night (6 p.m. CT).
• Nebraska can share the Big Ten championship with a win vs. Wisconsin and a loss vs. Minnesota, but would need Ohio State to beat Wisconsin on Saturday night.
• Nebraska must beat Wisconsin on Friday night to have any chance at winning a Big Ten championship.
• The Big Ten recognizes teams tied atop the volleyball standings at the end of the regular season as co-champions. A tiebreaker is used to determine which team receives the automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. The tiebreaker procedure is: 1) Head-to-head conference match results; 2) Percentage of sets won or lost between or among tied teams; 3) Percentage of sets won in all conference matches; 4) Point differential of head-to-head competition between or among tied teams.
SENIOR NIGHT CELEBRATION ON SATURDAY
• Nebraska will recognize its senior class following the Minnesota match on Saturday night. Kaitlyn Hord, Kenzie Knuckles and Madi Kubik will be honored in the post-match ceremony. Nicklin Hames, who was honored on last year's senior night, will also be recognized as Nebraska's career assists record holder.
• Knuckles and Kubik came into the Husker program as freshmen in 2019. A third-team All-American last season, Kubik has played in all 113 matches over the last four seasons and in 393 of a possible 396 sets in that time. Knuckles has played in 112 matches and 391 sets.
• Hames returned for a fifth year of eligibility this season and became Nebraska's career assists record holder midway through the season. She is the only setter in Husker history to reach 5,000 career assists - currently at 5,012 entering the weekend.
• Hord, a three-time All-American, played four seasons at Penn State before transferring to Nebraska to use her fifth year of eligibility this year.
NOTING THE HUSKERS
• Nebraska is hitting .250 as a team and is holding opponents to .120 hitting, which leads the nation. The Huskers rank eighth nationally at 2.74 blocks per set.
• In Big Ten matches only, Nebraska ranks first in opponent hitting percentage (.117), first in opponent kills allowed (10.80 per set) and first in opponent service aces allowed (0.67).
• Nebraska opened the season in a 5-1 system but has been in a 6-2 system since Sept. 1 against Loyola Marymount. The Huskers have used three setters throughout the course of the season: Nicklin Hames (5.75 assists per set), Kennedi Orr (5.26 assists per set) and Anni Evans (4.35 per set).
• Hames, who is in her fifth season at NU, has 5,012 career assists and broke Fiona Nepo's (1995-98) career assists school record on Oct. 22 at Illinois. Hames ranks sixth among active NCAA Division I setters in career assists. An exceptional defensive setter, Hames ranks second on the team in digs at 3.05 per set this season.
• Outside hitter Madi Kubik is averaging a team-high 3.36 kills per set and adds 2.33 digs per set. Kubik surpassed 1,000 career kills on Sept. 10 against Long Beach State, becoming the 24th Husker all-time to reach that mark. She was named Big Ten Player of the Week on Monday after averaging 5.17 kills per set on .347 hitting to go along with 3.33 digs per set in sweeps over Iowa and Purdue.
• Sophomore libero Lexi Rodriguez is averaging a team-best 4.28 digs per set. Rodriguez is the reigning AVCA National Freshman of the Year and Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year. She was named the Big Ten Co-Defensive Player of the Week on Oct. 10 after averaging 6.00 digs per set in sweeps at Michigan State and Michigan, including a season-high 25 digs in the three-set win over the Wolverines.
• Outside hitter Whitney Lauenstein is averaging 2.92 kills per set and has a team-high 27 service aces. Lauenstein had a career-high 25 kills on .385 hitting in a win at No. 17 Creighton on Sept. 7. It was the most kills by a Husker in a match since Mikaela Foecke had 27 kills in the NCAA Championship match against Stanford in 2018.
• Middle blocker Kaitlyn Hord is averaging 1.31 kills and a .280 hitting percentage to go with 1.61 blocks per set, which leads the nation. Hord ranks No. 2 among active NCAA Division I players in career blocks with 667.
• Sophomore outside hitter Lindsay Krause provides 2.05 kills per set.
• Freshman middle blocker Bekka Allick is putting up 1.95 kills per set on a team-high .337 hitting percentage with 1.01 blocks per set. Allick was named Big Ten Freshman of the Week in back-to-back weeks on Oct. 17 and Oct. 24.
• No. 5 Wisconsin (23-3, 17-1 Big Ten) ranks first in the Big Ten with a .270 hitting percentage and second with a .156 opponent hitting percentage. The Badgers are No. 2 in the nation in blocking (3.01 per set).
• Sarah Franklin leads the attack with 3.59 kills per set, while Julia Orzol adds 2.71 kills per set. They are hitting .233 and .225, respectively.
• Middle blocker Danielle Hart is second in the Big Ten and third in the nation with 1.57 blocks per set.
• No. 9 Minnesota (18-8, 13-5 Big Ten) plays at No. 8 Ohio State on Friday night before heading to Lincoln for the Big Ten finale.
• The Golden Gophers rank second among Big Ten teams with a .260 hitting percentage and fourth with a .180 opponent hitting percentage. Minnesota ranks fifth nationally in blocks per set (2.82).
• Outside hitter Taylor Landfair leads all Big Ten players with 4.33 kills per set and is hitting .251. Setter Melani Shaffmaster ranks third in the conference at 10.33 assists per set.
• Nebraska is 19-12-1 all-time against Wisconsin, but the Badgers have won the last nine meetings between the two teams. Wisconsin defeated the Huskers, 25-23, 25-23, 25-18, in Madison on Oct. 26. The last time Nebraska beat Wisconsin was Sept. 30, 2017, a 3-2 win in Lincoln.
• The teams met three times last year, including the NCAA Championship match on Dec. 18 in Columbus, Ohio. Wisconsin prevailed 3-2 after jumping out to a 7-0 lead in the decisive fifth set. NU came back to get within two at 14-12, but it wasn't enough. All five sets were decided by two or three points.
• Nebraska is 36-11 all-time against Minnesota. The teams met once last year in Minneapolis, where Minnesota won 3-2 on Oct. 30.
• Since joining the Big Ten in 2011, Nebraska is 10-7 against Minnesota with a 6-3 record at the Devaney Center.
HUSKERS RANKED NO. 5 IN AVCA POLL
• Nebraska is ranked No. 5 in the AVCA Coaches Poll this week.
• The Huskers were ranked No. 1 in the preseason poll, the first time since 2016 the Huskers started a year atop the poll. Nebraska also held the No. 1 ranking the week of Oct. 24.
• Nebraska has been ranked No. 1 in 102 all-time polls, the most in NCAA history.
• The Huskers have been ranked in the top 10 a total of 529 times, which is also the most in NCAA history.
• Nebraska has appeared in all 585 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.